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FO2 Stage | Aarohan Tiwari

by Team FO2, 22 Jun 2023

It was on a trip to Nainital that I had my first tryst with photography. I was just 10 years old when I shot a landscape image of Naini lake. My dad highly appreciated the pic and motivated me to take up photography as a hobby. While I did feel attracted, I just couldn’t focus on photography during my school days. We generally don’t think about photography as a career during our school days. So it was only in my first year of college, that I borrowed my uncle’s 1200D and clicked again. Soon it became my travelling partner. I clicked quite a lot and started getting better at it. By the second year of college, I had started taking up different types of commercial projects and bought a Canon 77D from the money I had earned. I still use it as my main gear. My social media was also growing simultaneously, so it motivated me even more. By the time I got a campus placement in 2019, I had already realized that photography was something I want to pursue as a career. So I left that job. Even though I have done more shoots in the commercial space, I am more passionate about street and travel photography. They are the reasons why I started photography in the first place. I feel very comfortable working in these two genres as they come very naturally to me. It was on account of extensive travel and increased social interaction that I grew out of my shy nature. There are people on the streets who are uncomfortable with the idea of getting themselves clicked in a camera. They might get angry or agitated. I have also met people who feel that we are intruding on their privacy while clicking on streets. If someone tells me to delete their pictures, I do that immediately no matter how good the pictures are. Ethics are more important than anything else for me in this aspect. Once I was walking in the streets of Chandni Chowk, Delhi and shot a picture of a person. He was so happy with the pic that he took a selfie with me and shared it with the entire locality. He also took my Instagram ID and shared that picture with many people. Soon I had a lot of unknown strangers from that locality following me on Instagram. When I went back after a few months, so many people recognized me by name and appreciated the pic I had taken. All of them had just one thing to say " bhaiya, aap bahut achchi photos lete ho, apne toh usko famous hi kardiya, ap humari bhi please ek photo lena.” That made me feel like a celebrity. I was so overwhelmed with the way they were treating me. In 2018, when I was shooting the Republic day rehearsal parade, I shot a picture of a navy captain. That picture went viral and it somehow also reached the captain. He contacted me through Instagram and wrote me a long message that he was very grateful that I clicked the picture. These are the perks of being a photographer. You get appreciated and loved by people and that’s what makes it worth all the painstaking efforts. The first six months of the pandemic were tough, both as an artist and commercially. A lot of brands were not working during the pandemic and there were no fashion shoots. I was lucky that I had my savings. Those helped me survive all of it comfortably. Since I am a self-taught photographer, I enjoy clicking things that are as basic as the food that is being cooked at home. It sort of pushes me to make my work more creative and artistic without any props or artificial lights. Pandemic gave me enough time not only to relax & rewind and be productive but also to learn new things like videography. Photography has helped me build connections with a lot of people in the community. Your Network is your Net Worth is the bottom-line of our profession. It is very important to make connections in every art form, as they will help you learn more, as well as get new projects. As a freelance photographer, I believe in taking a few big projects rather than taking a whole lot of small ones. This provides me not only with the financial support but also gives me time to work on my art and enjoy my life. Having said that, I believe in - “The more you shoot, the more you learn” so I keep going out there and start clicking. This helps me explore with my art and gear and helps me evolve every day. Sitting at home and learning the theory will definitely help, but the real learning will only happen out there, when you practice what you have learnt. Keep clicking...

- Aarohan Tiwari

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