I was in kindergarten when I first demanded a camera for the first time, and my dad had to get me a kodak camera. I was obsessed with shutter sound ever since I was kid, and as odd as it may sound to others but I was in love with it. As I was growing up, I could sense my interest and fascination grow towards photography more and more, and this made me want to capture as many moments in my camera as possible. Later on, my dad got me a film camera in which you could take 12 pictures at a time and using that also felt like such an accomplishment. As a young kid, running around with a real camera capturing moments, and people and actions made me feel so alive.
As I grew up, my fondness for photography got lost in other co-curricular activities but then, close to my 10th grade, I came across a poster for a photography workshop one day and I signed up for it. That was the day when I found my love and passion for photography again. I attended that workshop after my 10th grade, which was based on basic photography skills. That workshop was immensely informative and changed my entire perspective towards why I loved photography so much, and how I wanted to pursue it. After that workshop, I discovered my fondness for street photography. I absolutely enjoyed capturing people and moments in their candid situations. Especially with people, I loved capturing an absent minded candid moment that also told a story. As for my family, you know how Indian families feel about miscellaneous hobbies, they are always slightly half hearted towards it, and mine are too. They do feel like I don’t need to take photography as seriously as I do, since I am already studying medicine, but I keep holding my ground and telling them that it is for me, I do this for myself.
When I got into medical college, I moved to Ukraine to study medicine full time and naturally I brought my camera along with me. By then, I had upgraded to the first ever professional camera that I bought, it was from Canon in 2017. I had done my research about this camera, and how it's used, its functions and lenses, I had all the information even before I bought the camera. It has never happened with me that people have taken major offence towards me photographing them without their consent, but whenever I have faced questioning and objection I have immediately shown them my work profile and then they have requested me to take another picture. I have come across such incredible people, and artists through photography, it has been quite rewarding. I want to pursue photography in my genre professionally some day, but till then I want to also focus on medicine for a start. For now, it's just for me and it's only a hobby that makes me very happy.
There are about 2000 students in my college coming from all parts of the world, and one of these years we had a talent show happening in our campus. Now, when you’re a person with a camera in your hand, people automatically come to notice you and know you. During this particular talent show, I went to cover this event and take pictures for it. When I was here, I realized that a lot of people knew my name and I was so confused as to how they knew me. Then I found out that it was my camera that was doing all this magic. It was quite a funny incident altogether.
Another similar incident happened when I was just out and about in the city, and I asked a girl if I could take a picture of her and she agreed. Later on she told me that she worked at a studio, and the studio was also a learning space for beginners who were just getting started with photography. She really liked my work and invited me to deliver a lecture about my style in photography and so I did. The lecture I gave was such an alluring experience, it was so new and fresh, it was a whole different feeling altogether. Later, as time went by, I started visiting the studio every Sunday and after a point of time, these brief meetings had turned into a whole community at the studio where we all just sat down together and loved to talk and discuss about photography and our work.
One of the biggest sense of accomplishment that I have felt has been when I learnt that a woman in Switzerland had printed out a photograph that I had taken, framed it and hung it over her bedroom wall. So, I used to upload my photographs on a free stock photographs portal a while back, and this woman must have come across this picture on that website. And when I found out about this, I was so overwhelmed by this and I almost couldn’t decide how to react to it. I was really touched and taken aback, it was a beautiful feeling. My work slowly gained recognition and my social profiles also started growing a lot too. During this time, I was building up on my work simultaneously and so, here I am.
With what photography has made me today, I am extremely grateful for each and every outcome and I am only looking forward to the day when I can make something more real, bigger and better out of this. I am proud of all the obstacles that I have jumped over and crossed successfully so far, and I am always ready for more if there are any incoming. I just hope to see myself as a successful doctor and then a professional photographer one day, and till then I will be a 50-50 of both!
- Rushil Shrivastava
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Editor: Harshita Sharma
Written by: Sayoni Walujkar