Traveling is something that I enjoy thoroughly. The excitement of seeing new places, new traditions, and the natural beauty in that region is something that I haven’t lost ever since I started. We learn how to appreciate and live life as we experience both good and bad times through such journeys.
Meeting new people and living their life for a brief amount of time through their culture and perspective and language is something I allow myself to drown in endlessly as I travel. As we cross borders within India, we cross boundaries into regions with different cultures, clothing senses, rules, and some general domesticities which is very fascinating. On the other hand, when I visit some very remote region where there is a lack of water and basic facilities, where one needs to labor the whole day in order to earn two square meals, it saddens me deeply.
There still exist places where people don’t take the sick and elderly from their homes to hospitals and clinics, instead they procure herbs from jungles and make their own local medicines and sustain themselves on it. It is fascinating that there are still places where people are getting the best out of their life without having the need to live in and benefit from modern provisions from cities.
And I am still exploring,
And looking for new people,
And their new traditions.
About As Dnyaneshwar Vaidya
I am Dnyaneshwar Vaidya, I am currently based in a small village called Narsimhawadi in Maharashtra. Born and brought up in Pandharpur, I never showed much interest in formal academics nor did I pursue it with great passion, hence I studied only till my 7th grade. Instead, I enrolled myself in the education of the Vedas in the Vitthal-Rukmini Vedpathshala in Pandharpur. I was brought up in a nuclear family consisting of me, my mother and father, and my younger sister. My father worked in a printing press in Pandharpur and earned just enough to put food on the table for the whole family. Our ends were not being met properly and so we had no choice but to leave Pandharpur to move to a village called Narsimhawadi which is situated in Kolhapur. After shifting to the new village in the year 2000, my father and I began working as priests or ‘Bhatjis’. Through our consistent and sincere hard work along with the blessings of God, we now have a house of our own in Narsimhawadi.
My tryst with photography happened a lot later in life, and unexpectedly as well. Whenever I was invited for a wedding or event, I used to be fascinated by the big cameras, lenses and video cameras operated by the people in charge. I used to wonder how these devices worked. I had no idea that this curiosity will lead to a colossal change in my life. In 2014, I hiked to a fort in Maharashtra called Raigad to pay my respects to the great king and warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I observed that a few photographers from Pune and Sangli which are quite nearby had come to visit the fort as well. Since there wasn’t a lot of crowd present, I took this opportunity to be in their company throughout the hike. This was the day I realized how much thought and effort goes behind composing one photograph as I saw these individuals changing angles and lighting. I was extremely fascinated and decided that it was time I got a camera of my own and start this creative journey for myself as well.
The day finally came in 2015 when I bought my first DSLR; Nikon D3100 and my journey started. I was clueless and had no idea how to use the lenses and camera itself so I asked the people who I bought it from if there was anybody willing to teach me how a DSLR is used, and they told me to consult Mr. Dilip Nerlikar who lived in Sangli. Under the expertise of Mr. Nerlikar, I completed a basic 7-day course in photography and showed him some photos that I had clicked. All he had to say is that I needn’t be taught by anyone at all and that I already have an eye for photography! That was the first and much-needed encouragement that pushed me to work harder on this craft. This event made me realize how grateful I am to Mr. Nerlikar for being my first mentor.
I was introduced to Mr. Tilak Haria by Mr. Nerlikar shortly after. Mr. Tilak had been a photographer for around 25 years based in Mumbai. When I saw the photographs that had been clicked by him, I was stunned. All my questions about what photography exactly is and how an arrangement turns into a good composition were being answered by merely observing the photographs of this man. I immediately asked him to make me his student but out of his humility and kindness, he told me that I was a better photographer. He had become my second mentor. I learned about the intricacies and the fine details in photography under Mr.Tilak. He taught me how to use Photoshop. He also opened my eyes to the existence of national and international photography competitions apart from just posting on social media. I realized the enormity of this field as a whole and started applying and participating in various competitions. As of today, my photographs have finally been exhibited in 36 countries.
I have a vested interest in monochrome or black and white photography. I was sent a link by Tilak sir one day which had black and white photographs and was told to observe the processing behind these photos. They were captured by Mr. Ashok Saravanan Ay from Chennai. I was awestruck while watching these photos. I felt as if I had chanced upon the heart of photography as I observed Mr. Ashok’s photos. His processing and style of photography were something that pierced my heart. Every photo seemed to be tingling with life and these photos had cast a spell on me that I still haven’t gotten out of.
Ashok sir is my third mentor. The style of photography that I use and the kind of processing that I employ in my photos were all taught to me by him with such accuracy, that my photos live and breathe his name.
He taught me the importance of using good equipment for photography and how drastically it affects the composition. My career in photography would have no roots if it wasn’t for my three mentors. They will always have a very high amount of respect from me. The amount of effort that has been extolled on me by them is a debt that I cannot repay in my life.
My main subjects of photography are cultural and festive. I am working on documenting various traditions and cultures and their stories these days.
I participated in various competitions from 2015 to 2019. As of today, I have been honored with 36 gold medals, 23 silver medals, and 16 bronze medals for my photography. I have also been bestowed a number of certificates and awards and prestigious degrees like AFIP (Artist of Federation of Indian Photography), EFIP (Excellence of Federation of Indian Photography) in national and AFIAP (Artist of International Federation of Photography) in international. I am the first person to ever receive 2 national and 2 international degrees in the region of western Maharashtra as well as a degree in photography, and I am extremely humbled by these honors and will always give the credit to my three mentors.
You can find As Dnyaneshwar Vaidya on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted As Dnyaneshwar Vaidya. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.