Preyas Keluskar

Camera happened to me a few years back. My first camera was a digital point and shoot by Kodak. Hardly had I known what to look for in a camera obviously because I had no frame of reference. I bought it nonetheless. And then… like a madman with a pistol I started shooting. That’s how it all started. When it all started I was based in Goa, pursuing hotel management. And boy was I in heaven!!! I started making most of the free time I had. Rent bikes go out on weekends with friends and just shoot. My interest in photography began to grow day by day. Soon enough I had explored most of the things my camera had to offer. But I wanted more. Saying this I also believe even the simplest and cheapest cameras can make greatest photographs. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In my second year as a part of our academics I had to complete 20 weeks of industrial training. I came to Mumbai and started with it. I was having training in the Orchid ecotel. Boredom took over in less than a month with all the slogging and never ending shifts. All I could think was of my camera and how happy it makes me. In fact as far as physical efforts were concerned the places I used to go to shoot, took a heavier toll of calories than working in hotel. And I used to spend hours and hours shooting. But then there was a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. The liberty to express myself through photographs was more important to me than cutting awful amounts of onions and vegetables and meats everyday for 10-12 hours. At the end of the day u are left with nothing but the smell of onions and fish. I stank!!! One day when I was working in the kitchen I managed to rediscover an injury which hadn’t completely healed. A fractured finger!!! It was bloody painful but while in pain a thought entered my mind… it can be a boon. And yes it was. I was sent on a medical leave for one and half month. All smiles!!! A finger injury was not something that could have stopped me from shooting. And this proved to be the turning point in my life. This time actually shaped the course of years to come.

By the end of my third year I knew this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a photographer. By then my work started being appreciated by people. Many of them were very senior photographers too. You may ask what happened with Hotel Management? I completed it and somehow I managed to score first class in the final year too. However, whatever little fame that I had in college was because of my photography. I used to cover college events and festivals. Also in the beginning with a DSLR and cool lenses, I thought it would help me score some chicks. Alas! Soon I realized it takes more than just cool photography equipment to impress women or it’s just that they always like to play ‘hard to get’. Anyway but working in hotel industry was not my cup of tea. And an occupational therapist once told me that we spend 2/3rd of our life in our profession. So imagine not being happy and satisfied for 2/3rd of life! I guess I make better tea with photography!

After graduation I was in a clueless state of mind. I knew what I wanted to do. ‘How to do’ was something that I did not know. I was sure that it was not going to be easy. Nothing is. It was a difficult and challenging time of my life. I was ready to take on the challenges and face the difficulties. Unexpectedly in a few months I was working as an assistant to a very senior and successful professional photographer. The man has been in this profession for 50 years and still counting. If you ignore the wrinkles on his face you will never be able to tell his age. Still as young as a teenager at heart, passionate, extremely hard working, physically fit and always trying out new things. These are some of the very important attributes of a photographer. Mr. Anand Udeshi still wants to buy a Harley and go on long road trips. Rocking personality!!! He is an ocean of knowledge and experience. You just need to make the most of it. I did. Being appreciated by him was more than just a pat on the back.

A few months later it was time for me to find more avenues. I started approaching people through various media and managed to pull off some assignments on my own. The feedback from clients was positive and motivating. It felt great. It helped me grow. With each and every assignment I felt I was growing. I started working as a freelance photographer. This drift that I had in my life was always on the cards, because I always found myself inclined towards art. Right from school days, be it stage acting, singing or dancing. The love for travelling and exploring, ever hungry mind for new visuals helped a lot. I get extremely fascinated by human expressions, lights and shadows and colours and tones. Of all the arts Music is my favorite. But no sound I found better than the sound of camera shutter.

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