"Good Ideas Make Good Pictures, Not Good Gear" - Sarang Gupta

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1. Tell us about your background and journey. 

I hail from the city of Jammu in J&k, born in a modest middle-class family, I started preparing to become a Chartered Accountant alongside bachelors in commerce from a govt degree college in Jammu. After completing my graduation and cracking my CPT I realised CA could be my bread and butter but it’s not something that I’ll be able to do for the rest of my life. 

I escalated the issue to my father who after some initial hiccups then agreed upon me choosing a different field which was quite a shock for everyone in the family. After prowling a lot on the internet I jotted down a list of good photography schools in the country and started sending out applications, at last, i was able to get myself enrolled in a photography college in Delhi where I studied documentary photography for a year. 

It’s been 5 years since I am working in the industry as a professional photographer, I have worked with some digital platforms as well as with print mediums like Hindustan Times and Architectural Digest.

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

From taking pictures during family events like birthdays and outings to realising I should or I could do this for living nothing seemed like a conscious decision at any point, I was just doing what I felt like leaving rest to chance. 

Passion is a strong word and it takes a lifetime to realise whether something was your passion or you were just attracted to it because of some external influences. I love taking pictures, it’s the way I associate with the world around me, and I am always at it, is it my passion? I guess I’ll figure it out with time.

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

It’s okay to replicate work but only for learning purposes, never adopt someone else’s style, otherwise, no matter how good you get at it, you’ll always be a replica. Good ideas make good pictures, not good gear. Emotion is the key. Success is not the measure of good work.

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

You need to have an eye that observes the unusual, you either have it or not. It cannot be developed. Best of the photographers in the world have been self-taught not trained.

5. What are various opportunities available for aspiring photographers?

The market is saturating with each passing day, it’s hard to make a decent living as a photographer as the competition has gone off the roof. I’ll not paint a rosy picture, you need both talent and a little bit of luck to make it out there.

6. Which is your favourite book and why?

Letters to a young poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, the book deals with the queries, struggles and a range of emotions that a young artist goes through. It’s a good read.

Interview by - Shamayla

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