Photography came into my life when I had no idea that I had the skills to click pictures. We had planned a mass bunk during my college and it changed my life. That day, I held a camera for the first time and I loved it so much that I didn’t give it to anyone else. Since then, I have never stopped clicking pictures.
With some savings and my dad’s help, I got a professional camera to explore photography at a deeper level and started doing shoots for some brands and influencers which led to my interest in fashion photography. It gave me the independence of controlling everything I could, in my environment which was one of the major differences from all other genres, and that swept me off my feet.
Things were going great and when I finally felt I am doing something good, life had different plans for me. I was coming back from a shoot and had my camera bag with me. I was crossing a crowded area when someone hit my bike, I fell and it took me a few minutes to gain consciousness. By the time I got up, I felt something was missing and I couldn’t find my camera bag. I still remember that sudden panic, I searched it everywhere but couldn’t find it and had to accept that it was stolen. That incident was my first ever rock bottom and I spent 3 months after that wallowing and feeling completely shattered because I couldn't pick myself up from scratch.
A friend of mine came to rescue, she shook me up and told me to stop wasting my time wallowing and start again from scratch. It felt completely impossible and I had my moments of self-doubt and anxiety but, I somehow pulled through within a year and got myself right back up. I started working on small projects and within a year I was on my feet again.
My parents have been supportive but they had their doubts as photography doesn’t have a fixed income. This one time my father saw a photograph along with my name in the Times of India, he didn't have many words but his expressions truly brought me happiness and satisfaction. We have been meeting each other halfway on that road for a few years now, and I think that's great progress. Sooner or later, we will get to the end of the road together.
For the rest of the world, lockdown began in March but due to an accident, I was bedridden since December, when the doctor said I can finally go out, lockdown happened! It was a terrible setback for me both mentally and financially. The only thing that kept me busy through all of this was spending time on the clubhouse and I realized that being an extrovert helped. I spoke to so many people, many of them were artists and it got me thinking of my other options apart from just photography. I started teaching a few people online, charging minimal fees but it kept me going and kept me occupied.
Social media has always been an important part of my photography journey but one day I woke up and I couldn’t find my Instagram account, nor could I access it through my passwords or emails. The panic that I felt at that moment is still inexpressible. My previous Instagram account had all my work from the beginning when I started photography and it got hacked. I tried to reach out to the Instagram officials but due to covid and lockdown, they were understaffed and unfortunately couldn't help me with my issue. After having tried and tested every way possible to retrieve my social presence, I knew that I had to begin again. So well, I did. I made a whole new page and started again from scratch. I lost almost 18-19k followers overnight and that was truly devastating, but you know what they say, ‘when life gives you lemon, you make a lemonade’.
No matter how hard times got, I never lose faith in myself and if I can, you can too! Keep believing in yourself and know that if you are passionate about something, you are going to get there. It's not going to be easy, but keep going. You create your reality, and you create your own life, you just have to trust your instincts and go for it. Leap, take a swing, and soar as high as you can. You are going to get there.
- Ankit Mourya