Dnyaneshwar Prakash Vaidya is a street and travel photographer from a small village near Kolhapur city, Maharashtra. He started photography in 2015 and he is interested to photograph Indian traditions and cultures. He is always passionate about telling stories through his photographs. Read this interview to know more about him. Thanks, Dnyaneshwar for accepting our invite.
Could you please introduce yourself?
First of all, I had poor English grammatical knowledge so apology for any mistakes.
I am Dnyaneshwar Prakash Vaidya. I am an amateur photographer from a small village near Kolhapur city, Maharashtra. I belong to the Hindu Brahmin family and all the holy “Pooja – path ” is my business. I left school early and join my family business. I love to travel across different sides of India, mostly attracted to the change and variety in cultures and traditions across the different sides of India.
I have started amateur photography in the year 2015 and till now I am working to explore different sides of Maharashtra’s cultures, festivals, and traditions. I have participated in different festivals around in Maharashtra take photographs, meet people and explore their perspectives about festivals as a story through my photograph. These photographs also improve my photographic skills as well as my curiosity and respect for the culture.
What are your childhood memories of the arts?
My childhood memories of the arts are just terrible. Childhood is tough and lack of food and money. At that time there were simple Kodak cameras with rolls are mostly in use. When I saw it for the first time in some rich kids’ hand I am get attracted and curious about it. I remember that incident till now that we went for a school trip around the beach and some rich fathers allow their kids to take cameras along with. We were on the beach and because of my curiosity about the camera I just touch the once, He got angry toward me and slap me because of just a single touch. He shouted to me“ What if anything could happen to my camera, you idiot? it is so expensive. I am just curious and attraction which drew me towards photography after then. I decided to gather some own money through my savings and get my own camera, but it takes me around ten long years to complete my dream.
What first drew you to photography and how did you discover it?
As I told before, only the curiosity and attraction about cameras first drew me towards the camera and then towards photography. As in the early 90’s change in technology all over happed we all introduced to televisions and radios and cameras in some rich homes and as a kid, we are attracted to all. The cameras were seen only in traditional culture events in school. After school when I can earn money on my own I decided to travel. In my RAIGAD FORT trip, I saw some people with some cameras and lenses, till that time I am totally blind about photography, camera, and lenses.
I just travel with these people to look for the camera, photographic style. photographs and their timing. I get shocked because of their photographs and more curiosity again raise in my blood about camera and photography. A desire to have at least a small camera came to my mind and I started to gather money. It was NIKON COOLPIX camera I brought for rupees 6000 at that time for the first time and my journey towards photography started. I work on the angle, light, composition about photographs and after some time the actual process and techniques to capture photographs, I discovered inside me. This is how the journey started.
What makes people and travel photography so special for you?
When I started photography, I am trying to capture all types and tastes of photographs all over… later on, I discover them as various types as a bird, macro, travel, wedding, architecture, etc. As I discovered my skills over photography I realize that travel photography is some kind of bliss to me. I was more passionate about it later on I especially focus on the people and travel photography and work hard to develop skills over it. In the case of travel and people photography, you are interacting with people and their culture and traditions.
It increases my knowledge about different shades of cultures and traditions also I can read their lives more efficiently which gives me the story behind every photograph. Then I try to explore their emotions and stories in my photograph. Every time I tried to improve my skills over the camera and surrounding parameters like light and colors. In a single click you have to explore the whole story also have to adjust with colors and background and weather which I feel challenging to me, that’s all.
What do you think makes a memorable photograph?
The photograph to be memorable for viewers require a great combination of composition, handling with colors, the theme of the photo, light utilization and of course of the story behind the photography. But for me, each photograph is memorable because of the effort and hard work because of passion with each capture.
I remember each of my favorite photographs because of the story behind the scene of the photograph. Though each one is special to me some of these are close to my heart .one day I went to my photographic GURU Mr. TilakHariya sir to meet, sir was busy in other work so I decided to see his work. One photograph I saw was mind-blowing and I had no word to express at the time. The photograph was of the dead body burning at funeral pyre taken on the Varanasi riverside, the journey beyond death. I think that was a challenging photograph for me at that time as I am new. So I decided to try to take the same photograph on the Varanasi riverside. I pack my luggage and move to Varanasi, It was a 5-day trip I as decided and thought easy task.
Varanasi belongs to Kashi Vishweshar as a Holy place beside the Ganga River. When someone dies, the dead body is burned beside the holy river. It supposed to have a great journey of the soul beyond this life in this way by the Hindu religion. I was taking the same shots as that of Hariya sir on famous MANIKARNIKA GHAT. I thought it will take only one day to do a perfect job but I was wrong. It takes me about 4 full days to take a perfect click. 3 full days and full nights I was with the burning dead bodies around, my lunch my dinner everything was there and I am without a bath for full 3 days. I remember I was disappointed a little bit because that was the last day of my trip, near around 1 am at night I was able to capture a perfect shot as on my mind. At that moment I was the happiest and excited because of the perfect job done after a long effort. The moment was unforgettable to me, two main things I learned from the past few days. One there is nothing easy doing in photography as I imagine and Two there is nothing impossible to me If I take the path of hard work and passion.
