Fo2 Stage | 030 | Suresh Naganathan

 

I was born and brought up in Switzerland. After my graduation, I started working with this company for which I had to travel around Europe. I got one such opportunity to travel to Asia and when here, I felt very attached to the surroundings as my roots are Indian. As the project in India was quite a big one, my company decided that I should stay here for a little longer than what was initially planned.

Photography came to me as an interest in documenting my travels. I loved clicking pictures but those pictures were not doing any justice to my vision. I started researching online, did some courses and in the process came across this genre of street photography. That changed the game for me. I used to see pictures that blew my mind and wondered about how people could take these completely candid pictures on the streets. It was like a revelation for me. I wanted to do that kind of photography. 

I started attending workshops conducted by a group called Art photo feature and it helped me a lot. It’s been more than six years now and I am still focusing on street photography. It has been a very good experience for me so far. 

I remember when I visited Vrindavan. I came across this man on the street and started clicking his pics. He got so overjoyed that I was clicking his pictures that he took me to his small village. There I went door to door taking pictures of others as well and most of them offered me food. All of them were so nice to me. I spent two hours there and it was one of the best experiences for me as a photographer. Also as a person. I interacted with a lot of people, something that I was never comfortable with, earlier. It made me quite at ease amongst strangers and I now believe that everything seems easy to me when I have a camera in my hand.

In January 2020, I quit my job to pursue photography as a full-time career.

The Pandemic and the subsequent Lockdown has changed the equation for photographers as most genres require you to step out. It was initially tough but then I started searching for subjects indoors. I took pictures of my partner, played with indoor lighting and daily activities. Such adverse situations generally tend to open up your mind to a lot of possibilities that you wouldn't have otherwise explored. I used to cover festivals like Ganesh Utsav, Durga Puja etc. This year most of them were celebrated in a limited way and they didn’t allow us to take pictures. However, I managed to click a few pictures from a distance and I was quite pleased with the results. I went to Chhath Puja and it was shocking how pandemic has changed everything. It was a bit scary initially but I went ahead and documented the festival as I felt that if things improve, we might never witness festivals this way ever again. 

I started conducting online workshops with my friend Sreeranj. They are not as full-fledged as the physical ones because in online mediums, you have certain limitations but I am very happy with the response we are getting. 

We’re not charging too high so that it remains affordable to youngsters.

It was a big step to leave my corporate job and pursue photography full time but I have trust in my work and my camera. It is a big deal to pursue an unorthodox career choice in India but my family never had an issue with it so far. They know that it’s my dream and hence they have been very supportive.

To all budding photographers, I always say "Give a chance to your dreams, you might not be successful but at least you will not regret it at any point in your life that you didn’t give it a try. The only condition is that you need to work hard, there are no shortcuts if you wanna do photography you have to think about it all the time. Street photography has been a very good experience for me so far. It is not just clicking pictures, you need to have fun with it and connect yourself with people.

- Suresh Naganathan

If you too want to share your journey into Photography, drop us an email at stories@fo2.in

- Blog by Harshita Sharma