I think that the difference between an artist and anyone else is that an artist always chooses to step outside the box they grew up in. As I am from a small town, I saw how the ideas and views of the people around me are limited. They chose not to accept the things that were beyond their idea of normal. I started with mobile photography, and I loved taking my own portraits. My main motivation for taking pictures was editing the photos on my phone afterwards. This passion of mine was not taken lightly by my family and neighbors at that time. I was criticized and scolded constantly by them, but my bond with photography and editing was tough to break.
After my 12th exam, I decided that I had to go outside my comfort zone and explore the outside world. So, I left Shyamgarh for Indore to study hardware networking. I learned so much while living in Indore. I learned how to sustain myself and the worth of money. I did not take money from my parents; instead, I got a job. I had to restrain what I ate and where I went. In between all of these, I never stopped clicking and editing pictures. I somehow upgraded my phone to a newer model which helped me click even better photos.
My first gig was a baby shoot, and I got it in 2016. I met a person in Shyamgarh who is now a well-known cameraman, and he gave me a few contacts. I still remember how my heart was racing when I met the client with my friend. Fortunately, my friend tutored me on how to talk to the client, and I got the job. I realized that day how important it is to speak in a more organized and polished way.
Working as a child photographer under my brand name Little Creations taught me to an extent how to talk to clients. The challenge came when I had to assemble a team for a wedding shoot. Looking back on my journey as a photographer, I now realize that I had some good friends to guide me and help me. In my first wedding shoot, a photographer friend of mine helped me assemble a team for the wedding shoot. Everything went well, and our shoot was successful. The real drama began on our trip back home. My career as a photographer could have ended right at its beginning. One of my team members stole the hard disk containing the pictures of the wedding. I was shattered and hopeless. But what happened afterwards shows that humanity still retains its compassion and kindness. The rogue member took the hard disk to an editor, who saw the Little Creations logo on the photos. He immediately contacted me, and I was fortunate enough to get the photos back, which saved my career.
My journey from Shyamgarh started as a little 17 or 18-year old whose eyes gleamed with dreams. Now, as a much older person, I realize that I have achieved quite a lot of that dream, and I’m yet to reach new heights. In all these years, I’ve never learned photography. My experience as a mobile photographer helped me a lot to understand the basics of photography. The funny part is, in the age of high-end PCs, I still use my phone most of the time to edit my photos. There is a competition organized in West Bengal where almost 1,00,000 people participate. In 2018, the former mobile photographer with no basic education in photography came in second in that group. I consider this an achievement for me and a sign that I’m on the right path.
My passion for editing photos has been there since my days as a mobile photographer, which has earned me international recognition today. In the first lockdown, I took a picture of a cat and morphed the picture. After I posted the photo on Instagram, it got shared by multiple Instagram pages. On one of those pages was a famous page with global outreach, and I was the first Indian whose photo was featured on their Instagram page. All these small achievements make me believe that I am an artist. I understood that if one is persistent and determined, they can find success in anything they want.
I started with nothing but passion and now I’m taking care of the expenses of my whole family. All these ups and downs shaped me into the photographer I am today. Photography has taught me a lot of things and I don’t think I can ever give up on it. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who supported my passion which helped me achieve my goals.
- Ketan Vishwakarma
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