My love for photography is endless, I can’t take the next step of doing photography full-time. I am the only earning member of my family so I have to do a full-time job at an IT firm to support my mother and me. Furthermore, there are a lot of traveling expenses in street photography and I don’t find myself in a comfortable position in the photography industry yet. Someday, maybe, I’ll get a chance to click photographs independently without thinking about the hardships of life.
The streets of Kolkata always have something new to offer for a photographer and that something made me fall in love with street photography. My love for photography started when I first picked up a mobile camera in 2008 during my college which had a 5-megapixel camera. Capturing normal day-to-day things into a single frame gave me the utmost joy. Later, when I got a job, I finally got myself a DSLR camera and taught myself how to operate the camera by going through the online tutorials on YouTube which improved my style of photography.
As a photographer, I have a habit of choosing only the small intricate details in a scene to capture rather than the larger picture. You have to be very vigilant to capture a moment in street photography because of how unpredictable the elements in a street are. At times, I find myself in trouble while shooting on certain streets in an urban area. You would have to see people getting angry at you for clicking their picture and questioning you. When I went to Purulia, I saw a father tutoring 8-9 children. When I took out the camera to click their photograph they got self-conscious. Gradually, I earned their trust and clicked their photograph. Incidentally, that picture won me a different award.
In 2019, I took part in the Xiaomi photography contest. The contestants have to click a photograph using their mobile phone. In my experience, I have learned that a photographer should carry a phone with a good camera along with a DSLR. There might come a situation where you have to substitute your DSLR with a phone camera. I won both the rounds of the contest and won the Xiaomi Photographer of the Year award. They offered me to go on a photo tour to Italy, but the trip couldn’t happen because of the pandemic.
To take pictures from the best angle, I sometimes climb on a tree or step inside the river and when those pictures get recognition from various big photographers and platforms, all of it seems worth it. I was clicking one such picture in Ganga river during Durga puja, a girl was collecting coins from the river and she found Maa Durga’s head and as I saw that moment, I immediately clicked it! That picture got immense recognition and features.
Apart from street photography, I also got the chance to do wedding photography. Sometimes, my friends and colleagues offer to cover a wedding for their families. Though wedding photography is lucrative in terms of money, it doesn’t give me the same thrill as street photography. So I just do it for my friends and family.
As I am still working in an IT company I can only travel and shoot during the weekends. This might seem tiresome for some, but I enjoy it. I love taking risks to do the best I can. I feel that this is how a photographer or even a normal person should be. You need to take risks to improve and get the best results.
- Surit Datta