From Passion To Profession

Interview in a Food and Health Magazine. (sanjay austa austa)

Q. Lets begin with a little bit of your childhood

I grew up in  Shimla – Himachal Pradesh from where I originally belong. I studied in a  boarding school for boys there.

Q. What got  you into Photography?

I started my career as a journalist. Therefore I  was exposed to photojournalists in my  office and in the field.  They would often be sent with me to cover stories etc. Sometimes when the photographers  weren’t available  I would take pictures on my own and they would get published. Gradually I began exploring photography  a lot more and started getting pictures  published. But from writing to photography nothing really changed . Photography has became another medium to tell a story.

Q. Tell us about your  expedition to Kanchenjunga?

Expedition to Kanchenjunga with the Indian Army was my first serious photography assignment. It will probably remain the physically toughest assignment for me. We lived at 5600 meters on a glacier for two months. The Indian Army had taken a year off to train for the expedition unlike me and the other ‘civilian’ -the filmmaker. We were  hired just before the expedition was flagged off by the Army General from New Delhi. And it didn’t help that the army officers would compete with us in trekking, climbing etc and were making bets when either of us would falter and give up. Those days we still used film rolls and had heavy tripods. Handling  all of that in sub-zero temperatures offered challenges of their own.

Q. What are the challenges that one should be prepared to face while on an assignment? 

Every assignment brings its own challenges. The trick is to satisfy the client who hires you without compromising on what you think are good pictures. As a photojournalist I  am mostly photographing   strangers. The challenge for me is to make them open up to me so I can get a unique perspective to their lives.

Q. Which one of your photography assignments  has been the most memorable to you?

My two month Kanchengjuna assignment remains the most memorial assignment for me.

Interview in a Food and Health Magazine. (sanjay austa austa)

Q. Photography is the mirror of the society. Comment?

I would say yes its a mirror. But every photographer can have his own mirror to show. We can have our own interpretations of what we see around us. The observer in turn can have his or her own interpretations of what the photographers  brings to  him.

Q. You have been to  the Arctic,  the Arabian Deserts and have done the  African Safari, which one would you choose to go for again ?  

I would want to go to the Arctic again. I missed seeing the Northern Lights due to overcast skies last time.

Q. How does one convert  photography as a passion to profession?

To make it a profession its not enough that you are a good  photographer. You need more than that.  More than 60 percent of a photographer’s work is on his/ her laptop,   phone , internet or boardrooms.  One has to edit photographs, pitch them to editors,meet potential clients, reply loads of mails, negotiate and do all the rest of the humdrum work as well.

Q. What would you like to tell budding photographers? What according to you is a good photograph?

To budding photographers I would say be curious about the world around you. Be alive to the sounds, the colors, the patterns,  the shapes around you. Learn to enjoy them before you begin to ‘capture’ them.

I am a photojournalist and for me what makes a photograph is the power of the story it has  in it. The photograph  must evoke some emotion, has something to convey to the observer . Thats what, in my opinion, makes a photograph timeless.

6 Responses to “From Passion To Profession”

  1. Sandeep Kumar says:

    Nice one Sanjay… and I am totally agree with your comments on “Photography is the mirror of the society.” and “How does one convert photography as a passion to profession”

  2. Muralitharan says:

    “Learn to enjoy them before you begin to ‘capture’ them”— All camera holders should follow… now a days purpose of tours are changing from enjoy to capture… Thanks Sanjay 🙂

  3. After a long time, I bought one digital camera because people were fed up with my cell phone pics. That cost me Rs. 3800 and I thought (the most entry-level) digital camera was a huge and unnecessary investment. Man, now I realize how wrong I was 😛

    I shiver in the (non-existent) winters of Chennai. So, I guess I’ll never even travel to K2 (or even in that direction). Kudos to your dedication 🙂

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