Through the lens’ eye
Amit Pasricha is famous for his panoramas and has authored several books that tell stories that are a work of powerful lens and a discerning eye. Winner of Indian Tourism award 2008 & 2010, he is living the legacy passed on to him by his father and grandfather, both well-known photographers. ACF spoke to the lensmaster on his rich body of work and journey
Photographs as an extension of one’s personality
While pursuing photography you have to stick it out on your own, so your personality becomes that of someone who strives on his own, lives inside his head, creates from within and does not rely on group purposes to further his cause. And of course, you have to be a dreamer. If you are able to match these parameters, then somewhere you can be an artist. Not just a photographer but a person who creates something new and lasting.
The photography scene as it exists
Things have changed dramatically from what they were when I started. The number of people wanting to be photographers today has increased 100 folds, if not more. There is easy availability of information for everyone, as also access to technology. Everyone has their laptops, the software(s) and, if not their camera, then their phones. It’s almost like photography has been reborn as a new world language, one that can transcend boundaries in a split second. But with all new languages, it first has to be studied and therein lies the learning for budding photographers – there is no substitute for hard work.
Panorama as the most important part of his photography
It all started when I wanted to portray what life as I experienced it – a seamless world, a much wider vision than what the camera viewfinder could show inside of it, a world in constant correlation, and added to that a world with a sense of continuity, one moment leading to the next… fortunately for me, the technology of the panorama allowed me that vision. Speaking about which, my next book India at Home which comes out this fall does not even have a rectangular order to the picture. It’s sort of bulbous, for the simple reason it comes closer to the way the eyes see the world. A panorama to me constitute a philosophy, a way of being and this thing about collapsing time perfectly reflects the way I see the world.
On being the third generation to take to photography
Growing under a photographer and having a grandfather run a photo studio obviously meant that you were sensitised at a very early age and could understand the difference between a good and a bad picture pretty early on in life. Having said that photography isn’t a business that can be handed over. I don’t know of anyone else who is a third generation photographer and it’s perhaps a very tiny community.
Photographers who inspire
There really have been no strong influences but yes there have been some amazing photographers, who gave us works that made one sit up and take notice — Henri Cartier-Bresson, for one. Then, of course, we have the very famous New York photographer Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Also, Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh to a certain degree.
On winning the Indian Tourism award and the German Photo Book Award in 2008/2010/2014
This Tourism awards was for books. Both Monumental India and Sacred India won the awards. The Sacred India also won the German Photobook Award which was formerly the Kodak award.
Advice to the upcoming photographers
The first thing you got to learn is that you can’t rush things. It’s not just about what makes a good frame. It’s about who you are, how you respond to the society and what is your connect with the situations around you. And most important, what is it that you are looking for and what inspires you. All these are questions that you cannot find answers to in a single day. Take your time.
Two, photography is not an easy profession. You have got to strive and strike a balance between commercial and creative work. A lot of photographers are jumping into weddings these days, because there is a lot of money there. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I’ve shot a few weddings myself and I find them to be good fun. The key is to not get sucked into it at the expense of personal growth. Pick up subjects that are important to you and carry them through. Get your portfolio critiqued and be ready to show what you consider to be your personal best to the world.
Finally, be your own photo-editor which is by far the hardest job you can do and will clearly help you ‘feel’ your drawbacks even if you can’t rationalize them.