Is Photography in India Still a Profession Unheard of?
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“Photography is austere and blazing poetry of the real.”
– Ansel Adams
We live in a world of instant photography, where devices like smartphones are able to freeze multiple cherished moments with a slight tap of a button. But is, professional photography a thing in India?
Photography not only has the ability to inspire your imagination but is an effective tool to document the journey of life. Life captured through a lens has helped us understand evolution and social progress mankind has made along with evoking a sense of nostalgia in them.
A Growing Profession:
In today's day and age, the prospects in a photography career are growing, especially since we now have a wide variety of genres to choose from - making it appealing and interesting to a larger number of people. It is exciting to see how - underwater photography, astrophotography, fine art photography etc have been added to the list of coveted streams of interest.
No More a Male-Dominated Industry:
Photography in India was always about capturing personal moments, trips and vacations and events.
Commercial photography was largely restricted to wedding events and public events. The paradigm shift from physical film format to digital format has however changed the dynamics of photography forever.
Photography can now be treated as a profession and a very promising one in contemporary India. We must classify it as one of the most sought after and leading professions for the millennials. The advent of easy access to camera equipment and the digital age which contributed to taking countless images much more reasonable opened the exploration of photography to a large number of people... There’s also been a dramatic shift from it being a predominantly male-dominated profession to seeing lots of women picking up their cameras and getting onto the field. In the wedding industry, in fact, there has been an affinity for women photographers, which in my opinion is a huge transformation in peoples outlook towards photography as a profession.
Photography is an Art & Science:
It’s also imperative to remember that photography is an art form… like all art, it can connect to and with people. With digital technology almost completely replacing film, it is one that provides instant gratification when compared with other forms of art, making it very popular with many people. We can view images right away and improvise/recreate an image again right on the field.
Photography in Commercial Field:
With a boom in the advertising, media and fashion industry, photography has emerged as a lucrative and thrilling career option for the burgeoning young Indian population. Every magazine, newspaper, the digital platform needs a professional photographer. Digital disruption has caused storefronts to be shifted from brick and mortar addresses to online platforms - and people have become dependent on various websites for clothing, cosmetics, food and even day to day groceries and items. This has created a huge demand for good photographers in commercial fields such as fashion, food and various products. Also, with the rise of online stores, there is an increase in photography requirements for marketing campaigns.
The demand for portraits, weddings and events will continue to rise with the growing aspirations and changing lifestyles of the growing Indian population. Even the Wedding arena has seen a certain amount of disruption from how wedding photographs were taken and delivered to what clients look for now.
Wide opportunities in Education Sector:
The growing appeal of photography is seen by the host of institutions offering diploma courses and even bachelor’s degrees. And also, by the increasing options of photography equipment being offered. In my photography academy, in the last 5 years, the change in expectation that students have had from the course is phenomenal - earlier the interest was more to pick up a hobby, and now a number of young adults want to dabble with it - to get a feel of it for a prospective career option.
Employment and jobs in photography will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
This emergence as a career choice of all age groups with a wide variety of prospective avenues it offers as compared to other careers/ professions makes it very lucrative.
Photography is all about finding something interesting in an ordinary place - it’s about the way you see things, and what effect it leaves you with. It has little to do with the things you see, and all to do with the way you see them.
Photography is a brilliant form of self-expression and requires a great deal of technical expertise. Anyone who is passionate about what photography offers can successfully make a living by venturing into this field professionally - but like any other career, the option should be willing to keep at it for a decent amount of time before you can see it translate into a successful career.
As Alfred Stieglitz succinctly put it “In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”