You might have seen in movies how a person gets a second chance in life after a drastic event! Well, my story of getting another shot in life is real. I was just a regular engineering student but everything changed when I got into a road accident in 2008.
In that accident my left hand and left eye were severely damaged, as of now my hand is 25-30% functional and my eye is 4-5%. Apart from that, I lost the majority of my memories.
My parents and loved ones helped me remember some part of my past life but most of it is still locked in a corner of my brain. I consider this as my rebirth and photography adds meaning to this rebirth.
I had two major surgeries and learned to walk again, this process took 6 months, and was under medical supervision for about 2 years. My experiences taught me the true meaning of life. I picked myself up and never let my condition get in my way of learning life.
I did not confine myself in my house and I always had a tick to do something or the other. I soon got a job at a tour and travels company where I met a photographer, who introduced me to photography. It intrigued me so much that I took it as a hobby. It made me ecstatic when I captured small moments with my Nokia N95 phone camera and shared it with the people around me.
Within a year, two of my pictures got selected for an exhibition which immensely motivated me. This was the point in life where I got a second chance. Just like engineering, I could finally call something my own. I could finally find solace in photography.
In 2010, I met Freedom fighter and Photographer Shri. Pranlal Patel, who covered Gandhi Ji's freedom movements. He shaped me into the person and photographer I am today. He planted a seed inside me to have a reason to wake up every day with the urge to learn something new.
I have worked under various teachers to learn photography and cinematography. In 2010 November I met my Mentor, Sanjay Vaidya. During one of our meetings, I told him that I want to click pictures just like him. His answer changed my perception towards my work, he told me, “If you only follow me then you’ll just become another Sanjay Vaidya. Give your work a unique personality”. I took his advice and I have successfully made a mark with my style of photography. Sanjay Sir also advised me to try out different genres of photography and let the public decide which one I’m good at. In my 10 years of photography experience, I have tried doing many different genres of photography and currently, I am working as a commercial photographer.
During my early years in photography, I spent three-four years in Mumbai where I worked for various production houses of Mumbai’s television industry and did fashion photoshoots. Soon after that, I returned to Ahmedabad.
In 2015 I started my own company ‘KlickPlik’. I did wedding photography and videography under the name of my own company. The emotions I experienced at a wedding and the happiness showed by the clients after getting the final photographs, further motivated me to continue my journey as a photographer.
Later, in 2019, I started another company, ‘Aslan’, which is focused on Corporate profile management. I met the most amazing people and have learned so much while working with them in this space.
In Ahmedabad, I also got the chance to teach photography to students of the Zydus School of Excellence. This was a new experience for me because I was always the one learning and now I convey my knowledge to these budding photographers and will continue teaching whatever I have learned over years.
If I talk about myself, I have only learned the basics of photography from a teacher and then explored advanced photography techniques on my own. So, I instilled the same values in my students and taught them the basics. I knew that if they find photography interesting then they’ll explore more of it on their own.
Photography is something I breathe for and even though I try out various genres, portrait photography is closest to my heart. One of my heartfelt experiences was my trip to Manali. I trekked 1,3000 ft with 30 type-1 diabetic individuals and documented the whole journey. It warms my heart whenever I see the pictures of their joyous faces after we reach the top.
Covid drastically changed the photography industry and I successfully adapted to this change. During the lockdown, I started doing hybrid shoots & live stream events. Furthermore, I helped the police during the lockdown. Our task was to catch perpetrators who broke the lockdown rules with our drones. I feel that if photographers can adapt to any situation they would certainly get work, I handled the most number of jobs during Covid because of my capability to adapt.
The advice Pranlal Ji gave me should be a golden rule for every photographer. They should evolve and develop into a better photographer and person by learning something new every day. I also feel that anything can be achieved with a bit of hope, passion, and dedication.
Even though my hand still pains and I am advised to secure it in a bandage but I endure all this pain to pursue my passion & never want to feel any different because of my condition. 11 years back, I was fighting between life and death and now I am running 2 successful companies while doing what I love. I keep saying this to everyone “Disability is in our mind & not in the body. If I can, then so can you.
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Editor: Harshita Sharma
Written by: Sauvik Chatterjee