Saurabh Chatterjee

1. For many professionals and enthusiasts, Photography has always been a journey of ups and downs for different reasons – may it be personal life, time, health, motivation, consistency, job, money etc., tell us what makes you consistently consistent and dedicated to this profession.

True. There has been lots of ups and down. What keeps me motivated is my passion to see our country – India.   Every new place I go to, Im so amazed at the diversity we have in terms of culture, belief, nature and landscapes. I feel, Im really fortunate to be born here.

At the age when my friends were fascinated about comics, I was interested in  reading travel books.   I remember, there was a hindi magazine – Sarita.   It carried a ‘Paryatan Visheshank’ (Travel Special Edition) and I used to collect all the cuttings of the pages and  file them, dreaming to go to those places some day.

ChandratalStarTrail

Star Trail at Chandratal Lake

2. We all know your career started a Software Engineer and then shifted to Travel Photography, teaching, blogging and many.   Share us your experiences at every stage. And what was the most exciting and the toughest part during your transformation.

I have done a lot of experiments with my life and  I am glad that my family always
supported in what I did.   I am a computer graduate.
I was always very interested in travelling and was looking for a job which allows me to travel to places. Fortunately, I got an opportunity to work with one of the best hotels in the world – Oberoi Rajvilas. I thought, working in the hotel industry will take me to beautiful places. The reality was, I got very less time to travel, though this stint transformed me as a person – to understand the value of time, being agile and teamwork.

I quit the job after 9 months to pursue Masters in Computers in Pune and later took a job in Chennai as I was always fascinated by the architecture.
I worked in the IT industry for about a decade, five years with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals,  Chennai and another five with Novartis Healthcare, Hyderabad. I used to love my job but I wanted to something more, spend more time travelling.
Just to share whatever little I know, I did a knowledge sharing session with some friends and later at my company – Novartis.  I received good feedback and it encouraged me a lot.

Even when I was in my work, I did some  workshops and taught  at schools.  After doing this for a couple of years, I decided to quit my full time job.  This was one of the toughest decisions of my life. The expenditure was certain but the income was very uncertain. I decided to take the leap of faith. Fortunately, my wife and family was always there to support me. After I quit, I travelled more than ever and still continuing.

Chitkul Village, Himachal Pradesh

Chitkul Village, Himachal Pradesh

3. We remember your tagline  “Want to make every Indian literate in Photography”. When we first heard this line, we thought it was something routine. But today we can say you are chasing your goal and surely you may be creating a record in the years to come. Tell us something about your teachings, number of sessions, course module and also ten of your best students you have mentored.

Yes, my purpose of life is to Make every camera-owner, a great photographer. I started small with some friends at my house.    Thankfully, people believed in me.  So far, I have taught more than 4000 people across the globe, most of them in organisational workshops and some in my private workshops and photo-tours. With a few recommendations, I have also conducted courses outside India through screen-sharing applications.

Till now, I have been working in a very flexible way and with short-time courses. I do Basics and Advanced courses in Photography apart from several one day workshops on Editing  in Lightroom and Photoshop, Studio Lighting, Travel Photography and How to get your Pictures Published. My Basics of Photography sessions covers one day of classroom session followed by several photowalks around Hyderabad to give the students an exposure to the different genres of photography.

 

Muharram in Hyderbad

Muharram in Hyderabad

 

I’m planning to start more courses in the next year.  My knowledge was limited when I started, so to get better, I attended many workshops and courses.  Every year, I still invest time in some trainings that make  me a better teacher. I keep improvising my teaching methodology.    Im blessed to get some great participants of my courses. There are many who are doing well professionally or as a hobby.
Robin Panigrahi and Prasanna Kumar Mamidala are two bird photographers who
have made their mark.
Trishnanta Kanjilal is doing good as Food photographer .
Goutham Reddy is a well known wedding photographer in Karimnagar.
Satish Chelluri is another who is doing great work in child photography.
Sudhakar Bichali from WeddingScapes is doing great in weddings.
Harsha Areti is a great street photographer.
Marthand K and Vijay Tarlapally won photography competitions in their offices after some guidance from me.
Varun Reddy is a dog breeder in the US and is taking amazing dog pictures for himself and doing profession work as well.
Anne Johnson works with Unicef at United Kingdom and documents her work well.
Vamsi Chennupalli is a good wildlife photographer, now also into commercial work.
Akash Chatlani is a fashion photographer.
Mayur Chandranee, Gujrathi Sainath wedding photographer
Shashi Patel is doing great work in child photography.
Aliasgar Rajkotwala is taking great landscapes.
I also trained a group of CISF staff to document at crime scenes and they are doing
good at their work.
There are many others who are doing good and with whom I have  lost touch contact.

