After knowing that I hadn't cleared the medical entrance exam, I decided to go back to my native village, Nargoal in Gujarat. Just by being near the beach, I found myself getting interested in clicking some pics. I clicked a few with my 8MP camera phone and posted them with some captions that I wrote myself. These caught the attention of many and the hobby continued to stay even after I secured admission into a medical college.
In 2017, I got a chance to get on a trip to Junagarh with the Gujarat Police for 8-9 days. It gave me a great opportunity to explore my photography skills. After that trip, people started noticing my work, not just because of my pictures, but also because the narration was so true to my real-life experiences.
To Talk about my medical career, I am in the last year of medical college now but I have started working part-time since the 2nd year, due to financial constraints. I am used to working from 9 pm till morning. I am the General secretary of my college for two years in a row, so I am managing that as well. I have also done Corona duty for 3 months. So while it's tough, I believe that you can manage both, career and hobby, provided you put your heart and soul into it.
Photography is my daily dose of happiness and a great stress buster.
My family has been very supportive since the beginning, as they knew that I was investing my time in something good. Some of them still don’t understand what I am actually doing but most of my family members are cool about it. I have been saving up for a DSLR and I am just a few bucks away from buying it. So it should be done in 2-3 months. There are a few friends who always had my back no matter what. They kept motivating me to post every day. They would text me if I don’t post even a single day. There was a time when I had nothing but my phone to capture pictures which kept me sane in the toughest phase of my life.
When I started photography, I used to focus on nature. But Later I realized that people wanted something new. So, I started speaking to people online and started learning the technicalities that helped me evolve as a photographer.
Recently, I captured a silhouette with the help of my niece’s toy kitchen playset. People found it a little funny, but when the pictures came out, it was very different than people had imagined. I have also tried to show how alcoholism affects people’s lives. It received a lot of appreciation on social media. I have been featured on more than 100 pages including the MI’s official photography page. Features are definitely one of the biggest motivations that kept me going.
For me, a huge number doesn’t make sense. I never ran behind numbers on social media. I am grateful and proud that I have an insta family of genuine people who actually like my work and want to see me grow.
Some people come with a bang and get all the responses at the beginning but somewhere along the journey, they lose the love for the thing they were doing and eventually give up. I never wanna do that because nothing makes me happier than to keep following my passion along with my profession.
Managing everything on the phone has also been a tough task. We keep seeing pictures of people with big gadgets that are easy to handle once you are used to them, but with a phone camera, it is always a struggle to get the same kind of results. Sometimes I used to borrow superior camera phones from my friends to click better pictures. That’s how it all worked for me. There was a lot of support from the people around me, without them, it would have been very tough.
Lockdown has changed the content equation for me. Before lockdown, I used to stay in Mumbai for 3 weekends and go to my hometown for one. I used to click pictures there and post them throughout the weeks. I’ve also done a few projects of wedding photography but never uploaded them on social media. I really want to try my hands at street photography, it fascinates me a lot. As soon as I purchase my camera, I will definitely go out of my comfort zone and do street photography.
For the people starting in their journey, they should observe the audience, take inspiration from bigger artists. Try to have conversations with them and learn from them. You should be consistent, a patient without thinking about the numbers, and keep up the good work.
All the best.
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Interviewer: Shashank Joshi
Written by: Harshita Sharma