I still remember the scene vividly. The poor man sitting in front of the moneylender, helpless and in dire straits. The moneylender craftily values the jewelry at half the price and lends a small sum at a large interest rate. The helpless soul has no choice but to take the funds as he is hounded with the thoughts of what will happen if he is unable to pay for his child's fees at school and other basic stuff at home. In a small village, mortgaging your wife's jewelry is the most embarrassing and shameful thing that a man can do. That helpless and embarrassed soul was me.
Hi. I am Ashish Sharma, an ordinary simpleton, born and brought up in a village, 60 km from Indore. With my family background in agriculture, my childhood dreams never went beyond cattle and fields.
Till the day, I came across a toy camera. My interest grew in looking through the lens. Years passed by and photography always remained a desirable hobby. Something that you like to do, but can never dream of making it a profession.
Back in the 90s, my uncle used to own a General store, where I used to do odd jobs. He got a government job, so I started working full time. Soon I got a dealership from Hindustan Unilever and things changed financially. The store became among the most popular in the village and things prospered.
A dear friend was into the photography business and I used to do a couple of wedding shoots with him for free (during my free time), as I never took that job seriously. I always thought that it was not meant for me.
But there was something inside which kept pricking me. So one day I bought my first camera, a Yashica. I used to tell people that I can shoot for them if they had any occasion. I used to get a couple of projects and clients were happy with my work but I wasn’t sure about photography as a full-time profession.
Years passed and I started working with the Sahara India as a Senior Motivator and then started a Movie library. Everything was good but I always felt something lacking. A creative void inside me. I didn’t want to spend my life in a small store of 15×20. So, I finally decided to drop everything and start videography as a full-time career.
Amidst all these things, I had to face a lot of financial stress. The day at the moneylender was the lowest point in my life and I decided that come what may, I will never ever face the embarrassment of mortgaging the family jewelry.
And I never looked back after that day. While there was no regular work as a freelancer, I used to travel a lot to get projects. 18 hours a day. Day after day. Weeks traveling away from home.
There were times when I didn’t even have money for petrol so I used to leave my car Stepney at the petrol pump as collateral and pay them later after the project got completed.
It was quite frustrating when I used to see my friends who already got settled at that age and there I was, stepping into a new career struggling with my responsibilities as a family man. But the hard work paid off.
It took time but things started falling into place. I started getting good projects and now I am well settled as a wedding videographer.
When the wedding season arrives, I get flooded with projects. I've shot a maximum of 8 weddings in a single day and there wasn’t a single time when I was frustrated or tired of the shoots. Today, I am flooded with projects through the year (for some occasion or the other)
I’ve built so many relationships with the families that recently I shot my 6th wedding in a single-family. They all know me by name and treat me as a family member. That’s all that matters to me.
I believe that a photographer should give his best at every project.
Because, although it's routine for him, for the clients, it is that one day, the biggest day, which will give them lasting memories forever.
My wife has been my biggest support. She always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She had to take the brunt of all my decisions even within the family and relatives. And it is only her support that gave me the inner strength to pass through those difficult times.
If you too want to share your journey into Photography, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interviewer: Shashank Joshi
Blog by- Harshita Sharma