Auditory Images5 min read
Young and upcoming shutterbug, Auditya Venkatesh is a storming professional photographer who chose his passion for the lens over Chartered Accountancy. His four year old Facebook page Audi Photography has become a sensation for aspiring photographers. A self-taught photographer from Bangalore who enjoys documenting his travels, TMJ managed to catch up with him while he was in Manipal.
Excerpts from the interview:
You said that you have no formal training in photography, so what got you interested in it in the first place? Does this ever prove to be a disadvantage in terms of competition with other photographers?
My parents could afford the sending me for professional training but I did not see the value in spending 40 lakh for it. My learning curve has mostly been through information available online and wherever I struggled, I approached established photographers and they advised on areas I could improve myself. It has never been a disadvantage for me neither has it been the deciding point of me getting an assignment. My work is what interests them and if I am able to deliver that for them then they have no problem.
Does theory in photography help in better execution?
Absolutely. Merely knowing how to click pictures is not enough. It’s important to know how photography works, how the image is captured, the limitations of your camera, the technical aspects, to know those things and to apply and manipulate them to your advantage is what makes your work stand out. It helps you capture what you see, the way you want to, in the best way possible. That is the only thing about photography you can learn because, eventually it comes down to how you want to tell your story and that, as an art, has no wrong or right way.
You collaborated with Make a Difference (MAD) where you organized a photography workshop and also documented their work across the country. How was the experience?
I think working with MAD has been the best experience for me till date. Not only did I get to travel across 13 different cities but I also met youth who volunteer to make this country a better place by helping underprivileged children. It was extremely incredible and powerful to see so many people from across the country making time for a cause like this. Working with the kids was an extremely interesting experiment for me. At times, I gave them the camera to click pictures. The children did not have any preconceived notion about their surroundings, they approached everything with a fresh mind and this difference in perspective reflected in the type of pictures they clicked.
How is traditional photography different from modern digital photography?
I think we are really lucky to be in the digital age because, when we are learning, we get to make more mistakes and undergo trial and error without wasting any films. It gives you the flexibility to view your image as you had clicked it, on the screen, so you would know where you have gone wrong. But you have to draw a line somewhere, just because it’s a digital camera it doesn’t mean that you go overboard and click whatever you see, because what traditional/film photography taught us was discipline. When you knew you had just 36 rolls in your camera you had to be careful of what you shot and you wouldn’t know until the film developed if your pictures are good enough. To follow that discipline with your digital camera would be a perfect blend of traditional and modern photography.
How is mobile photography defining the current trends of photography today?
Mobile photography has never been more active as it is nowadays. Smartphones have really revolutionized photography packing so much imaging power in our pockets. When you are out and you want to capture something immediately, the camera you have on your phone is the best you’ve got. They are especially important for me because I use them as a medium to break my mould. Having limited features in your phone makes you utilise its features in the best way possible. You have to shoot with what you have and this in my opinion makes you an even better photographer.
What is the hardest part of being a photographer today?
The hardest pat for me is to break my mould. To revisit places and each time capture the place in a different way and have a different story to tell, to capture something that usually goes unseen.
Do you think editing pictures forsakes the integrity of photography?
No I don’t think so. I believe these are tools that have been given to us for us to improve our art. Before one would do it in the dark room, now on does it in Lightroom. You have to understand that the cameras we use, no matter how good they are, are still limited, be the dynamic range, the way they produce colours or their detail capturing ability. Processing these images is a way of overcoming that. The most important factor is how the image looks inside your head. If you are looking at a monument you do not care about its surroundings, you look at just the monument, but when you click a picture of it everything around the object gets captured as well. So you use that processing to bridge the gap between the images in your mind to the limitations of your camera.
So what is your advice for the youth who are trying to get into professional photography?
One of the hardest things when you start out is to find acceptance among people and to get them to like and appreciate your work. You should not do something you are not interested in, just to win the approval of people. That is where a lot of talent gets lost. By being true to yourself you are capable of doing so much more.