I had picked up a battered old camera which was gifted to the International NGO where I was a volunteer social worker. I could have never afforded one on my own. I had no professional training in this craft. Through the process of trial and error, and picking up old photography magazines from road side vendors of pasti, (old discarded newspapers and magazines) , I taught myself photography. Confidence to plunge into professional photography came when couple of my images got published in the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror in London where I was with the NGO.
Initiatives of Change.
In the late 70’s it was very tough to get hold of quality equipment. Cameras were very expensive. A colleague had to sell his house to buy a Hasselblad system Film and processing was prohibitive . There were no photography schools but most importantly there was no internet. The only two options were to apprentice with a senior photographer, or learning by Trial and Error. I did the latter.
My big break came with the Post Emergency elections called by Indira Gandhi in 1977. I returned to India and dived straight into capturing the elections. Ms. Gandhi lost and my images of opposition political leaders were published on the covers and columns of prestigious magazines like News Week, The Scotsman, India Today, Onlooker, The Week, Sunday, Femina, Illustrated weekly etc. I became well known overnight.
From Press photography, I moved into Magazine Illustration photography and then came the days of ad campaigns and shooting for commercial brands. I shot everything from products to models, from brands to film stars. By 1980, I was one of the top 5 fashion and glamour photographers in the country. It all began with a borrowed old camera, and a steely determination to make it . I am now the managing partner of a successful advertising and commercial photography firm, Image Solutions, based in Dubai, UAE and mentoring many budding photogrpahers. I guess, this is what they call a full circle.