I was a student of Textile engineering and management. Our University also had a course for fashion designing, and fashion students always looked for photographers; when an opportunity for the collaboration came, I went ahead with it. So I started my journey by doing a cinematography project with them.
My friends used to travel a lot. So I also started traveling with them and making travel videos on my mobile. All that process helped me explore myself in the field I never thought I would pursue.
Sometime later, I met a team called “Nree” who used to do wedding photography. I learned a lot of aspects of photography from them. They were different from other wedding photographers as they were from the documentary Genre and had a different approach towards photography. I learned about documentary photography, cinematography, lights, composition, and so much more from them.
Working with them gave me confidence in my work, and I started taking on freelance projects of all genres, varying from fashion to OVC.
During covid, our classes shifted online. I used to put earphones in one ear while doing shoots. Working during that time helped me a lot in building my career. During my fourth year, when I applied for an internship, I couldn't work for more than two days as I didn't want to work in the textile industry anymore. This was when I decided to shift my career to a full-time cinematographer, and I'm pleased with where I am right now.
When I started traveling and pursuing photography, my family was confused and against me, for leaving the field I had studied for! But when I won the second position with one lakh, Taka, in the cinematography competition conducted by Bangladesh Tourism Board, they realized I wasn't just idling away my time. Since then, they have stopped interfering and questioning my career as they have realized that I am working hard and good at what I am doing.
Photography might seem like an easy job to a lot of people, but many things go on in the background. For example, in January 2021, we went for a shoot in the village, and after reaching there, we realized that they didn't have any mode of public transportation. So we had to walk almost 5 km to get to our location. But my experience was extraordinary as they were holding a Hindu ritual. I was happy to see that all the cultural traditions still respected and practiced there in our country have been present for decades.
As a child, I dreamt of becoming a cricketer or footballer, but I wasn't very good at sports or athletics. So I paid attention to studies I was good at and decided to do Textile engineering. I never wanted to become a photographer until I was in University.
My roots are from Magura, a small town in the southern region of Bangladesh. I lived in Dhaka till the 5th standard, then moved back to Magura and stayed there till the 10th standard. Then again, I moved back to Dhaka to complete my education and graduation, and I still live here. I made a video for my village; everyone loved it and praised my work. The look my parents had after the video is something I will never forget; there's nothing more satisfying than making your parents proud.
I take every step of my life as a learning experience, and thinking that way keeps me motivated. I always believe that nothing in life comes easy, but if you are passionate enough, you can do anything!
- Rony Sharafat
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Written by: Vinay Matre & Harshita Sharma
Interview by : Harshita Sharma