I have been a studious child and was especially attracted to history. I was getting prepared to serve my nation by joining the civil services but fate had something else in mind. Even though I was a studious kid, I was very passionate about photography and used to click photographs on almost every family event. When I was in my second year of college I bought my own camera and started covering MUNs along with other college events. Gradually I realized that my love for photography exceeds my aspiration of joining the civil services.
I am a self-taught photographer and during college, I started doing several internships to develop myself. This continuous hustle helped me understand the photography industry a lot better. Sometime later, I got introduced to Instagram where people appreciated my work. Instagram helped me make a lot of contacts as I was invited to Instameets which gave me the opportunity to do collaborations with fashion and apparel bloggers as well. This was also the time when I got the opportunity to enter the fashion photography industry. Seeing my work in these collaborations, brands started hiring me.
After working as a fashion photographer for a while I started working in the food photography industry. I had friends who worked in FMCG and food brands. I worked for almost 500 restaurants and brands which include Dabur, Pepsico, and Nestle. With all this work, things got a little easier to convince my parents that photography is a sustainable profession. Though they never discouraged me from becoming a photographer, they were quite fidgety about my decision. I had to prove to them that my decision was right and soon I was successful in doing so.
I had the chance to flourish during the pandemic as I had a studio in my house. I was doing food photography at that time and by grace, I have a passion for cooking as well. I loved cooking, so I could make new dishes and shoot pictures. I kept my clients happy and could easily sustain myself during the pandemic. I learned a lot while working at that time because I had to do everything on my own.
My sense of visuals and framing has helped a lot in my career. With time and experience, this visual sense also helped me work as an art director and a director of photography. In my leisure time, I make personal films and Cinematography is something which I enjoy. Although I do not plan on becoming a filmmaker as of now, I do want to go to New York someday to learn filmmaking. The idea of creating film intrigues me which pushes me to learn all the intricacies of the whole process of filmmaking.
During my journey as a photographer, my partner was always there with me. In this journey, we went through thick and thin together and supported each other immensely. After some time, we realized that our love for each other was something more than normal and we decided to get married recently.
While working for six years, I’ve seen how the roots of patriarchy have crept inside this industry as well, but I have never been discouraged to continue my work. Being from a different city makes it a little hard to get good work and some potential clients. Sometimes it makes it extra hard when you are a woman in the industry. I had to build up my trust gradually with my clients to establish myself. I have learned in this journey that it might not be so easy in the initial days, but working extra hard would eventually help me achieve success. Furthermore, confidence is a very important part of life, one should never let go of it.
- Saumya Gupta
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Interview by: Harshita Sharma
Written by: Sauvik Chatterjee