I have always loved photography from the very beginning. My father owned two high-end analogue cameras, but I never imagined if I would take up photography so seriously. It had always been a hobby, but, later in 2014, I took a basic lesson in photography after being introduced to a photographer who is my close friend. Initially, I used to click birds, landscapes and experimented around macro photography. I grew keen on street photography gradually over time and then started focusing on it even more seriously around 2017. Later on, I took a small course in photography and learned about editing software. Taking that course helped me understand the complex technicalities of cameras, and editing properly. That was a good start to my photography career.
One of my first trips that I took as a photographer was to Talsari, a small coastal region near Kolkata. The main photographic attraction here is the fisherman’s colony and I had documented their life and their daily activities because it's so interesting to watch how they go about their life, and are so invested in it, and happy. For travelers, it's heaven, but for photographers it's like a chocolate factory. One can never feel enough. We went there with a group of photographers and I learnt a lot from them since I was still just a novice and I had the time of my life, and I enjoyed myself to the fullest and felt so alive. I hope I can go there again sometime.
I prefer street photography because it is more challenging and it involves more storytelling. It's a very observant genre, and involves a lot of determination. It requires me to be 100% creative and I think that is something I love about it.
As I grew in the field, my work started publishing in different platforms and all of my achievements are very dear to me, and I value each and every one of them. However, two of my greatest achievements were in 2019, when I won the 1st place award in Street Photography International and when I was chosen as a contributor photographer for National Geographic Your Shot. I was traveling to Purulia, it's a small district in West Bengal, and that trip was extremely memorable for me since a photograph I took of “Chhau dance” from that trip got featured in The National Geographic Your Shot segment on their website in 2016, and then later in The National Geographic Traveler Magazine in 2017. This was the most unexpected thing to happen to me at the time, and that left me shook because I had just started my career off and this was a huge break for me. This was one of the proudest moments of my career, and also one of the most memorable. This honor motivated me to such an extent that I have reached where I am today.
Photography made me patient and observant. I learned to value art in general as well as other artists even more than I did before. Being an artist, I feel the real struggle and I get the amount of determination it takes for people to serve their art. It also helped me become good at time management. It has taught me a lot of organization and how I can easily manage my work life and keep a balance too. Photography is an inspiration for me, everyday of my life.
- Sarmistha Bera
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