Retro Kolkata : First of all Heartiest congratulations for your selection in Retro Kolkata Magazine Green Edition. Please introduce yourself. Tell us about your background.
Amisha : Myself Amisha Raj, a 19 years old self taught passionate photographer and pursuing agricultural course. I am from a small town in Bihar where photography is not that popular. The thinking of the some people here is still the same that be a girl, become a teacher, do household chores, it is not your job to click photos, follow your passion & do photography. My family supports me and it matters the most for me & that's enough for me.
I had interest in photography since school time but I did not have my own phone, so I used to click on Father's phone. Then when I went to Rajasthan to study, I got my first phone.
Retro Kolkata : How important is photography to you? How did you start photography?
Amisha : I'd started my journey as a creator when I got my first Android smartphone and eventually documenting lots of festivals, streets and some time portraits too. Then when Lockdown took place in 2020 due to COVID-19. I opened Instagram at that time and started posting my old pictures which I had clicked. After that I watched youtube videos of good creators then practice things on how to use pro mode in mobile, different types of genre and learned a lot to get better photos.
Photography brought plenty of changes within me, I mean the overall impact it had upon me as a person.
It taught me a lot of things and gave me a chance to understand and capture the world through different perspectives.
I am very grateful that i choose this.
As a woman or a girl , photography comes in with many challenges but in spite of these challenges , the moments and joy that I experienced while capturing something with my lens is totally different and peaceful.
Retro Kolkata : What motivates and inspires you as a photographer?
Amisha : Having purpose and a plan is what motivates every photographers. For me, this is my hobby and it discovering what I want to photograph is not so driven by need. Finding out what I like to take photos of is a process. Keep an open mind about why you photograph & looking for new subjects to photograph is a best way of staying motivated every time.
Taking pictures pictures is one of the most inspiring and exciting things. It can encourage you to have adventures, facing people's, meet interesting peoples & see the world in your own way.
In my two-year experiences as a Photographer, we can be inspired by many things like lights falling on a scene or some creative and symmetrical perspective. I enjoyed to document our indian cultures and self portraits mostly and that was what would always draw my eye and inspired what I captured.
Retro Kolkata : Which genre of photography do you like and What inspires you? Which masters of photography have inspired you in your photographic work?
Amisha : As a beginner and aspiring photographer, the best thing is that you are free to explore virtually all types of photography there are.
Fashion, street, portrait etc. you can try it all out and improve your skill at the same time.
After 2 years of experience, I feel like I have more interest in documentary and self portrait photography.
Documentary photography is all about storytelling. It's the art of telling stories with a picture regardless of your subject matter.
You need to capture emotion as well as action. I like to do documents in mostly Festivals. I show my Indian cultures & festivals through the my perspective. Capturing raw emotions of our culture in real-life situation and moment in time.
But I get a lot of inspiration from self portrait photography. When I started my journey on social media, I started with self-portraits and it inspired me a lot. I am an introvert girl and posting my photos on social media by having a public account is not a small thing for me. This genre boost my confidence to face peoples around your society, power to avoid negative comments and peoples. Self-portraits gives me a sense of feeling of what it's like to be in front of a camera – rather than behind it, making you more aware of how your subjects feel in front of your lens. It gives you perspective in front of the camera & Giving Direction and Posing.
Behind every self-portrait,
There's an idea I want to convey,
A pose, a concept, a quote;
It's about selecting outfit,
It's about light,
It's about setup,
it's about expressing something that comes from within.
As an aspiring photographer, I will find that you always need inspiration from the greats who probably started out where you are. For documentary , I really inspired by Roshani Shah (Ig :- roshagulla) and For self portraits, I get inspiration from Mansiugale (Ig :- mansiugale).
Retro Kolkata : What type of camera, lenses and lighting equipment do you use?
Amisha : As I said, I am aspiring mobile photographer I had started only two years ago by clicking all this from my phone and till today I am clicking from the phone itself. Because I have to take my first camera from my savings, from my earned money and this year my dream of getting that camera will be fulfilled. I am currently doing it on Android smartphone that is realme 8 Pro, tripods and with some wide angle mobile lenses.
I don't have any lighting equipment, I prefer to shoot in natural light instead of artificial lights.
Retro Kolkata : What subjects inspire you and prompt you to look for the shot?
Amisha : In photography, the subject is very important. It is the main point of interest in your photograph that makes it clear what the image is about and what message is being conveyed by the image. Without a clear subject, the photo will be difficult to define and therefore unappealing.
The subject is the focus on the image, both literally as the sharpest point in the photograph and in a more figurative sense. According to me, subjects leads the photographer's decisions about aspects like lighting, composition, texture, exposure settings and more.
Retro Kolkata : Do you prefer black and white shots or colour?
Amisha : I like mostly colourful pictures.
Retro Kolkata : What is the best project you have worked on and how did you get involved with it?
Amisha : There are some essential qualities that can make a perfect shot for example:- Your picture should have framing, there should be some human elements in your clicked pictures, there should be perfect lighting and the shot should be sharply clicked without any unwanted grains.
Retro Kolkata : Could you please share the happiest moment in your photography life?
Amisha : As I said that I am from a small town in Bihar, there is not that much photography community people here. So once I went to shoot frames in a famous Shiv temple here during 2021 Winters with my mobile phone.
In front of the temple is the Shiv Ganga River and it had many stalls and some old Baba.As you know, I am an introvert and neither do I have a camera. Clicking someone's photos on the street like this is quite a awkward thing. So an old baba was taking a bath in the river, I took his photo, and took the photo in such a way that he did not know that I had clicked his photos. But he came to know and forgot me and asked me " beta tasveer le rhi ho kya " I was like what shall I say now? I dared to tell them that I can take your photos. Then that old baba would smile and say that " Ruko mai dubki marta hoon fir tasveer lena"after hearing this my happiness knew no bounds.
I was very happy that they let me take photos without judging me. This has been the best moment in my journey till date.