We all dream of doing something that we love, and not follow what’s presented to us. We have a story of an established professional photographer Namrata Motihar Rupani who has balanced both sides of the coin on her fingertips.
She is a dentist by education & profession but has also explored the arena of professional photography. We got a chance to get in touch with her and get a glimpse of her amazing career. Let’s find out what she has to say.
I would like to understand your journey from being a Dentist to a professional Photographer.
The career progression just happened very spontaneously. When I picked up my camera, I was recuperating from an illness that forced me to take a break from work. I let myself explore photography and from there it just developed into what it is.
I didn’t take up any professional course but learned photography through the internet and by reading books. I bought a DSLR camera and developed my skills over a period of 2-3 years before I started shooting commercially.
While pursuing the hobby, did you have an inflection point to turn yourself professional?
Photography was not something that I really planned. I used to drive out of the city during the weekends shooting sunrises, sunsets, nature, people portraits, or whatever I could capture on my camera. I would wake up early morning to catch a sunrise at lakes and other picturesque spots.
I shot whatever fascinated me. Twelve years ago, social media like Facebook had just started and I’d post my pictures there, and that grabbed people’s attention. I started receiving requests from people to take pictures of them, eventually, I started getting wedding shoots. So basically one thing led to another, and photography became a parallel career.
What is your point of view on capturing a perfect picture?
The first step to any picture making is to work on the technicalities. Once you have got the technicals out of the way, which essentially are how to work your camera, and get the desired results out of it, one can focus on picture-making.
I think a picture that has the ability to evoke an emotion in somebody – and that’s what I usually aim for. I don’t go chasing “perfect” pictures, however, I do feel that if I have taken one picture that is extremely different from anything else that I have taken before, I consider that to be a super successful shoot.
Who influenced you in photography?
I don’t get influenced easily. I’m a result of every experience in my life – whether it’s places I’ve been to, or people I come across, the books I read, the music I listen to. So, I think those influences make me the person I am, and that has a direct impact on the photos I make. All my pictures will have a little bit of me in them.
I truly consider photography to be a form of art. I just look at putting my thought process into my work and hope it’s going to evoke something in somebody.
What is your approach in getting the right click?
The approach is very simple, you have to work hard to achieve what you want. When all the details, lighting, angles, and the camera are taken care of, you essentially get the desired click. It is all about the process. Getting out early mornings, driving to about 30-40 kms from where I stay to try and catch a sunrise was something I would do very often.
I used to go to a place called Pocharam Dam near Hyderabad where it was only after a few visits that I was able to get the most stunning sunrise I’ve ever seen. The approach is to keep chasing, that image you wish to see and create enduringly until you make it.
Have you restricted yourself while expressing your emotions via photography or was it always free-flowing and away from the fear of failure or experimenting, how did you go ahead with it?
My expression through photography has always been free-flowing, in fact, the aim has always been to not give in to the fear associated with the acceptance of my art. Expressions if done truly and honestly are always individualistic, and that’s what I strive for – to be true to what I am trying to communicate through my images.
In the process of creating there’s always a fear of failure. The challenge is to subdue that and not judge your own work and let it be a true and honest expression.
What were your biggest lessons when you were trying to establish yourself commercially and in terms of delivery, management of equipment?
Running a business is very different from just practicing the art of photography.
When you are running your own business, there is a certain discipline to keep. Whether it rains or sunshine, you have to show up. That’s not how the creative mind works. But I’ve learned that even though this is not easy for me, it is completely worth it.
My biggest lessons would be
- Time management
- The balancing act
- How to be resilient and keep at it no matter how bad it looks.
Other than that it was a lot of investing in yourself. To bring the commercial bent of mind, I think it is important to surround yourself with the right kind of people, to read relevant literature, to expose yourself and absorb the changes and requirements and adapt in the way you operate.
What are the new experiments you want to do? How are you integrating your personal journey with it?
I don’t think my personal journey and my work can ever be separate. I feel they go hand in hand. While I shoot commercially for clients, there’s an entire body of work that I do just for myself. That is the architecture, wildlife and my documentary work for an NGO in Hyderabad.
Other than that I started this project last year to shoot portraits of strong and powerful women. Corona messed up the plans this year but hopefully, I shall get back to that soon.
How was your experience with photography workshops? How do you enjoy them? How do you interact with new brains?
I love the process of teaching.. I feel that teaching has taught me a lot about myself, about the technicalities in photography, and also educated me about how different each person’s narrative and perspective is.
It is a great experience to be around people and their perspectives. Photography is a pure reflection of how you see the world. When I am teaching, I get to know so many different points of view, it is just mind-blowing.