Cop Shiva was born in Bangalore and began his artistic journey by joining the art collective 1 Shanthi Road in Bangalore where he was the coordinator for the space. A member of the Karnataka police department (from which he derives his name,) he has been working as a photographer since 2010. In his work he depicts the complexity of rural and urban India, focusing on people and portraiture as a genre, particularly the idea of masquerade and the roles people play in public and private.
His portfolio includes documentation of the life of a rural school-teacher as a Gandhi impersonator as a way to look at Gandhi’s ideals in contemporary India, as well as a series of intimate portraits of urban migrants, people of alternative sexuality, street performers and others living in the hinterland of urban and rural conflict. In his practice he captures the diversity of humans who live on the edge and represent the spirit of our times.