Emerging young photographers in India have been using social media platforms and specialised photography portals to build their client base and audiences. Niharika Pandit finds out how they go about it…
Auditya Venkatesh, Bangalore
If Facebook success stories are to be recounted, Auditya Venkatesh’s story may top the chart. A 25-year-old, self-taught photographer from Bangalore, Auditya launched his photography page on Facebook — AudiPhotography — in October 2010 and since then there has been no looking back. “Initially, it was difficult to get people to notice and appreciate my work but as I began uploading photographs, the number of followers increased and so did the reach of my page,” he says.
Auditya’s Facebook page is liked by more than two lakh people and the number swells up every day. Interestingly, Auditya has rarely been active on social media platforms other than Facebook and his website.
A great deal of what Auditya is today is due to Facebook which got a bag full of opportunities for him.
An interesting project that Auditya recalls is working with Make A Difference (MAD), a youth-led organisation working in the field of education. “The co-founder of MAD contacted me after which I travelled to 13 cities across India documenting the work done by its fellows.” Amidst all the documenting is when an idea struck Auditya. In collaboration with MAD, he organised a photography workshop to support children at risk. “Facebook has been a very important platform to publicise my work. Calls from clients for wedding shoots, travel assignments keep me busy all day,” says Auditya.
There’s no success mantra that he follows, “It’s all about the quality of content that I put in.”
Bhumika Bhatia, Delhi
Bhumika’s affair with photography is four this June. Now a full-time freelance photographer based in Delhi who often flies to Mumbai for shoots, Bhumika, 23, did not start off with creating a Facebook page (BhumikaB-Photography). “Back then, I had no idea about creating a photography page. So, I created my photography group instead where I added friends and shared my work with them. A number of people appreciated my work but the reach was limited to friends of friends only as not everyone could access the content shared in the group.”
Active on a variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other photography websites like deviantART, Bhumika received a horde of orders through her photography page. “In the year 2012, it was only because of the reach of my photography page that Reebok contacted me to shoot their look-book for their summer and spring collection. Soon after, my photograph got featured for the cover story of Cosmopolitan magazine,” she says.
That’s not all. Due to the popularity of her page and originality in shooting portraits, Bhumika got the opportunity to exhibit her work in Underline Gallery’s group show ‘Bright Lights, Big Love’ based in Manhattan and on an online photography gallery based in Spain. Recently, her work was also portrayed in The Creative Book based in the UK, a platform where creatives from around the world can showcase their portfolios, network and connect with others.
What next? This ace photographer has a number of interviews lined up every week.
Pooja Joseph, Kottayam
She is one of those photographers who refuse to step in front of the camera. Pooja, 23, who hails from Kottayam, studied in Mumbai which is when she realised photography must be pursued. So right after college, she enrolled for a two-year diploma in photography from Shari Academy based in Mumbai and then it has been win-win.
“Some years ago, a friend of mine was getting married. I took my camera but not with the purpose of doing a formal wedding shoot. To my surprise, many photographs did turn out well,” recalls Pooja. This was the beginning when clients lined up for wedding shoots.
Pooja who does not like the idea of fashion photography; primarily shoots weddings and often portraits. “Posed photographs are not something I want to make; I love shooting people and shooting them candidly,” she says.
Like many others, Facebook has been of great benefit for Pooja: “Around 95 per cent of the work I get is through Facebook (PoojaJPhotography). Thus I really don’t need a switch to other social media platforms,” she says.
Pooja is pursuing photography full-time and has around ten shoots lined up for the month. “When I shoot weddings I imagine the kind of shots I would want for my wedding, which makes the work a lot easier.”
Ajay Koli, Guna, Madhya Pradesh
It was in the third year of chemical engineering in IIT-Powai that this 23-year-old realised how he enjoyed taking photographs. That was also the first time when he got his hands on a camera. “It’s a medium of expression sometimes, but mostly it is about creation,” says Ajay. He now loves photography and wants to pursue it as something he enjoys doing and can continue for a lifetime.
Currently, Ajay who is studying film and video communication in National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, has always been interested in shooting portraits and capturing environment spaces and their interaction with human beings.
“I solely depend on online media to share my work. It all depends on the content you upload. If the work is interesting enough, it will get noticed. The key is to keep on creating,” feels Ajay. His photography page on Facebook — AjayKoliPhotography — has helped him develop a fan-base while a Flickr account helps him connect with photographers across the world and stumble upon some really important work. The artist says Tumblr is his favourite platform to publicise his work.
Sakshi Parikh, Indore
A 21-year-old wedding and conceptual portrait photographer based in Indore, Sakshi Parikh’s stint with photography is a fairly recent one. The quiescent volcano in form photography slowly erupted when Sakshi was pursuing her first year in BA Economics from Mumbai University. Soon, her work proved to be a fruitful one when she was assigned to be the chief photographer of her college. From plays to dance events and even graduation ceremonies, Sakshi’s photography skills honed as she began experimenting with her camera.
It has been a year since Sakshi launched her Facebook photography page (SakshiParikhPhotography), and already its reach is more than a 1000, with her work being featured regularly on online portals like weddingsutra.com and Times Photo Journal. “Platforms like Facebook and microblogging site Twitter helped me give a plug to my brand; the reach was faster and more people got to know about my work,” says Sakshi.
Sakshi has also uses other platforms such as 500px and Behance to publicise her work and interact with like-minded people. Quoting some of the problems with putting content out on the social media, she says, “There is always a risk when one puts out one’s work to the world and on such an interactive platform like Facebook, there is a greater risk of photographs being stolen.”