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FO2 Stage | Himanshi Daryani

by Team FO2, 24 Jun 2023

Photography as a concept came to me from my family, we have always had several picture albums and cameras from back in the day lingering around in the house. Even when we went on family trips and vacations, my family members have always been keen on capturing the moment. My grandfather and my uncle are very fond of photography and they've always loved capturing the moments that our family was sharing. I'm sure I picked up my fondness towards my profession through them and I still remember when I was very young, I used to play around with those cameras and I loved it.

I started working with a famous food blog page - Indori Zayka as a content writing intern in 11th grade and soon discovered that my interests were bending towards photography. That's when I started taking my interests seriously, and as time passed, I grew with my hobby and soon turned it into a full-fledged profession. I bought my first camera on an EMI loan when I was in my first year of college and I have explored almost every genre of photography ranging from fashion, food, to products and kids, and so on. With time I understood that fashion was not for me, and neither were weddings. I liked capturing food, products, and kids a lot, so I had some certainty about my niche over time.

Food photography as a genre in photography is quite underrated and goes unnoticed quite often. This genre has always been in demand and always will be because as people, we never stop eating. I truly enjoy being a food photographer because it allows me to be 100% creative on my own and that is a very validating feeling. From color palettes to the styling of a particular dish to the lighting, I can control most things that will decide how a picture is going to turn out and that makes me feel very grounded. It adds to my skill and the more I learn the more I grow. 

Many times I come across situations during a shoot where the chefs get offended with my perspective towards a particular dish as a photographer and I need to sit down with them and explain to them that it's not about their presentation or their dish personally, but it's about how I need the dish to look like for this photograph to make people crave for it. A faint memory from a shoot that I was doing with a chef, he got offended with the way I wanted the dish to be styled and after a few dishes, he decided he didn't want to shoot with me anymore because of the changes I wanted. That really shook me and now that I think about it, it seems funny but at the time, I was quite taken aback.

Even though there were ups and downs, I kept hustling and managed to be financially independent at an early age. I am truly grateful for everyone I came across during this journey and even bought a car on my own at 21! My grandparents used to taunt me for doing photography as it is not something they have seen a girl pursuing! But I had trust in my craft and kept working hard. Now, they take pride in what I do and I think it’s my biggest achievement to date.

As a woman in photography, I have learned how to deal with judgment and underestimation of my skill. This is a very recent incident about when I went for a shoot at the location and met the person who was managing the shoot. I was waiting till they had set everything up but it was taking much longer! When I went to check with the manager, he said they were waiting for the photographer and I had to give him a confirmation that I am the photographer! He gave me a look of doubt and we finally got to work. This one blew my mind, but it's almost as if I have gotten used to it now and to a point where it doesn't bother me as much as it should.

About plagiarism and content being copied- you can't control that because someone somewhere on the internet is going to try to copy or recreate it but their work no matter how similar it looks to yours, isn’t going to lack your creative intel, and that is a superpower and something every artist should always keep in mind, especially if they are promoting their work on social media and the internet. I also believe that for as long as you are true to your work, things will go well for you and that is something that should stay consistent throughout your growth. That is the true essence and beauty of art and being an artist.

- Himanshi Daryani

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