Anindo Basu: Freelance Photographer, Nikon India

- Shubhi Jain, Soham Majumdar, Koushal Devabhaktuni , Journal Club



What is it that attracts you towards photography?

The first thing that attracts me towards photography is the essence of what I can capture. Everything can be made beautiful with a camera.

How did you realize that photography was your passion?

I once watched a Nat Geo documentary. It made me feel like this was something that Iíve always wanted to do. I was fascinated by the shots and the risks. From that day onwards Iíve been into photography. I did a few courses and devoted my time and effort towards it. And now, Iím here with Nikon.

What risks do you mean, in specific?

The obvious risks from venturing into the wild. In India, however, the biggest is your parents(laughs). They will be the first ones to rain down a barrage of questions on you. Once youíre past that, the animals of the wild wonít really scare you anymore.

What was your parentsí reaction when they found out that you wanted to pursue Photography as a passion?

They wanted to disown me, of course. They didnít, even in the wildest of their dreams, think that I would do something as ďridiculousĒ. However, once they realized how passionate I was, they changed their mind and supported me. I donít think Iíd be where I am today, if it werenít for them. Iím sure all of our parents react that way. But, if you show them how much you love your art, Iím pretty sure every parent will come to terms with it.

What exactly goes through your mind before you take a photograph? Things like composition and other aspects of photography?

I think about the moment. The essence of the moment. It needs to be something extraordinary. Itís what runs through my mind first. The composition comes way later.

Sometimes the view looks magnificent to the human eye. When you try to shoot it with a camera, however, it doesnít seem as special. How do you tackle a situation such as this?

It may seem ordinary because the camera had not been configured properly or because the perspective isnít the same. I believe that with the right equipment and skillset, any image that you can see can be captured and improved upon with a camera.

How did you come to like biking?

Itís something that I began to show interest in, well after my exposure to photography. Photography helped me in opening up to people, to converse with new people with ease. It helped me discover another aspect to life. The interest in travel stemmed from there. I did not want to limit myself. I wanted to travel on my own terms. I did not want to wait for buses and public transport. Biking was the ideal solution. My love for it has only grown since.

You were in a college when you decided to switch careers. Any tips you can give to enthusiasts at BITS?

I was doing the second year of my BBA. My thoughts used to migrate towards how I could take pictures, frame better images and so on. I donít know about tips, but all I can say is that if you are sure that you have a passion towards something, concentrate on it but it doesnít have to mean that you can neglect your studies. It is so much better to complete you degree and then you will have all the time in the world to pursue your true passion and turn into your profession.
Itís never too late. I know of people who switched professions at the age of 40 also, because they couldnít do it earlier. Age is just a number. It may make things difficult, but itís not impossible. Like Atul Kasbekar and Latika ramaswami.

Wouldnít you say that takes a lot of guts?

Well, yes. Coming to engineering also takes a lot of guts. We never hesitated in doing that. Why stop when itís something that you actually love?

How is photography, as a career, in India?

I think itís much better than it used to be. Right now, itís only wedding and fashion photography that has mainstream attention. But wildlife and other forms are on the rise. Iíd say it is succeeding in giving people a satisfactory livelihood.

How often do you travel?

I travel at least four times a week to different cities. I live in Kolkata.

Four times a week?! Isnít that overwhelming?

I carry my camera everywhere I go and ensure that I devote some time in every city to taking some photos. I think, taking time out in the middle of work or making use of the unexpected moments is what gives us the best of images.

Would you say that good cameras/equipment is a necessity to take good photographs?

Good cameras? Yes. Some moments can only be captured with a good FPS, ISO or a higher shutter speed. Iíd suggest that a DSLR is at least required to ensure that you arenít limited in your photography.

Suppose someone wanted to pursue wildlife photography. What kind of tips would you like to give them?

Understand your camera. Understand wildlife. How and why and at which times animals come out; take rest and not move. And of course, when to move away from the animal if it is aggravated. Iíd say that it is absolutely essential for any budding wildlife photography enthusiast to cover all these in extensive research: the camera, the sanctuaries, and the wildlife.

What other advice would you like to give to us?

Everyoneís doing different genres of photography, everyone has their own specific field of interest. People will have difference of opinions, like which lens will better suit the moment or which angle will be ideal. You will research upon which is better, and this is how knowledge grows. And also, keep on calling Nikon for workshops. Weíd love to come here again and hold advanced workshops. People are very enthusiastic here.

PC: Department of Photography, BITS HYD