Hello all, once again we are back with top photographer from Delhi, India in our today’s interview. Atul Sharma is a 56 years old photographers based in Gurgaon, a lawyer turned photographer, so lets see what Atul had to say to snaptured interview…
Hello and thanks for your time to snaptured.com, please introduce yourself to our viewers 🙂
Hi, this is Atul Sharma, based in Gurgaon, India. I’m 56 years old and started out as a lawyer but switched to designing and operating inbound bicycling and photography tours in the Indian subcontinent for the American & Canadian market. Finally, in 1995 I became a full time professional photographer.
You have a fantastic and inspiring portfolio Can you tell us how you got started in photography?
Thanks for the compliment.I first started fooling around with a camera presented by my father when I was about 8years old.A few years later, while in boarding school,I got totally hooked on to it as a hobby.Seeing the image appear on a blank paper in the dark room was a magical experience. Since then, I never looked back. Instinctively drawn to nature,I was always very happy to go hiking and trekking at every opportunity I got, accompanied by my camera ofcourse.
Galactic centre & Shivling Peak from Tapovan, Uttarakhand
What took you to be at this level? As a successful photographer
After a few years in the legal profession, (I had inherited my father’s law practise), I decided to pursuemy twin passions of photography and travel. There was no better way to do that than by getting into the inbound travel trade, focusing on adventure and photo tours. In 1992, I got the opportunity, thanks to a childhood friend who was in advertising, to shoot my first commerial assignment.Finally, in 1995 I decided to take the plunge into becoming a full time professional photographer. I love photography and considered myself to be blessed for being able to earn a living from my passion – the hard work is therefore very enjoyable.
What difficulties you face in the field of your photography?
I’m entirely self taught in the analog era. In the India of seventies and eighties, not only was it difficult to buy photography equipment (almost all cameras used to be smuggled in due to import restrictions)but even access to photography books and magazines wasn’t easy. There were no photography schools either. We had to shoot on transparency film (slides) to learn from our mistakes, as shooting and developing on negative film left one at the mercy of the printer’s interpretation. All this analog stuffprobably sounds like a different language to the present generation brought up on digital photography, but that is what gave me a very solid grounding in the basics of photography. So relatively speaking, these days, with access to the vast resources on the internet to learn from, and the immediate feedback of digital photograpy, lifeis much easier.
What motivates you to take pictures and make them great?
I experience this incredible feeling when I’m taking photographs, and this is difficult to put in words – kind of being in a very unique and special zone, which keeps me going.Also, the ability to draw out an emotion from the viewer,through an image, is a strong motivation. In the analog era, I enjoyed working in the dark room,but now there is so much more one can do on the computer to bring forth the idea at the point of clicking the image.Always striving for perfection, and the exposure to brilliant work on the net,is what drives me to keep learning and honing my skills with both the camera and computer. In a nut shell, its my passion which keeps me going.
Typical question, which image is your very best till now? We know all of your images are best but we want to know that one best image 🙂
A ‘best’ image is hard to decide but I certainly have my favourites. For example,this shot of the galactic centre juxtaposed with the Sivling peak, in a sense, took me 27years to complete. It was in 1988 that I first went to Tapovan, which is a meadow at 14,440ft/4,410mtrs at the base ofShivling Peak 21,466ft/6543m, accessible by a 25km trek from the road head at Gangotri 10,300ft/3122m in the Garhwal Himalays,Uttarakhand, India. I wasawestruck by the beauty of the place but due to a throbbing headache caused by lack of acclimatization to that altitude, I had to head back down. However Iresolved to be back someday…
It was only in June 2015 that I managed to head back. This time I planned a 10 day trek from Gangotri. Making sure to adequately acclimatize myself over four days on the way up to be able to spend 4 days at Tapovan with 2 days to walk back. Much to my disappointment, every evening theclouds would roll in, obscuring the view. Finally, on the fourth and final nightin Tapovan the weather Gods decided to smile at me. The clouds parted for about an hour at 11:30 p.m. and the setting moonaccentuated the peaks..
What gear you usually? Your cams lens etc…
In 35mm format,though I started with a Canon system, which was gifted to me by my father in the late 70s, I switched to Nikon in 1984 and have been using that system ever since. Currentlymy basic kit comprisesof Nikon D810 & D750 bodies with Nikkor 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 mm F2.8 lenses, Gitzo tripods &Sirui ball heads. However for commercial and advertising work, in the analog era I used the Mamiya medium formats (6×7, 645) and Sinar 4×5 view cameras – which I still do, coupled with a digital back, when required.
What other genre of photography you do, and what genre you love to do most?
I shoot a wide range of genres from Aerial to Architecture, with many others in between. Each genre throws up its own challenges and it’s the variety that keeps my juices flowing. I ‘d be unhappy to be working just one type of genre day in and day out.
Do you like to do indoor/studio or outdoor Photography?
I’m happydoing both, but if I have to choose,given my love for nature,working with natural light in natural surroundings, for personal or commissioned work, would be my favoured choice.
Which programs you use for editing purpose?
Adobe Photoshop and Bridge
What is the best advice you can give for the young upcomingphotographers?
Put in the hours to learn your craft. Doggedlyfollow your dreams – they do come true.
Finally, what is your goal for life? As a photographer
I have no specific goals – the idea is to keep doing what I’ve been doing all this while and enjoy each moment of it.
2000 – ‘Exploration in Digital Imaging’, New Delhi
2002 – ‘Biarritz Terre D’Image’, France
2003 – 04 – ‘French Urbanscapes’ sponsored by Embassy of France in India, ” Best Photography Show” – Habitat Award
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