Skill Highlight: Documentary Photographer
A story behind one member’s passion to learn a new skill and how it has changed his life forever. His love for life combined with his wonderful gift of photography, now serves a purpose of catching moments in time through his lens. From the very beginning he knew he wanted to be a photographer and to rise above the ordinary. With his work now being exhibited for the first time last month at the Guardian Gallery in London as part of ‘Insider, Outsider’ he is surely bound for great things.
We caught up with Shankar Sarkar a documentary photographer, to see where he found his passion for photography.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in a village of central India. Due to financial problems in my family, I was not presented with opportunities that other children get and had to drop out of school at a young age. As I live in an area where sex work is practiced I knew I wanted something more with my life.
How and when did you start photography?
It began when UNICEF worker Suvendu Chatterjee ran a project and parted his knowledge of photography to underprivileged children from different parts of Kolkata. The project ended after three years, but I had, by that time, set my heart and soul in the pursuit of photography. I thereafter joined Drik India an award winning media agency based in Kolkata. Today, my life revolves around photography, my passion and profession. At the moment, in Drik India I’m working as an in-house photographer as well as a photo-developer, and maintaining the photo library.
Is photography your full job or more of a hobby?
I’m currently working full time with Drik India, a media organization based in Kolkata. Like all photographers it’s now part of my life and I carry my camera everywhere to ensure that I do not miss any photo opportunities!
How would you describe your creative process?
One of the most important aspects of documentary photography I think is having a good concept. I try and think of ideas for the story that need no explanation and can be clearly understood by anyone. Motivation for a good concept can come from anywhere so I keep my eyes open for ideas to come and find me.
Who has been most influential in your skill?
I have found many inspirations and discovered lots of styles of photography from the internet. Some of which has inspired me to try new approaches to my own photography. But I would have not taken up photography if it wasn’t for the UNICEF project which gave me the courage and knowledge to follow my dreams!
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Drik India has a photography book library, and if I need somewhere to relax that’s where I would go to read about the great masters of photography.
Where does your inspiration come from?
It’s absolutely from everywhere. Anything that catches attention, draws out emotion, sparks curiosity, or simply appeals to a sense of beauty. To me the world looks more interesting and overall just better through a lens.
Is most of your business generated online or is it more word of mouth?
Both, depending on the given situations, but online access helps me and the organization I work for in acquiring business at whatever scale it might be.
Apart from photography, what new skills would you like to learn?
I would love to study multimedia as I feel it would give me more opportunities to develop my knowledge and creative side to photography.
Thanks Shankar for sharing your story!
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Posted on August 8, 2012, in Skill Highlight and tagged documentary photographer, guardian gallery, kolkata, shankar sarkar, unicef. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Skill Highlight: Documentary Photographer.