Photographer Ganga Kinare Wala | Animesh Dutta, the Bihari Photographer who is proving his mettle

How a boring lecture can become a blessing in disguise and lead to an unimaginable creativity? Animesh Dutta, a photographer from town, walks down his memory lane and shares his journey so far with PatnaBeats. Here is what he has to say.

Tell us something about yourself, your family and your upbringing.

Animesh Dutta: I belong to a middle class family and  I was brought up with a set of values that I still hold dear. I grew up among doctors, engineers, and govt officials. However, despite their influence, a typical office job never interested me. I was very passionate about cricket in school days. At that time sports was usually considered a waste of time in the society, but after a lot of struggle and discussions, my parents let me join a cricket club and I got selected in the team within 3 months, and like everyone else around me, I was also preparing for engineering exams and eventually got into an engineering college!

When was your first interaction with photography? What fascinated you?

Animesh Dutta : I was in Pune, busy with my engineering but I couldn’t find the classes interesting enough and it was all pretty boring. Many a times, I would just sit by the window and stare at the majestic sahayadri ranges. One fine day, I just took off from my college to get a glimpse of the city from the top of those hills. With time this became a part of my routine. Travelling and trekking made me want to capture everything beautiful I saw. This is how I jumped in to photography and never looked back.

What was your parents’ reaction to your choice of career? Did you have to convince them?

Animesh Dutta : They were worried and obviously not happy with my decision. They didn’t see a safe and stable future for me if I chose Photography as a career. They were always discussing about the benefits of govt. jobs and talking to me about the stability it brings to one’s career. However, I was relentless, and fortunately they realised that I was dedicated towards my work and it was not just a hobby. Today, they can’t wait to sit by my side whenever I come back from a shoot to see the pictures. They are my strength and inspiration now and their faith keeps driving me to do good work.

Often it is unknown to viewer that what went behind getting that perfect snap. Please share one such experience where you went an extra mile to get a desired shot.

Animesh Dutta : Every good picture is the result of a lot of thought and hard work of the person behind the camera. A lot  of people see my work and inquire about my gears and do not appreciate my effort which is disheartening and I also believe that it happens with almost all photographers. Most of my favourite pictures have come about after a lot of hard work. For a shot, I was once chased by a wild dog. It was brutal but I survived. There have been many such instances. I don’t know which one should I share. Every photographer goes an extra mile for that perfect shot. Few months back, I was at Ganga and there were these beautiful ripples glistening with the golden sunlight falling on them. There was a fisherman there and I wanted to shoot his portrait with that golden serenity in the background. But for that perfect shot we would have to be on the other side of the river. We talked to the fisherman and he took us to the other side – a stretch of uninhabited land. There have been many stories of dacoits and the likes in that area. But I chose not to think too much about the what ifs and started shooting with the fisherman and it still remains one of my favourite pictures till date. Later, some more fishermen joined us and offered us rice and fish cooked on their boat. That was the most delicious dish I’ve ever had. Always go where your gut leads you, that’s what I have learned.

Your Instagram bio says, you are chora ganga kinarey wala and you have an awesome portfolio of street photography as well, what is your take on that, especially the photos from Ganga Ghat.

Animesh Dutta : Yes. Lately, I have realised Ganga is like my 2nd home. If I am not at home, you will find me at the Ganga ghats. It’s not just a river or photography site for me, but a place where I find peace. I love interacting with people around there. They tell us stories about how Ganga was and what it has become – stories of their journey along with the river. I plan my ideas there, I meet my friends there. Special thanks to my friend Surya Prakash Rana who has always been a part of my Ganga visits. Street photography is the another reason why I love photography. You get to meet strangers. You interact with them, you make them smile, you get to know their stories, you share yours.  Some acquaintances convert into friends in no time. This is what I want to keep doing all my life. For street photography, it’s important to connect with people, to become a part of their story so that they don’t feel conscious in front of the camera. Its very important to let their smiles and their eyes to talk to your lens and let their story known without speaking a single word.

In respect to opportunities available to budding photographers, what difference do you find between Pune and Patna, and how do you plan to minimize that difference?

Animesh Dutta : Patna has a lot of scope for artists. It will take time and the signs look good. I want people to know that Patna or Bihar is not just the home to IAS and engineers but also great artists. What I miss in Patna is learning photography by experimenting on my own but at the same time being with some of the most amazing senior photographers of Pune, listening to their experiences and stories. Everything I learned came from the photo walks, camping and the trekking I did with them. This culture is needed to be introduced in Patna. I am doing photo walks here and try to help with whatever knowledge I have and try to bring-in other senior photographers too, so that more and more people could connect and we get to experience and learn as much as possible. More people, more perspectives, more experience, and hence more learning. You grow as a family – a family of artists who share a passion.

Also See: These 20 must see pictures of Ganga Ghats will take you to the journey of Calmness.

Has there been times when you regret you career choice? If yes, what motivates you to keep moving forward with photography?

Animesh Dutta : Not at all. Never. I enjoy and I love the way I got into photography. I enjoy looking back at how things turned out. I love remembering my struggle. I love how I learnt and all those experiences I gained with the brilliant photographers in Pune.

Along with Photography, what else are you passionate about?

Animesh Dutta : Cricket! I can play it all day, all night without complaining.

What do you have to say about Instagram which has taken the photography world by storm?

Animesh Dutta : It has to happen. I find it good as I use it myself more than I use any other platform. It’s the biggest and the best social media platform based on photography. It’s simple. It’s easy. You don’t have to write too much. The reach is amazing. You can view pictures clicked by the world’s most famous photographers as well as the ones clicked by the beginners. Also I think that every photographer must be active on Instagram as it can work as a portfolio and also help your profile to reach famous photographers and other photography based firms.

What are your future plans? What are we going to see through your lenses next?

Animesh Dutta : In the coming future, you will get to see a lot of fashion photography as well as wedding photography. Weddings have become my new love now. I was more into travel and street but recently I got an opportunity to shoot a wedding and I enjoyed it. So, I am giving it another shot now.

What would be your message/ advise to your juniors from the state who aspire to become photographers?

Animesh Dutta : Haha. I think it’s too early for me to advise anyone. But still, I will say don’t rush into it. If you want to be a photographer, start shooting daily. Just keep shooting. Don’t start a company/business all of a sudden. Photography is something that should happen to you. Get yourself out. Follow and study the works of other photographers. Get in touch with seniors. Do photo walks with them. And be experimental. Go with the flow. Happy clicking!

You can follow Animesh Dutta’s work on Facebook and Instagram.

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Quote of the day:“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” 
Ansel Adams