Maitreyi More - Try Not to Go With the Trends. Try to Stand Apart. Create Your Own Identity Through Your Work (Photographer)

Instagram - @mikegasm_

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I’ve been born and brought up in a family of artists. My dad is a BFA topper from J. J School of Arts (Mumbai University) and my uncles are artists and photographers respectively. I’ve always been surrounded by art and artists and it grew my knowledge, interest and passion for art overall. 

Since childhood, I had this thought in my mind that whatever I do in the future, I want to end up being an artist. I kept following what my heart wanted. I’ve been into dancing as well. I've been trained in Bharatanatyam for 13 years now. I have always been the artsy kid and I believe that I still am one. 

I’ve always had a camera with me wherever I went and that developed slowly into what I am now. I started photography with black and white portraits, photo manipulations and now I am pursuing fashion photography, surrealism and portraits. 

My journey has been a learning process overall. I did my 1st professional shoot in 2016 and then there was no stopping. I always wanted to do something else. I think photography made that vision clear. It made me more confident about myself and helped me believe that I am something.

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

As mentioned earlier I’ve always been into arts, crafts and photography and I’ve always been the artsy kid. I have a special place for movies in my heart and movies inspire me a lot every day. Thus, I got attracted to the visuals and stills and started working around it. 

Every movie I watch is a lesson for me. I learn something new from every movie I watch. I take something from it and I become a part of it. Movies give us a taste of emotion from the other side of the screen and so do photographs. I love clicking pictures of people. 

They are always a mystery; they always have a story to tell. When I started photography, I started capturing portraits. Portraits are something very close to me and they have inspired me to start my journey towards photography. Emotions, expressions, surrealism and something unacceptable by the reality are some factors that fascinate me the most and these are the factors that I include in my photographs. 

These are the factors that inspired me to create. Every human for me is like a storybook and when I click their pictures, I’m the narrator. I look for the hidden expressions, emotions and stories or anything that stands out of the ordinary. I become a part of their story. 

People are like stories; an epic tale comes along with each person. I like bringing out everything they try to hide; their emotions, expressions, stories, dreams, pains, their happiness, anger, frustrations and all of their human emotions. Everything that a person is scared to express, serves as a root for my practice.

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

Something I have been doing myself is what I would like to tell all the amateur photographers to follow. That is to try not to go with the trends. Try to stand apart. Create your own identity through your work. Try not to do what everyone else is doing and intend to express yourself through your art. 

Look at photography as an expression. Art approach is what I look for in photography and photographers should look into how they can include it in their works. Theoretical knowledge is also very important while pursuing photography. The technical of the camera, the physics of the light, studio settings, camera adjustments, selection of the gear, all of all this knowledge is also mandatory.

Meet new people, get in a productive conversation with them, there is something to learn from every person. Keep your websites and social media updated!

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

One should have a keen eye towards art. A different perspective. Should look at the world with an unusual eye and be able to show the world what his eyes see. A good photographer should have technical skills as well as the art approach. 

Knowing the working of the camera is as important as knowing how to express a person's emotions through a photograph. Both factors go hand in hand. In my opinion, a successful photographer should be a storyteller. A successful storyteller. It is also necessary to connect with the right people at the right time.

5. What are various opportunities available for aspiring photographers?

There are different genres of photography. Enthusiasts can work around the field that amuses them the most. Some of the genres of photography are Scientific, Aerial, Fashion, Product, Wedding, Feature, Commercial, Wildlife and Photojournalism. 

The Fashion Industry, Wedding Industry, Real Estate and Lifestyle brands have a good scope. Portrait photography has a good demand too. From school photos and corporate headshots to professional photoshoots and studio sessions, the number of work assignments for a portrait photographer are huge. 

Stock photography is one of the most approachable careers, yet the most ignored. The likelihood of being able to make a living off this type of photography is less, but it can be a great way to make some extra income.

6. Which is your favourite book and why?

My favourite book is Nitin Dadrawala’s ‘Pratima Prachiti’. Nitin Dadrawala has introduced the work of twenty-five photographers here. We can enjoy the photographs given here separately. At the same time, while reading the text, we are also dealing with the history of photography. 

The history of art is cultural history. Pratima means Image and Prachiti means Information/ Experience/ Thought. Thus, the book is the combination of these factors and gives all of the three, Information/Experience/Thought through the Image.

- Interviewed by - Aditi Vakani