Albert is from Kohima Village and his pictures depict so much about our Naga way of life. Going through his pictures is a beautiful reminder about our Naga identity and about our simple lifestyle and practices. I chat with Albert, an old friend, about his love for Naga culture, how he started his visual storytelling hobby, and some more.
- Deno: Hi Albert, nice catching up again 🙂 Please introduce yourself to R&L readers.
Albert: Hi, I’m Albert Seluokuolie Rutsa. I was born and brought up in Kohima Village, where I have spent the better part of my life. I am a photography and videography enthusiast, and I’m currently engaged with Stillfilms Production Kohima.
Growing up I have always been fascinated by the stories and folktales my parents and elders would share, my imagination would run wild and I would constantly picture the stories in my mind. It instilled in me, a love for our culture and a desire to preserve it.
Deno: How would your friends describe you?
I can’t read their minds but I’d like to assume that they see me as a calm, easy-going person.
Deno: haha ok.. so tell us how and what got you started as a visual storyteller?
Albert: When I got my first phone I started to click pictures of things that connected to the stories my parents and elders would tell me and later I started to share these stories with others through the pictures I have collected. My love for photography grew and I have been hooked to visual storytelling ever since.
“My works are predominantly related to documenting the simplicity of village life, the innocence of childhood, our culture, and way of life.”
Community folks in Nagaland clearing pathways leading to the terrace fields and farms | Photograph by Albert Rutsa
Little girl reading the morning newspaper in Kohima | Photograph by Albert Rutsa
Little girl in Nagaland with her collection of Barbie dolls | Photograph by Albert Rutsa
A young boy in Nagaland with his collection of superhero toys | Photograph by Albert Rutsa
Deno: Who are your greatest inspirations?
Albert: The Naga storytellers. We have a rich oral history that has been passed down from generation to generation by these storytellers who have preserved it. Our culture is our identity and it is our duty to listen to them and pass them down to the next.
Villagers of Kohima Village with the visiting Japanese entourage | Photo from the family album, Albert Rutsa (Albert’s mom in the middle with the hat)
Deno: We see plenty of young talented friends ..people around us in general, embracing their root culture in so many creative ways. Has your college life in Nagaland (St Joseph’s College, Jakhama) encouraged you – in any way to pursue such creative hobbies?
Albert: Although we don’t have specific subjects dealing with Naga culture, our schools and colleges always have multiple extra-curricular programmes to showcase our traditions.
When Spring Fest was first initiated in St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama in 2014 it was a visual treat and the fest has only grown over the year all thanks to the interest of the students and administrators. I believe these events helps in promoting as well as preserving our rich culture.
Deno: Any interesting project you are working on personally or professionally?
Albert: I have been documenting the process and rituals involved with agriculture. From tilling the field till the final harvest is done. I have been doing this for three years now and every year there is something new to learn and something with a deeper meaning which I relearn.
Terrace Farming in Kohima, Nagaland
Deno: That’s sounds interesting! So how many hours a day do you invest in your hobbies?
Albert: I spend the better part of my day doing household works, my phone is always with me so whenever I see something interesting I take it out and click it.
Deno: Any current favorite?..any random stuff that has caught your interest other than your photography..
Albert: I have been binge-watching “Suits”
Deno: What’s on your playlist right now?
Albert: Whatever playlist Spotify makes 🙂
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