S.K. Rahman talks about his two passions — photography and teaching
It’s been four years since S.K. Rahman taught full time. Administrative work as the registrar of Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU) keeps him busy. Students however, still keep flocking to his room to ask him doubts; and it is perhaps this relationship that he has cultivated with his students, across batches that earned him the State Award To Meritorious Teachers — 2012.
While sitting in his plush office at the campus and enjoying a cup of tea, he recalls the journey that hadn’t been an easy one. “I switched from Telugu medium to English medium after finishing std X. The move wasn’t easy, I found myself struggling to cope,” he says.
While his parents hoped that he would pick up a ‘normal’ course like engineering or medicine or law; S.K. Rahman defied all norms and took up photography. “I was interested in painting, but giving up five years of my life to pursue it wasn’t possible. I have three younger sisters,” he says. He laments that even today people don’t know that there is a professional degree course available in photography. “You and your own craft become your job security, people don’t realise that,” he says. An investment of Rs. 2800 for a Pentax K1000 from his father has reeked in more profits than he could have hoped for. Soon after joining the course, Rahman started doing private assignments: those he landed from word-of-mouth advertising. “I haven’t taken a single rupee from my father after I turned 20 years old,” says Rahman. Administrative work might have piled upon him but he refuses to give up the teacher’s cloak. When asked about his teaching style, Rahman emphasises that he asks the students to read newspapers. “Reading the paper gives a new perspective,” he says.
With over 20 years experience in the field, Rahman still believes that there is ‘lots to learn and teach’. “Students are very clever, they read up on the internet. You must make the best use of opportunity and technology,” he smiles.