I was very fond of cameras even as a child. When other kids around my age were playing with toys, I used to play with My father's camera, the Yashica SLR, which I still have. We used to go to many temples and pilgrimage places where my father & I used to click many pictures and get them printed. From that, I got fascinated by the idea of photography, taking photos, getting them printed and making them into albums.
When I was six years old, there was a naming ceremony for my uncle's daughter, and I asked everyone not to call a photographer; I would do the photography. At that time, my uncle's friend brought a camera from abroad and gave it to me for the ceremony. But I made one massive mistake at the end of the ceremony. I opened the camera's reel section, thinking I could see the photos before printing them. Little did I know that the reel gets white-washed as soon as it gets exposed to light; as a result, many pictures were destroyed, and everybody at home scolded me saying my actions ruined the whole ceremony. That event made me more curious about the camera and photography and taught me a fundamental life lesson: "In fear of making mistakes, how will we grow if we don't take risks?"
Social media helped me a lot in my journey. In 2012, when Facebook was booming in India, I used to post pictures on Facebook, which helped me learn about different genres of photography. Same with commercials, I'm a huge fan of commercials, so I watched ads by Sony, Nikon, and Canon where they used to tell how to use a particular device, which helped me to learn about them.
I completed school in my hometown Kundapura, a small and beautiful town in Karnataka. My father is a jeweller and owns a small workshop there. I wasn't a bright student in school and was always a backbencher. I was bullied and fat-shamed, but it never discouraged me. Now, people don't care about trivial things like body type, and I think of it more as an advantage now as people easily remember me and the ones who used to bully me are very good friends of mine today. Some of them are even my clients. Currently, I'm on a diet and working on weight transformation not for anybody else but me because I want to be fit for myself and enjoy a healthy life.
After school, I went to Mangalore for my mass communication & Journalism B.A. As Mangalore is also a small town, it didn't offer me many opportunities, so I used to work on paid gigs during college, and in 2018 I shifted to Bengaluru.
Throughout my life, photography was always there. I never knew that I would be a photographer. Still, it came as a blessing. Initially, My parents were not happy with me pursuing photography as a career as they thought it was not a respectful career choice. However, after they saw my work published in the newspaper and heard from the people about it, they became proud of it. So for me :
"It doesn't matter where you are from; you will definitely succeed as long as you have a core passion for something."
-Harsha Srinivas Shet
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Written by : Vinay Matre
Interview by : Aman