Camera and photographs are somethings that I have always been surrounded with since my childhood. My father has always been passionate about taking photographs and so I do not just have a great collection of pictures of me as a newborn baby but even pictures of my mother when she was expecting me. Yes... pictures from her informal maternity shoot in 1987! Passion for photography is something that has been running in my family from generations. My father’s elder brother (Tauji) used to have a dark room for developing his pictures and had/bought a dSLR way back in the early 1980s.
Taking pictures has been a trend in my family. Be it festivals like Holi, Diwali, Rakhi, or birthdays, pictures were taken all the time.
Despite this exposure in my early childhood, to be honest, I was not a big fan of photography in the beginning. Getting clicked was always a tedious task for me, as we were instructed to stand straight, be still, look into the camera and smile. (a general idea of clicking portraits ..haha).
But, it grew on me gradually.
While I don’t remember the exact moment I developed the passion for photography, having my first mobile handset with a camera definitely was a trigger.
In 2009, I started clicking pictures with a small mobile handset that I bought after joining my first job. Dad soon realized that it was not enough, and it was time for me to have my own camera! He asked me to go to a mall and buy a Point & Shoot camera for myself (on a restricted budget obviously). So the very next weekend I went to a Canon store, tried some models and chose a small Point & Shoot camera. I cannot describe the thrill that I felt when I held it in my hands! I started clicking everything and anything around me... I took macro shots of nature, switchboards (i know!), and whatnot! I feel now I was much more enthusiastic about clicking my surroundings back then than I am now... I guess professional hazard.
Anyway, my practice continued, and I eventually joined a photography group in my office. With my colleagues, I used to go on Photowalks every now and then, that really enhanced my skills. I still love the shots that I took of Red Fort and Chandni Chowk back then. I used to religiously share all those pictures with my dad. His appreciation and critical feedback, motivated me to keep learning more.
In 2013, I finally decided to buy a professional SLR camera. My Dad encouraged me to buy a professional one given my progress and even helped me to get a good deal on eBay. My first SLR Canon 600D!(I have it even now, and it’s always gonna be my first love)
My new camera took me into another world. I started clicking more and more pictures, learning manual slowly with Youtube tutorials. And then came my first unexpected gig in 2014, when my roommate asked me to do her pre-wedding photoshoot. She had booked a professional photographer who cancelled at the last minute, and she asked me to step in. I wasn’t very sure how it would go, but she said, ‘Let’s give it a try, we have nothing to lose!’
So we chose “Hauz Khas Fort” (captured in the movie Rockstar). Our shoot started early morning at 6:30 am and lasted for like 2-3 hours. We had so much fun doing it as most of the time when I asked them to pose, it felt silly, and we all just burst out laughing. My friend wanted to send out personalized ‘Save the Date’ invitations with her photoshoot picture. So I made a lot of cards for her. Since then, there is no looking back.
Even though there are many female photographers in India, many parents in India still see this profession as a taboo for their daughters. In my case, my parents motivated me at every step. It wasn't just my Dad, but my Mom too who had been an integral part of this journey by giving me ideas before every photo shoot. My parents had been of immense support in making me reach where I am today.