That photograph was award-winning and famous later on. I got the appreciation from all over the friend and photography circle mostly from my GURU TilakHariya sir, who was happy because of the hard work and passion of his growing student.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
As I told before every photograph has its own story and emotions attached. I just want to express stories of the people and culture through my photograph. I think I will be happy if viewers able to find out what I have to say or express from a photograph is enough for me. For the viewers of my work as a photographer, I have to say something about my work, when I went for photography anywhere around I do one thing unerringly that because of my work no one can be affected and get in trouble.
I like the photographic subjects to be untouched and unaffected from my work, maybe it is a person or culture or object. This is the most important lesson I learned from my other GURU ASHOK AY sir. Those who know me as a photographer or those who wish to be a photographer should have to follow this basic rule.
What do you do to keep motivated, and not lose your passion for photography?
I think the work I have does, the efforts I get, the curiosity inside me keeps me motivated all the time. When I went to photography anywhere I research it saw old photographic work done by others and thinks what more can I do to go beyond that level of photography. I watch photographs on the famous sites as on like Flickr or national geography or work done by the CWC members on the internet and studies well their work in the aspect of timing, angle, and perspective. It would increase my photographic knowledge and skills, gives me the vision to see every moment in a photographic manner.
What is the best compliment you received so far?
As I grew as a photographer because of my passion, work and perspective for photography I received a lot of compliments from every were, Mostly from masters from their fields. But some of them are memorable until now.
When I went to my GURU ASHOK AY sir in Chennai for learning multi-exposure photography I remember his complement was the best of from others I have ever received. We were in MAHABALIPURAM for photo shooting, I was learning some skills over multi-exposure settings and arrangement from sir. He is from the south region so mostly speak English for communication and I am a little bit poor in English so it is difficult to understand what exactly he has to say.
I can just able to get technical details and started my practice on the subject. Each time after I take a photograph I show to him end each time he discovered some errors and mistakes and told to improve every time. Sir was at some distance watching my moves carefully every time, sitting on a bench with their old photographer friends. After my tireless efforts, I made it after a few hours. I went to sir and show him the photograph I had just taken. Sir just calmly bink eyes and stare at the photograph for some time, then show it to their friends also. Then he turns on his mobile and shows a photograph to others and asked all them to differentiate between both two. I couldn’t understand for some time when I saw both photographs I was shocked. Sir told to other friends that both the photographs were taken by him and me was exactly same.
Then he moved toward me and said: “ It takes me 8 long years to learn about multi-exposure photography and you did it in such a short time, you did it well.” That I thought the best compliment I have ever received.
Which photographers have inspired you?
Many photographer’s works inspire me all the time to grow more, to work more in the field. Many of them I don’t know personally but their work available on the internet can enough me for inspiration. I have three photography teachers I call them GURU, first Mr. Dilip Neralekar sir, second Mr. Tilak Hariya and third Mr. Ashok AY sir. These people are masters in their field of photography, these three are role models in photography for me. When I saw their work and photographs I get inspiration to do more, to work more. Also, I have one of my best photographer friend Mr. Mahesh Lonakar from Pune who inspires me all the time , his dedication and passion towards photography is unbelievable. Most of the time we are together for any of the photographic trip or shoot.
What camera and lenses do you use the majority of the time?
I mostly do street photography and travel photography. I need to go near to the objects of photograph and I like to have more distortion in my photograph, so I choose mostly wide-angle lenses which gives me the desired results. The experience with the wide-angle lenses is very much I like in photography. I use a lot of lenses over a period of time till now, but the wide-angle lenses I suppose give more desired results which I thought in mind.
Today I had a camera kit as Nikon z6, Nikon 24-70 f-4 and Tamron 15-30 f 2.8 which I suppose a great combination for my work.
Any favorite photography books?
There are many books I read in regards to photography. Though I have poor English knowledge with the use of actual photographs and the technical knowledge about a photograph I manage to understand what exactly the photographer did to take that photograph. Each one has his style and combination, so I have a variety of things to choose from that to do my work more expressible. Besides that, I mostly like to read and see photographs of Mr. Raghu Rai and GMB Akash.
Apart from photography, tell me about your hobbies and interests?
Photography is one of my passion, I mostly like to travel and meet people from all over the places, know their cultures and traditions. I am also a bike rider and it helps me a lot to travel in any inaccessible area in cities. I love to try different types of foods of different tastes and types. The combination of all the desires and passion encourage me to manage at least a 4-day trip in a month where I enjoy bike riding, variety of eating, meeting with strangers, knowing their cultures and traditions.
Besides that, I am a Karate student from JSKKOI academy of karate and achieved a black belt level till now.
Thanks again for providing 121Clicks with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
It is my pleasure to share some of my experiences with you. 121 clicks is a great platform I think to learn about photography, to share our photographic work and to get motivation from others also. Each one should have to make one story at least in a month to post on it, to get recognition to grow more from compliments and suggestions. Till now I have published 6 stories on 121 clicks.
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