October 13th 2006, that’s one Friday which I’ll never forget in my life. A year later, I see that today happens to be a small milestone for me. I will be completing one year of my life as a ‘photojournalist’. Last year on that fateful Friday I bid farewell to the Corporate world and IT industry. And on the very next day I began my tryst with serious photojournalism. As the days progressed, my bank balance began to recede, my patience swung like a pendulum (my dad’s patience… don’t even ask about it!). There were nights I couldn’t sleep. On the positive side, my confidence increased slowly as time went by.
My experiments with camera taught me something new every time when I had to shell out money in getting negatives developed, scanned and printed. Oh, I forgot to tell you something! I never had a DSLR camera then(Even today I don’t really own one. My company has given a beauty for me to use). I had borrowed my friend’s(Srikar) Film SLR to practice the craft. I swapped his Canon SLR with my Fuji digital camera for few days, which finally stretched to few months. Then, for a while I got Obi’s(another friend ) Canon 350D to do some minor assignments.
Those days, I spent my time on the streets of Bangalore shooting life around it. I am grateful to the narrow lanes and alleys of Shivajinagar,Avenue road, and the timeless Russel market, and not to forget my hometown Kaup, which have let me indulge completely in the art of photography. Three hundred and sixty five days later, after shooting for NGOs, online magazines, in-flight magazines and few portraits, I have come to be part of a newspaper ( Bangalore Mirror). I have been a press photographer for last eight months.
When I look back I see that I have travelled quite a distance in a short while. Last month, I got to cover my first major Cricket assignment. I actually covered the India – Australia ODI (One Day International) match held at Bangalore:-) [Can you believe it?]. Next day , I saw my photographs in the lead sports page of our newspaper. Oh boy, what a feeling it was to be watching a cricket match(for free!) from the boundary lines, capturing the action in camera and then tirelessly editing pictures, captioning them and mailing them back to the desk on a laptop with WiFi Internet access. You had to be there to know exactly what it felt like. Next day, I got a pat on my back from many people for the pictures I had made during the match(I’ll blog them shortly). I am looking forward for more of sports assignments. How many of you gave me a chance that I’d be handling such an assignment with in a year of having started my life from scratch? To be frank, I myself had no clue that I’d reach this milestone in a short time.
Today, as I woke up early, I was wondering how would I celebrate tomorrow. But, as unpredictable a day in the life of a photojournalist can get, I had something wonderful in store for me. I had to visit Bannerghatta Biological Park‘s Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre(WRRC) on an assignment. The story was to cover the WRRC‘s first attempt to breed a Tigres with a wild tiger to bring in its wild genes to give birth to healthy offspring. This was a successful attempt. Today, Manasa the tigress has three healthy cubs. It was a beauty to photograph the Tiger cubs. And, finally came the moment when I decided to hold one of the cubs. I picked this little one (too heavy to be called little one) and it felt like carrying a two year old kid. I never thought I’d kiss a Tiger’s forehead. But, Yippee! it was too cute for me not to do it. Here, I share one of the photographs which I clicked on this shoot along with a picture of me carrying the cub(thank Niranjan for photographing me). I love my job. I feel I have the best job in this world (apart from the Zoo keepers at WRRC who are doing some great work)
I thank everyone who has been part of this journey of mine as a photographer. I thank my family and all the old friends who have stood by me and have supported me as I went about doing what I liked the most. Many thanks to all the photographers who I’ve met along the way and who have not hesitated to share with me a lot of valuable information and experience. And finally, I thank all the people in the field of journalism, whom I got to meet at some point of the time or the other; they have made my life really exciting, either by contributing to my growth as a photojournalist or by just having been part my life. I’ve made few friends, I’ve lost few, went bankrupt for a while, faced tough times but I’ve come through. And, I dream of going the long way. I’ve made a promise to myself long back. I shall live up to it.
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