Pursuing photography was a challenge back in 2012. I loved traveling and I clicked pictures with my small digital camera everywhere I went. But as I belonged to a middle-class family, going on frequent holiday trips was a luxury. So, to quench my thirst to travel, I clicked pictures I used to save up and go on small trips. I found Buddhist monasteries exceptional and it made me explore the mountains a lot. While doing so, I have also participated in Nat Geo Your Shot and documented different life stories of India showing Indian culture and much more.
Making travel documentaries and meeting new people has always been my favorite thing to do. I have travelled to many places as a travel photographer but I have never seen a more mesmerizing place like Shrikhand Mahadev. The peak is at 17,000 feet, and the journey to get there has given me the most precious of memories. There is another place I get to explore as a documentary photographer, and that is Pushkar. I go there frequently not only to travel the city but also to meet the most amazing people. Travelling has evolved me a lot as a person and no matter what else I do, clicking travel photographs and street portraits will always be my priority.
During college, I spent most of my time travelling. I decided that I want to do something other than the conventional form of a job as academics were not my forte. Photography was my passion, but back then I was also interested in music. After finishing my degree in music, I realized that music is not something which I can continue for long. Since then, I started taking photography more seriously and in 2015, I started collaborating with directors and other photographers to gather knowledge and experience. After a year, I managed to convince my parents to buy me a DSLR camera and started covering music concerts. Along with that, I did portrait shoots which fascinated me a lot.
I gradually made a good rapport with Punjabi and Indie singers while clicking photographs for them in concerts. My work caught the eyes of different celebrity managers and got the chance to cover concerts for Honey Singh and Siddhu Moosewala. I shot & directed multiple music videos for Indie artists and got opportunities to do wedding photoshoots as well.
Most Punjabis love extravagant weddings, and so the wedding photography industry is always booming in Chandigarh. I started working with different photographers as a freelancer to learn and finally, in 2018, I started my own company, Grove Films with a group of talented photographers and editors. We are able to take jobs from diverse industries.
Gradually, my interest started to grow in filmmaking and I started going to workshops and film festivals to understand it better and honed my skills as a filmmaker too. Now, I frequently direct and shoot travel documentaries for different projects and music videos for multiple artists.
While managing the company I continued traveling as it has always been my priority. Things were going smoothly but during the lockdown, the situation was not so stable and not being able to go outside the house was a nightmare for me. Furthermore, I also lost a bit of financial stability due to the lack of projects. Somehow, I managed to keep myself steady at that time and now I’m quite stable as the industry has grown a bit since the second wave.
The photography industry has changed a lot since I started out professionally. Companies and agencies want to see published work for the photographer before hiring. Photographers who want to start off now should be prepared for it and just love whatever you are working on and work with passion. Ultimately, you’ll achieve your goals.
- Abhi Grover