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FO2 Stage | Dharak Pandit

by Team FO2, 23 Jun 2023

Photography wasn't my first choice, nor was it my second. Like every other above average student I was preparing for IIT right after school when one of my professors saw my sketches and encouraged me to pursue architecture instead. As an individual who was still figuring out my passion and my journey, I took up that advice and joined MSU in Vadodara to study architecture. As fate would have it, I met with an accident in the first year that dislocated my shoulder and I had to drop out to heal. It was during this gap year that I stumbled upon photography and discovered my love for it. I convinced my dad to buy me a starter’s camera kit and roughly prepared a portfolio through which I could apply for the Fashion Communication program at NIFT. 

My admission to NIFT has changed everything. It honed my skills and fed my passion. I was never this person I am right now, I was more like black and white, right or wrong - binary. In terms of my photography I always used to think of pictures as right or wrong. It was under the mentorship of Mr. Vishal Mehta, a faculty at NIFT, that I discovered the grays in my work. He challenged me with every assignment I was assigned and made me question the way I used to think of photography in general. His influence made me realize that photography could be more than a visual documentation; it could be a form of storytelling, of expression, of perception. I wouldn't say it was an easy path refiguring something I thought I had already figured out, but it led to a more evolved, creative, and contextual work. In order to further my love for photography I set up NIFT’s first photography club and taught photography to numerous students from all departments. 

After my graduation, I started freelancing. I have had the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in the industry like Manish Arora, Amit Aggarwal, and fabIndia. Through numerous experiences, entrepreneurial adventures, and clients spanning more than 5 countries I have dedicated myself to constantly updating and improving my skill set. 

Within a year me and a couple of my friends started our own digital marketing firm, focusing on marketing as well as content curation. But as fate would have it, there came covid and our main work of content curation became stand still. We decided to close the shop and move on. 

Today, I have realized how creative I can be and I want to be called an artist much more than a photographer because I create something through my creative process in every picture and that’s why people remember me as ‘The Guy with overly edited pictures’. 

- Dharak Pandit

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