Sara Wadhwa was only 17 when we at artculturefestival first interviewed her. She was showing her photographs for the very first time to the world. Now, a 19-year-old, Sara is back with her second exhibition – Lehgato, that showcases a selection of pictures that she clicked during a recent trip to Leh-Ladakh.
Through Lehgato, she establishes a connection between her past work and her continued relationship with photography as a medium of expression. In her own way, Sara uses these pictures to reflect on the changes in her life and the experiences she has had since her last exhibition.
Can you share the significance of your exhibition title “Lehgato”?
“Lehgato” without the letter ‘H’ means to continue. I think this exhibition was a way to continue my photography. After I moved to college, for last one year I did not have time to click photographs. So, recently I got a chance to visit Leh where I explored my photography again. It was such an enriching experience for me and I could continue with my photography. This is why I have named my exhibition- Lehgato.
What made you go to Leh-Ladakh?
I always wanted to visit Leh. Somewhere I heard that it’s a photographer paradise. So, I wanted to experience this and luckily I could. Another aspect which fascinated me towards Leh was that how were the people living there surviving the extreme winter season.
I have heard that in Leh Ladakh every frame conveys a different story; can you please share some of your stories with us?
We were going to Pangong Lake and it’s a six hour road journey. In between there are very few places where you can stopover. Even the roads were in a bad condition. When we reached the lake the entire struggle we had was worth the scenery. It was a breathtaking view for me.
At the age of 19 you’ve covered Leh Ladakh. What are the other places in India as well as abroad you would like to visit from a perspective of a photographer?
My dream destination would be Austria. I would love to go there for a longer period of time. I would also like to explore Spain because the kind of portrait photographs I would get there, I don’t think it’s possible anywhere else. In India I would like to visit Bengal.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I learn through trial and errors. I have been able to see what mistakes I have been making and how I can fix them. I make a conscious effort of not repeating those same mistakes again and deliver the best possible photograph. I learn from other professional photographers as well and analyze their different techniques with the camera.
Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
I want my photographs to convey the feeling which comes to me naturally while capturing the subject. I try to recreate the moment and my experience. So, that anyone who sees the photograph is able to realize my vision in it.
Can you briefly explain your experience as an official videographer for Dalai Lama?
I think that was one of the best experiences of my life. I shadowed Dalai Lama for a day at the Lotus Temple. I got to watch him speak to the public and attend the prayer service which happens at the temple. He has an aura which makes you feel that everything is good in the world. I had a short conversation with him that answered a lot of my questions. I feel fortunate that I could spend some amount of time with him.
What would be some tips you would give to a beginning photographer?
I would say that they should try to carve their unique path and not try to do what has already been done. They should not stop themselves of doing something new just because nobody has done it before. If they are not limited by other people experiences and dare to do new things, I am sure they could achieve a new height of success.
Is there something you always ask to yourself/think before pressing the button?
I always ask myself if the picture I am going to click will convey a sense of hope or happiness. If the answer is yes, I push the button.
Watch the interview with this talented photographer