"The Most Powerful Weapon Is Instilling Emotion With Imagery" - Suzana Mariam John

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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I’m a chemical engineering student from VNIT Nagpur. I’m from Kerala, raised in Dubai and currently living in Nagpur. My journey started midway into pursuing engineering in college. I truly understood that this degree isn’t going to give me the satisfaction or happiness that I want.

College made me understand that academics aren’t the crux of everything. That’s how I started my journey as a graphic designer/photographer. And how did I start my journey? Of course, by starting an Instagram page to display what I do.

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

I’ve always been interested in photography and photo manipulation. However, it all started in 9th grade when my dad bought a DSLR camera for himself.

Fortunately, I got to use it more than him as I was able to figure out how to use the ‘manual’ mode way before him. That’s when he himself realised that I was into photography and let me keep the camera for myself! I constantly went about taking pictures, but never really documented it because I was just enjoying the process.

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

The whole process of taking a photo doesn’t end after you click a picture. It is important you go into post-production as well. Learn software programs like Lightroom and SnapSeed. Sometimes, even Photoshop is super useful as you can make pictures beyond the scope of a camera.

Also, you don’t even need to have a DSLR to pursue photograph! I’ve taken some beautiful pictures with my iPhone camera as well. It really depends on how you view the world.

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

Like I mentioned before, it doesn’t end with just clicking a picture. You have to learn the various processes that come after it. The best part about pursuing photography is that you don’t need a skill set per se. People hire photographers for their vision.

Some of the best photographs aren’t even taken by photographers. Sometimes, you see a moment, and you know that moment is worth something. All you gotta do is capture it in the most unique way.

5. What are various opportunities available for aspiring photographers?

It takes a lot of experience to get hired specifically. However, you can’t tell which picture will really click with the audience. Sometimes the first picture you take will go viral. It’s really a shot into the dark. Just keep taking pictures and experimenting! Opportunities will come to YOU.

6. Which is your favourite book and why?

I’d say it would be ‘A thousand splendid suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. What strikes me about that book is the beautiful imagery that he leaves in our mind with his narrative. The way he’s written helps you get a visual picture of Kabul in your mind. And I think that is one of the most powerful weapons. Instilling emotion with the help of imagery.

Interview by - Sonam

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