Cape Town teen photographer shares sweeping film series shot across India

Nineteen-year-old creative Katya Abedian, describes herself as an “African-Iranian film director, photographer and writer, born and raised in South Africa”.

The talented teenager recently shot a film photography series titled The Light That Lives Within. “As Bahá’í, I aspire to create artwork that advocates the unification and oneness of mankind. I want to dedicate my life to telling stories of those who do not have the opportunity to; stories that humanity has a great deal to learn from and a great responsibility to listen carefully to,” she shares.

The Light That Lives Within was taken during the six months Katya spent living across different parts of India.

“For the first few weeks, I walked around just wanting to be an observer, without a camera in my hand. As I warmed myself up to the idea of capturing the spirit of the people and the place that I was surrounded by, I ventured out with my film camera,” says the Cape Town based artist.

When taking photographs for the series, Katya says, “The most important aspect to me was recognising each subject as a human being with a whole set of their own worries, ideas, dreams and a story to tell, before I see them through my lens as a subject. Now each face is a friend, a sister, a mother, a brother…and now the frame has acquired meaning because they have been generous enough to share that with me and now I can share their story with others.”


  1. Mosa matlapeng

    Well done Katya joon..keep up the good work..with you all the way…

  2. Heloise Somerset Lundall

    Oh Katya Joon, these pictures are masterpieces. The lady with the turmeric scarf standing in a rice field, I imagine, is worthy of an award, as is the two playful girls, and the young boy reading.

    How do I describe what they make me feel…..let me count the ways…….

    I’m so happy that what you were looking for, found you……I can’t wait to see where this takes your creative career.

    Love you more and more my, “sensitive to everything around you,” God daughter….