"Keep Yourself Inspired." - Priyanka Banerjee

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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

Hi, I’m Priyanka Banerjee. I am from Mumbai and live here with my family. Done my schooling and Junior college here itself. Post that I studied Bachelors in Imaging Science from Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences (SIHS), Pune. I studied Radiology and practiced training on X-Ray and Mammography in hospitals. 

Once I graduated, I got a job in the healthcare corporate industry. First job was at Fujifilm Health, I was there for five years and then I moved to Carestream Heath for about four years. My role at both these organisations was to train doctors and staff in hospitals on how to use medical softwares. The job profile of nine years was interesting, challenging, technologically advanced and I traveled across the country. 

All those years of dedicated hard work, training and extensive travel, I still wanted to do something for myself, I wanted to find my purpose. So after a lot of thinking, I decided to quit my high profile job and follow my passion for photography. At the age of 30, I switched careers, became an entrepreneur and founded my own company “The Memory Album”

Today after three beautiful years, I have a great team of photographers and cinematographers. Currently, we have our clients based in Mumbai and Pune.
At the end of the day, it’s all about following your passion and putting your heart and soul into it. What drives me to work hard everyday and follow my dream is to create beautiful memories that will be cherished forever.

2. How and when did you realise your passion for photography?

I always had an inclination towards photography right since my childhood. I would see my Dad click pictures of the family on his film roll camera and then get them developed at a studio, this is probably when I was 10 years old, I still remember those good old days where I would eagerly wait to see those photos.

As soon as Dad got home with the hard copies, I would sort them and put it all in an album. This small process would give me immense joy. During the 10th grade farewell, my aunt gifted me a hard cover black colour empty album, I stored all the best pictures in it. 

On that album cover I wrote with a glitter pen “My Memory Album” and this is how my company got it’s name. I still have that album and it takes me back to my childhood.

I started clicking pictures at an early age from the roll camera, flip phones, digital camera and now DSLR. I just kept clicking what I saw, be it my family, friends, colleagues, places, animals or even random stuff. Shooting just made me so happy and it still does.

Since I was switching careers, I took a course in photography at FX School and learnt the basics well so I could be ready when I did my first shoot.

3. What are some tips you would like to share with amateur photographers?

- Learn your basics well. Do a course either online or from an academy.

- Keep clicking. It does not matter what camera you have, your point of view matters.

- Stand out from the rest, find out what moves you. Put that energy into your work.

- The more you practice shooting, the better you get at it.

- Keep yourself inspired. Remember why you started shooting and don’t give up.

- Be passionate about your work. This will keep you going even when you feel low. 

- Your work is a reflection of you so don’t compare yourself to others.

4. What are the important skills one should have to be a successful photographer?

- Technical knowledge. Basics should be clear. Know your camera well.

- Creativity. Always think outside of the box.

- Compose your shot well. Focus on your subject.

- Curiosity. Eager to learn more. Always have the fire in your belly to learn.

- Team bonding. Be a supportive team member and create together.

- Learn the knack of networking and marketing your work.

- Learn how to connect with people.

- Be ambitious. Set your goals and work towards it.

- Positive attitude.

5. What are the various opportunities available for aspiring photographers?

There are plenty of opportunities for aspiring photographers. I would suggest before you apply anywhere or approach someone, you must shoot for yourself and build a portfolio. This will help you choose the genre you want to specialise in.

-If you choose fashion then you could start with assisting a professional fashion photographer. Be an intern for a couple of months and learn on the job. 

-If you like to travel, then you could get in touch with a travel company and do landscape and street photography for them.

-If you like interacting with people and the energy at a wedding, there’s wedding photography, intern with a wedding photographer or an events company and again learn on the job.

-If it’s the wild life and the jungle that drives you, then you could assist a wildlife photographer and learn.

6. Which is your favourite book and why?

“The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. This book was given to me by my friend after I returned from a 10 days trip to Spiti Valley. Since I had an exciting and adventurous journey in the mountains, this book was given at the right time and it resonated with me.

This book is about a successful lawyer who quits his job and goes to the mountain for soul searching. He comes back with wisdom and shares it. The wisdom that he gains from the monks basically changes his life and helps him to live his life with passion, purpose, peace and kindness. I would recommend this book to everyone.

My favourite lines from the book are “When you dare to get out of your circle of comfort and explore the unknown, you start to liberate your true human potential. Work hard to improve your mind and body. Nourish your spirit. Do the things you fear. Be the person you dream of being. 

Do the things you have always wanted to do but didn’t because you tricked yourself into believing that you were too young, too old, too rich or too poor. Prepare to live a soaring, fully alive life.”

- Priyanka Banerjee, Founder and Photographer at The Memory Album

- Interviewed by Shilpy Sharan