“Uncle, where do you live? Let’s go to your house. I want to meet your family”, an innocent and curious little kid asked a passerby. This little kid was me. Whenever I get to sit down with a cup of coffee alone with my thoughts, I remember my younger self going up to a stranger with a friendly face and just conversing with them. That little kid has not changed over the years, as I still do the same while doing street photography. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about their lives.
I have loved the concept of photography ever since I was in college, but I was too scared to tell my father that I wanted an SLR. But my determination to be a photographer soon overshadowed my fear, and I got the strength to tell my parents that I wanted to be a photographer. My first reaction from my father was, “Photography? It is a useless profession. It doesn’t have a future.” His reaction demotivated me at first but what saved me was motherly love. Deep down, a mother will always root for her child even if she shows resistance. She helped me get my first SLR camera, and I took the first step to become a photographer.
I joined Light & Shadow Photography Institute, where I developed my basic skills in photography which encouraged me to learn more. This is when I found my interest in street photography, and ever since then, I have stepped outside every day to scour the streets for a subject. My thirst for knowledge to be a better photographer has never stopped. I achieved a Distinction Honor in photography AFIP (Associate) under FIP (Federation of Indian Photography) in the year 2013 and FFIP (Fellowship) of Federation of Indian Photography in the year 2015. My love for photography has taken me to various organizations and boards where I’ve received honors and titles for my performance.
After I became a member in FIP, my work was published for the first time in Asian Photography (India). I quickly made a copy of the publication and showed it to my father. I proved to him that photography is a prestigious profession and that one can make a career out of it. During my 13 years as a photographer, I’ve earned more than 1200 national and international awards. Apart from that, I have more than 2000 acceptances.
2017 has been one of the most rewarding years for me. I got many achievements like APSI (Associateship) of the Photographic Society Of India & ASAP (Associateship) of Sigma Academy Of Photography India, WORLD RANK 4 TOP EXHIBITOR IN PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA IN (PHOTOJOURNALISM), every year after this got me to places and achievements I always dreamt about. In 2018 I had been conferred such a prestigious recognition as “Hon.PESGSPC” and “GPA.PESGSPC” - GRAND PROGRESS AWARD" from "PASCAL ENGLISH SCHOOL & GREEK SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHIC CLUB" – Cyprus. Also got "AFIAP DISTINCTION from Fédération Internationale de L'art Photographique '' (FIAP) – Belgium in the same year. In 2019, I Conferred as "Hon.FCPA".. of "Association Of Professional Photographers FotoClubPro Arad" (Romania) and “Hon.CPE” of “Campina Photographic Exhibitions Society” (Romania) and also awarded as HONORARY FELLOWSHIP OF GNG" (HFGNG) – INDIA. In 2020, I was conferred as “Hon.APF” from ARTWORK PHOTOGRAPHY FOUNDATION – INDIA.. And also conferred with "A.CPE" DISTINCTION TITLE FROM "Campina Photographic Exhibitions Society" (ROMANIA) And even conferred with "BEAPF" (BRONZE EXHIBITOR OF APF) Distinction title from "ASIA PHOTO FESTIVAL 2020" (SINGAPORE). In 2021, I stood second in a contest organized by the embassy of India in Paris and conferred with "ES.CPE (Excellence Services) Distinction Title from "Campina Photographic Exhibitions Society" (ROMANIA). I’ve received so many awards, but right now, my father is not with me to see this. However, I know that wherever he is, he has a long smile on his face seeing my achievements.
Though I am more focused on street photography, I also enjoy doing wedding shoots. I realized that pre-wedding shoots are an open canvas for experiments. I took the opportunity, and I decided to mix wedding with street photography. Though some people reject my idea, most like it. I take the couples to the odd streets and ghats of Kolkata, where they pose with the environment around them.
I have had several bad experiences while doing street photography. Like when a knife accidentally cut me when I was covering a procession during Muharram or the times when I almost got run over by vehicles. But in my journey, I’ve also encountered the most wonderful people. During my visit to a village near the India-Bangladesh border, I met a middle-aged woman, who open-heartedly invited me to her house as it was lunch hour, she even asked me to join her family for lunch. She treated me like her own son. Her hospitality made me believe that I am in the right profession. If I did not become a photographer, I would never have seen this side of humanity.
Even though I’ve achieved distinction in so many prestigious organizations, I’ve never stopped my habit of reading a book on photography on weekends. I like to keep myself updated on the world of photography and the ideas of established photographers. I think that this habit is what keeps a photographer relevant and constitutes their success. ‘Photography is not only a profession for me, nor does it mean manufacturing photographs. It is all about creating them.’
- Akash Ghosh
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Editor: Harshita Sharma
Written by: Sauvik Chatterjee