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FO2 STAGE | Sowmya Mense

by Team FO2, 24 Jun 2023

Telling a story with many instances of a decade-long career is hard, but the journey has been fulfilling and made me experience things I would never have if not for photography. My family has been the greatest support, especially my father and husband, who never let me hold back and helped me choose my passion every single day! In a conventional conservative society, it helped me break norms, and the people I love came through whenever I needed support.

I started my career when studios shot weddings, there was no sign of candid pictures whatsoever, and female photographers were minuscule in number. I jumped into the photography industry purely out of passion & emotional connection with the art. 

I was born & raised in Bengaluru. After completing my education, I started my professional career with a job in the IT sector that was meekly paid, but I liked working, so I continued. All this while, I have been in love with capturing moments, and after working for many years, I bought my first camera with my savings. I loved capturing moments, but I never thought about becoming a photographer before purchasing a camera. Even after buying it, I used to pursue photography as a hobby for a long time.

Sometime later, I got an opportunity to shoot a friend's wedding; who would have thought it would be a breakthrough? Even though I was open to exploring more genres when I was a hobby photographer, the emotions and vibe weddings held swept me off my feet! I fell in love doing this kind of photography, surrounded by a bundle of emotions. That time I knew I'd found a home in this photography journey.

Even though I was never unsatisfied with my job in the IT sector, my love for photography grew, and I decided to leave the job & pursue my passion for photography as a full-time career. When I started doing wedding photography, candid shots were making place in the market, and being from Bengaluru & working here helped me a lot. Bengaluru was evolving, and people's ideology was reforming for the better, and it eased my journey a little.

As I had no team back then and equipment was heavier than today, my father became my biggest supporter and used to accompany me to weddings. We used to carry all the equipment on a two-wheeler to the venue, and he stayed there to help me for the wedding. My dad was my first partner in this journey of photography.

During breaks, I used to travel, and I met my husband for the first time on a photography trip to Hampi. It wasn't love at first sight, but in real life, it is hardly ever. We got to know each other, shared a love for the art of photography, fell in love, and got married. He doesn't do photography more than a hobby but takes lovely pictures and supports me in every way he can.

Every woman thinks that her life will change after marriage, and they won't be able to pursue what they love due to societal pressure, family pressure, and whatnot! In my case, it was the opposite; after I got married, my in-laws became significant support. I consider myself to be lucky to have such a fantastic family who was always there for me to support me in running my passion-driven business and turning it into what it is today.

Until 2010, I was fully immersed in wedding photography, and since I worked for a long time, most of the people in the industry knew me. Then, one fine day, I got an offer from one of the biggest photography brands to be a mentor. I was overwhelmed and excited. I accepted the offer as it was a big opportunity, and I always wanted to inspire more female photographers to become a part of this industry. So I grabbed this opportunity to share my knowledge and experience through workshops with enthusiastic budding photographers. I have taken many workshops, most of them being only for female photographers to make their journey a little easier. To take a step further, I recently opened my own studio space, which is one of the most significant milestones in this journey. From doing all the work myself to getting a team, to finally having a space I have once dreamt about, it has been full of experiences.  

We also have a son who is eight years old, and he also loves experimenting with cameras and tries to take photos. He still has a long way to go but seeing him in love with photography makes me feel so happy that my passion & love has passed down to my son.

Even though I started my journey through weddings, I got myself into lifestyle portraits involving maternity, baby, family portraits, and much more. Even though I have expanded my horizon, one thing that remains constant is my love for capturing raw emotions. All this passion and emotions make my work turn out to be so beautiful. I don't click to capture moments; I relate to capturing emotions, which helped me stand apart in this industry for over a decade, and I still have a long way to go. 

- Sowmya Mense

Follow Sowmya's work on Instagram: https://instagram.com/sowmyaphotography?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Written by: Harshita Sharma & Vinay Matre
Interview by : Aman Uttam

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