Discussions about architecture might be the first thing I heard after my birth. To be more specific, every single member of my family is an architect and among them, my grand-uncle was the beam of light I saw. I don’t know what he saw in my eyes that day, but he gave me his old camera with 1 roll of film and asked me to click a picture with the perfect exposure. I failed with my first roll of film, but I continued using more rolls which were quite expensive. After a month and 40 rolls of film, I managed to get the perfect exposure.
My grand-uncle was a photographer and was the first photographer with Raghu Rai in Chandigarh. While my grandfather worked in building Chandigarh as an architect, he documented the whole journey with his camera. Although, you might say that his topmost achievement in life was teaching me photography.
I loved painting and sketching but despised the patience involved in doing it. On the other hand, photography intrigued me because it instantaneously captures the moments I want to paint without the patience of painting involved in it. It's like the device was made just for me.
My grand-uncle saw the potential in me and took me as his 4th assistant when I was in the 7th standard. There I learned my grand-uncle’s ethics of photography which has shaped me into the photographer I am today. He only took one shot of a particular scene and told me, “Only bad photographers click more shots of a scene.” I’ve absorbed that ideal inside me and till now I’ve never taken a burst shot. If I take 300 photographs almost 90% of them would be suitable to give to the clients. I think that working with that ideal can develop anyone to be more precise and perfect with their shot.
After I completed my higher secondary exam, my grand-uncle arranged an internship with American photographer, Robert in Italy. That trip changed my perception of photography. As I reached there, I realized that I was under-equipped after seeing everyone use digital cameras. When I told Robert about this, he was nice enough to give me his old digital camera. But the colossal task of learning this new technology within a few days along with the editing software was still upon my shoulders. Before our first shoot, I managed to understand the digital camera a bit better. As the shoot completed, I made it to the good books of Robert. We were shooting a model in our first task and he gave us 10 minutes to set up and shoot. In those 10 minutes, I talked to the model and set up lights for 6 minutes, and took only two shots. He wanted me to take more shots but I was confident with my work. Later, he selected my photographs and appreciated my work.
After finishing my internship, I worked with a chef and a film director just to extend my stay in Italy. When I was back home, I felt an emptiness inside my heart. Soon, I realized that it was because I am yet to explore my own country, so I set off alone to the northeast and east side of the country to explore.
During that internship, I developed a liking for architecture and decided to continue the family profession and took a degree in architecture. The most important in all these incidents is that I further explored photography and learned that I’m more into product, architecture, and fashion photography. I don’t know if it’s in my blood or something, but I absolutely love architecture as a whole. The symmetry and patterns are extremely eye-catching to me.
I am not really a person who used to keep up with social media. I just never got accustomed to how fast it is but I am planning to be more regular as I can as I believe that art should be showcased to the public, it provides much more meaning to it and art holds the power to change the world.
Various incidents shape a photographer into something better. There was one time when I got to experience a rare purple haze in the sky during sunset. I missed the moment to click it because of my tendency to wait for the perfect shot and my ideal to not click more than one shot. Since then I believe that, don’t let your ego get the better of you and try to better yourself in timing your photographs.
- Shivansh Sharma
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Blog by: Rahul Thakkar Sauvik Chatterjee
Editor: Harshita Sharma