Gone are the days when the words, “Ready! Smile!” were the cue for a group of people, standing as if already frozen in a frame, to smile widely before the sound of a click and a blinding flash of light filled the room. That era of formal photography where professionals were hired to take posed, ‘say cheese’ kind of photographs to record events such as weddings and other mega family celebrations is mostly in the past now. On World Photography Day today, lens persons take stock of a different kind of photography that has come to the fore, the kind that catches a groom stealing shy glances with his bride, or a doting father sharing a quiet moment with his daughter. It is also the kind that captures the first moment of a child in the world, a mother looking at her new-born with tear-filled eyes and a wide smile, or a surreal, metaphorical representation of issues. Or, on a more prosaic note, photos of too-beautiful-to-be-eaten food dishes. While long-known genres of photography like architectural, wildlife, fashion and sports have braved the test of time, newer ones like wedding, childbirth and food photography are also claiming a market for themselves.
In an era where everybody with a smartphone fancies themselves as photographers, there are many who have given up jobs to specialise in niche photography, pursuing their passion and making a career out of it too. Aditi Verma, for instance, left her job in a production house to take up wedding photography. “When I started out, candid wedding photography was not such a trend, but now the competition is fierce with almost everyone with a DSLR claiming to be a photographer,” said Verma, who runs her own firm Photosynthesis in Mumbai. Verma, 35, finds it important to capture moments that make an impact. “I try to capture the essence of the moment, so when the married couple or the family looks back at the photos they can relive the moments they couldn’t enjoy during the hustle bustle of the wedding,” she said.
Delhi-based Urshita Saini focuses on another aspect of life – the birth of a child. It’s all about the essence of the moment when she is inside the operation theatre with a pregnant couple, says the 26-year-old Delhi-based childbirth photographer,. “It is an amazing experience to be part of such an intimate moment of a family and be able to share those moments which are probably the happiest in their lives. “I try to capture everything in the duration of 30 minutes or so, which include husband-wife moments before the birth, when the baby is coming out… the first time the parents and the family see the baby,” said Saini, who has had 53 shoots since March this year.
Saini, who has a law degree, picked a camera to shoot weddings but her heart was somewhere else. She figured out the “else” after coming across childbirth photographer Angela Gallo’s work online. “Wedding photography is of course more profitable, but I have no regrets. The happiness involved in this work is far more rewarding,” she said. Riding high on a similar passion, Niharika Shukla dumped her job as a writer with a leading media house and started clicking photos of food. “I was writing about food, but it was more of business writing, not something I wanted to do. Then I took up a course and started work as a freelance photographer. “It did take some time before people started knowing me. But the journey has been worth everything,” said Shukla who divides her time between Jaipur and Delhi.
On a different note, Victoria Krundysheva, Russian by birth and Indian by heart, has found a career clicking photos as a way of expressing herself and as a statement. With a portfolio including ‘Conceptual’ and ‘Fine Art Photography’, Krundysheva’s photos, often dark and surreal, sometimes melancholic, strike a chord. “My work is both intensely personal and loudly public. I take major social constructs and issues, internalising them to reflect my deepest engagement in each. “Metaphorical representation of subjects allows me to show the overlooked connections between present and past, dreaming and awakening, logic and intuition where I draw the mystical, but evident parallels between emotional reality and physical world,” said the photographer, who has made her home in Mumbai. Krundysheva has found a clientele in big brands and agencies. “I have observed a positive shift in marketing strategies of big brands, choosing creative concept to build their social strategies around, so in last one year I got to work with quite a few big brands and their agencies,” she said.