PangongTso_193

Pangong Lake

4. Initially you had to quit your full time job and later your wife followed your footsteps and quit her job as an officer at a Public Sector Bank.    Share us your motivation for this bold step and also the support you have from your family and wife.

Our only motivation is to travel, so see India and around really well. My wife Smita is a mountaineer. She wanted to spend more time hiking in the mountains. Hence, even though she had a very enviable job in IDBI Bank, she quit to follow her passion and to live life in a more meaningful way.

 

Chandratal Lake - Milky Way

Milky Way at Chandratal lake

 

5.   Sometimes we feel you are a traveller first and a photographer next.   Tell us what are the places in India which you have ‘NOT’ visited and yet to be explored. Share us your process of planning your travel across India.

Yes, I consider myself a traveller first and then a photographer. But I have to admit, I never travel without a camera. Its an inseparable part of me.
I have not travelled to Tripura and Manipur so far, which Im going to explore this December. I have also not been to the Andamans and Lakshadweep. We have plans to visit these places next year.    Additionally, I want to go back to places I had visited about a decade ago. I feel am improving in Photography and will be able to ‘see better’ and capture when I visit them again.

Planning is a very critical part of travelling and it takes a lot of time and effort.    Most of the places I want to visit are off the touristy-circuit.   Even in the internet era, there are very limited information available in books or on the web.    Sometimes,  information is not correct. I am connected to a huge network of travelers from whom I take help in planning as well. Many times, I go even if I have less information and most of the time, I am rewarded with pleasant surprises.

Chandrakhani Pass - The Milky Way

Milky Way at Chandratal

6. You are one among the few who has witnessed the transformation of analong to digital photography. Today learning skills, technology, critiques, results are all available at finger tips. What is your opinion about virtual support, guidance and teaching versus online teaching/ sharing knowledge.

Yes, life was difficult back then. Shooting with films was an expensive affair. I started travelling, in 1995, when I was a student, I had a budget of one film a day at the max and most of the time it was disappointment. I still remember the palpitation of my heart every time I used to visit the photo store to collect my prints. There was no internet, no online forums, no youtube. I was hardly connected to any photographer. Hence, it took a lot of time to learn.
Now, I feel very blessed to be in the era of internet where you can get connected to inspiring photographers, see their work, ask for help and of course we have online groups like Photowalkers were you go out shooting together and learn from others.

I am also able to share with people, not only in face to face sessions but with anyone across the world.
So, basically learning photography has become a lot easier with technology.

ModheraSunTemple15_011

Modhera Sun Temple

7. We at ‘Photowalkers’ witnessed your journey for almost 8 years now. Tell us your  plans for the next 8 years from now and your personal goals.
My first personal goal in another decade is to travel more. I will definitely have a few Photobooks – one on India, on the festivals of India and one on Telangana, a few solo exhibitions in some prestigious galleries. Also, planning to upscale in my teaching. Also, planning for more tours in India and around the world.

 

Matheran Rainy Walk

Matheran Rainy walk

 

8. Your suggestions for all photography enthusiasts who want to make big in this field.
Keep experimenting new things. Dont just repeat the same thing even its good. Reinvent yourself.

Listen to your heart, understand what you really like to do, don’t just do what is popular or what others are doing.  Create a niche for yourself. That will set you apart from others.   Be determined to make it, no matter what. There will be failures, learn from them and move on.

MilkyWayPano.jpg

Milky Way Pano

Pandharpur Wari - The Holy Run

Pandarpur Wari, the Holy Run

0Rameshwaram Temple

Rameshwaram Temple

Dawn at Dal Lake

Dawn at Dal Lake

9. Share us one of the very first images you captured and also  some of your challenging images.

This is one of my first images taken with a film camera in 1990 during our visit to
Puri.

Puri

0PuriBeach1990

One of the first images captured – Puri Beach, 1990

10. We also love to see your early images (when you were young) and your family images which are never shared till now.

With my brother going to school, and a pic with my mom at Ganga

11. Tell us about HWS/Photowalkers @ Hyderabad and your association and share us your memories about your first photowalk here.

I have vivid memories of the first event I attended with HWS (now Photowalkers).  It was an exhibition at the Sailing Club, Tank Bund.   After that, I kept attending a lot of walks, but my most memorable one is that of the Heritage Walk with Ms.Anuradha Reddy and the Help Portrait walk where we took pictures, printed them immediately and gifted it to them. That was really very inspiring for me and its a learning I always follow even now. When I go back to places where i went, I bring back print with me.   I am really fortunate to be a part of  Photowalkers.    I made many friends  here who are now friends for life.

Best Wishes,

Saurabh Chatterjee
Cell:+91-8008633354
http://siaphotography.in/saurabh
Blog – http://siaphotography.in/blog
facebook.com/saurabhchatterje
Instagram- saurabhchatterje
Twitter @saurabhchatter

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