Adda / Tapri / Gumti / Katta / Katte / Meeting Point
There are various words for this place but you cannot describe the emotions, the knowledge, the satisfaction, the information that transpires here. We are therefore going to try and bring forth a real-life discussion that happened at a very popular Meeting Point in Delhi. This Meeting Point is a common hangout point where all the journalists in Delhi meet, discuss and edit their work. Here is an excerpt of one such meeting that our team was a part of:
We all meet here once in a while and discuss various things. Communication with fellow members is a part of journalism. You cannot become a journalist on your own. You need the support and contacts of the community. Many interested people write an email to us stating that they are interested in working with us. But the thing is that if you want to be a journalist, you cannot sit at home facing your computer screen. You need to go out and meet the journalists in person.
A boy used to work in the canteen here, who used to serve us tea and biscuits. Over a period of time, he became friendly with our community and started being a part of all our conversations. He evinced interest in journalism and photography. Eventually, he learned the skills and became a journalist. He won many awards for his work. Just imagine, a boy serving tea, going on to become an award-winning journalist. From 5-6k a month to 60-80k a month. If he can, anybody can. All you need is a little passion, lots of hard work, and need to understand and imbibe the skills.
Journalism is not something you do on your own. It’s not just creativity. Even if you are technically not strong in photography, you can still be a journalist by being a part of the community. Journalism is not about some obvious events it is more about having inside information and sources. People want to know the stories on a deeper level, or that story is just not worth it. Journalism does not work every month. It is more of an opportunity to cover the event. Like, if any of us gets a notification about an event and I am somewhere far away or I am covering another story, I can ask another journalist who is near the location to cover the event and that’s why keeping in touch with the community is very important.
The number of positions in India for a photojournalist was only two for a very high-end newspaper this year and if there are nearly 100 newcomers, where will they work? You cannot expect a job on a degree basis because there are no jobs, the only thing that will provide you is going to be the experience you gain.
We often get to ask what will you do when you get old? You won’t have the same energy to get up at 3 AM to cover an event. There can be a few things. You can save so much that it can sustain your retirement or you can start teaching photography or journalism but what most photographers do is save their photographs as their property. For a photographer, his assets are his photographs and the photographs from a big event are worth a lot of money. Taking an example of this. There was a journalist who documented the life of Dalai Lama for 20-25 years but didn’t do anything from those photographs and when he looked at the collection, he decided to publish a book called ‘Life of Dalai Lama’ which became so popular that they added that book into a journalism course. He is now an official part of the Dalai Lama group. These photographs were like his property which he was investing for himself. Whenever you capture a life long event, publish only a few photos, and keep a few in your collection as an investment. It will help you later in life.
According to us, if you want to enter the field of journalism, you should focus on journalism. Do not have backup plans because you can’t stand on two boats at the same time. Journalism is like a drug, once you are into it you don’t want to go out of it. If you jump into journalism, jump deep into it or you will end up being a press photographer. There is a slight difference between a press photographer and a journalist. The moment you understand the difference you will become a better journalist.
There is a common question among newcomers that if 10 photographers are covering the same event, why would someone buy my photos? The simplest explanation is that if 10 people are capturing an event, there are 1000 platforms to publish it.
Almost all the photographers spend their time editing the photographs, one of these journalists shared that he never edited his pictures. He has trained himself to take final pictures right at the spot. It saves his time and while others are hustling for editing, he pitches those pictures and gets the revert within that timeline. In journalism, timing is more important than creativity.
If you want to invest in gear, most photojournalists go for the zoom lens 70-200 but it is not important to have one. You can also cover your events with just one 35mm lens. It is not always important to carry multiple lenses, because the less you carry in your bag more you will be active in the field. Magazines prefer more subjective photos while the press will look for a wide-angle. You can click pictures according to your medium.
If you are going to be a part of journalism, go out on the field and start discovering. Coming to Delhi is not important if you want to be a journalist, every city has this kind of meeting point, all you need to do is increase your contacts and go out a little more than usual.
All the best to all budding photojournalists
Blog by: Harshita Sharma