Almost exactly 6 years ago, I shot my first paid wedding assignment. At that point, I did it to help out some friends who were getting married, for an extra bit of pocket money and to keep my creative juices flowing. Never did I foresee a full time career in it. Yet here I am today, 6 years later, working as a professional photographer, having shot around 200 weddings, published 8 printed Zines and made several documentary photo stories in this span of time. And how has the journey been so far? Read on.
7 years ago, I was working as a crude oil trader in the financial markets of London. I had just completed my degree in Economics & Politics and the role of a trader felt apt, given my education. I still recall the joy I had on my first day of work when I saw that my desk had 3 monitors. I’ve made it in life, I thought. But few months down the line, the monotonous nature of a desk job started to bite me. I wanted to go out and photograph the world. I wanted to document the art around me. Yet here I was, staring at 3 monitors for 10+ hours a day.
At that point, I made an audacious decision to move back to India (that’s another story for another time) but I certainly did not think that I would become a photographer, or even stay in the same profession more than half a decade later in such an uncertain world. The future today looks even more uncertain with the pace of change. Being comfortable with who we are leads to complacence. We all need to keep running to stand still.
Society is going through a state of rapid consumption and discarding, seduced by marketing and the need to keep up external appearances. Today’s trend is tomorrow’s antique. What is the role of an artist here? To remind the world about the real joys of life and the meaning of it. And it is important for not just humans but also the environment to stop this constant needless consumption cycle. And when the environment becomes worse for wear, it is going to have a direct impact on all our lives.
In my journey as a photographer, I am always asking myself this question – What value I am adding to society? Like fellow creative individuals, I live in a self employed world where we need to set our own milestones to mark our progress in life, since unlike the corporate people, we don’t have promotions or job titles. Creating a sense of self worth is vital to survive in this competitive world.
But in the end, what is life without art? No movies, no music, no Instagram, no books. It’s almost like the sole reason for our existence is to create and appreciate art. Everything else we do is just to find a means of survival in between the various forms of creative expression. And rightly so. I find that art has the power to cure many things in life. Movies tend to make one see the bright side of life, music has the ability to transport us to new worlds. Personally for me, photography has the power to cure all my worries and unnecessary overthinking. When I take a great photo and everything falls into place – light, focus, expressions – it’s like an orchestra completely in sync. Feels like heaven.
I am immensely grateful that I’m able to make a living with wedding photography today, something that was not even a real career option until a decade or so ago. I happened to be in right place at the right time with the right set of skills and for that, I am thankful to parents and sister for their belief in me, my wife for her constant encouragement and support, and my friends for always being there for me.
This is only the beginning. I have only scratched the surface in my life as a photographer. There is a whole world out there, waiting to be photographed. And I cannot wait to do that.
Currently listening to – Maarey Kalaley from Ee Nagariniki Emaindi
Currently reading – The Casual Vacancy by J.K.Rowling
Currently watching – The Office (US)