Gayatri Malhotra is a photojournalist and an advocate for gender equity and human rights.
Gayatri picked up a DSLR camera for the first time in 2014, quickly finding photography as a way to release her latent creativity that had been suppressed as a girl growing up in an Indian household. She was 22 at the time, a recent college grad, and was back home living with her parents. Under the pressure of traditional Indian expectations, she was raised to believe that her only option was to become a doctor. Unable to deny her values in freedom and independence, she embarked on a journey of self-discovery to answer the question-- what's my life's purpose? Although not the easiest question to answer, one of her greatest clues would reveal itself in the form of a Nikon D7100 DSLR camera on a Black Friday sale.
It wasn't until 2016 that Gayatri found her passion for photography. While leading an outcome evaluation with The George Washington University and Girl Rising, she supported the implementation of the Girl Rising India Schools Campaign-- a gender-sensitization curriculum implemented in more than 250 schools in India. During grad school, she intermittently traveled to India for two years, conducting evaluations for the Girl Rising program. She learned from the school-children and community members about the challenges girls and women faced. Girls as young as 5 years old and women of all ages had accepted that their dreams would be limited in comparison to their male counterparts. Listening to their stories and photographing their lives, Gayatri identified a piece of her life's purpose-- every girl and woman should have an equal chance to fulfill their dreams and achieve their full potential. Through these moments, Gayatri's vibrant, warm, and crisp photography style was conceived.
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement reignited her passion for social justice in the US and she shifted her focus to activism and protest photography. She currently specializes in street portrait photography and is known for her acute precision, tenacious attention to detail, and impactful shots. Her work has been featured in TIME’s 2020 Person of the Year Video,“Looking for America: DC” at Hera Hub DC, Women's Caucus of Art Virtual Exhibition: "Black and White", “Signs of Change: Voices of 2020” at the Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics in Chicago, and Girl Rising's Instagram. Gayatri’s social justice photography has been mentioned in The New York Times article, “What to Do This Summer: Washington, D.C.” and The Washington Post’s article, “In the galleries: Exploring the many perspectives of terracide.”She is a member of the Women's Caucus for Art: DC Chapter, the Visionary Art Collective's Artist Directory, and a recent graduate of the 202Creates Residency Program.
GDM photography’s work is intended to be utilized as an advocacy tool to inspire action, spark conversation, and empower communities of color with high-quality photographs that represent them, their voices, and their lived experiences in the fight for social justice, gender equity, and human rights.
Gayatri is passionate about capturing moments that document the inherent strength and resilience of women of color, including women from the South Asian community, in the media and in art, because representation matters. She is committed to using photography as a tool for social change.
If you would like to download Gayatri's photographs, click on the button below for her Unsplash portfolio, where she uploads specific photographs that can be freely used.