Being from humble family background, it was never easy to live your passion. You had to fight for it. Right after finished my graduation, way back in 2004, I've realized that my passion was photography but I couldn't even afford a camera, so I started working with an Ad agency as an intern. The job helped me with enough money to buy my first camera, Nikon F80, which was a film camera.
As I had a full-time job for 6 days, I never got any time in the week to work on my photography. So I used to wake up really early on Sundays and go for a shoot. During this struggle between my job and my passion, I tried hard to get a break in media so that I could become a photojournalist.
It was only by the end of 2006, that I finally got my first break with India Today and never looked back since.
Photojournalism was always my calling and I yearned to capture the reality around me. As time progressed, I got a chance to work with international news wire agencies like EPA, Reuters and more. Today I continue to contribute to global media like Bloomberg, AFP, etc.
Initially, my family was not supportive of my career in photography. Even though they knew that I was working with renowned publishers, but photography was never decent money and back then it was even harder to be a photographer. There were no social platforms to support you, digital cameras existed but even the big magazines couldn't afford them. So survival was a question. But all this didn’t dissuade me from my passion and with time as the flow of money started getting consistent from my work, my family was finally convinced.
One thing that I learned from all these years was that what mattered was 'consistency'. Without it, you cannot achieve anything. Everyone has their own style, their own way of working and maintaining their consistency as an artist.
I have the experience of working with publications, editors and also freelancing for my passion. In a regular publication sometimes your work style might not match the vision of the editor and that is a challenge most full-time photojournalists face. You don't get much liberty for your projects, shoot as you may want to. You cannot follow a story on your own, there are always deadlines. This is one of the reasons why I also gave into the idea of becoming a freelancer. But it's equally true that, before you can establish yourself as a freelancer, you need to go through the grind.
Like currently I am contributing to some international publications as well as associated NGOs including WHO and UNICEF and I am happy in the space.
But the years of struggle have made me develop consistency in output that is much required in this profession to be relevant in the long run.
Since we are all stuck with lockdown and quarantine, it is an opportunity for all artists to test out their creativity with limited resources. Explore, there are numerous frames waiting right inside your home, you just need to change your point of view in the new normal and experiment.
Instagram might have created a horde of photographers but don't limit your craft to the boundaries of an AI-driven system. It might discourage you if you don't get enough likes and followers on the social media platform. But don’t let that be a limitation to your craft. There's a real world out there that is more sustainable and challenging. Real talent finds real moments. Give your creativity the wings. The world and everyday life around you already have beautiful frames set. It’s all about changing your perspective and looking beyond to capture them. So go ahead, explore!
Stay Safe and keep experimenting
- Anindito Mukherjee
f you too want to share your journey into Photography, drop us an email at email@example.com
Interviewer: Shashank Joshi
Written by: Harshita Sharma