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Retro Kolkata Exclusive : Meet the Travel, People & Documentary Photographer Happy Mukherjee



I need to travel a lot to different places of India. I love to connect and communicate with the natives of these places, love to learn their cultures, daily life and to capture them through my lens. My photography has given me opportunity to know people from different provinces, know their festivals, their livelihood, their art forms, and their history & heritage.

Retro Kolkata : First of all, thank you for accepting our invitation for an interview. Please say something about you. What first attracted you to photography? When did you start shooting and how did this love for photography happen?

Happy : I am Happy Mukherjee, a professional freelance travel, people and documentary photographer and mentor from India. I worked as an Economics teacher for more than ten years, which I left to pursue full-fledged photography. I also judge national photography competitions. I am honored with prestigious distinctions EFIP, AFIAP. Till date my work has been awarded and exhibited in more than sixty countries and I also got acknowledged sixteen times Best Photographer in different National and International Photography Competitions. I have bagged more than 450 awards for my work throughout the world. My work has been published in VOGUE, Chiiz magazine, Smart Photography Magazine, Viewfinder, Asian Photography Magazine, The Times (UK), Anandabazar Patrika, Bartaman Chatursparni and many more. I am winner of Prestigious EISA Maestro Photography International Contest 2022. My photograph won Lalitkala National academy award along with many competitions like renowned World Photographer Club contest, 35 awards etc. My photo was selected as finalist in Siena Awards Contest. I got very prestigious FIAP BLUE PIN from Georgia.

I love painting from my school days and wanted to pursue studies in fine arts, somehow that did not happen that time. I think this drove me passionately towards this another art called Photography. I started photography long back as a traveller and from there the journey went on.


Image © Happy Mukherjee

Retro Kolkata : How important is photography for you? Would you have imagined a few years ago that this passion would have played such an important role in your life today?

Happy :I left my more than ten years of school job to pursue photography wholeheartedly and full time. Then photography was my passion not profession still without thinking about monthly salary habit I put down my pocket and took up camera as my love.

Actually from my childhood I always engaged myself in different art work and enjoyed my time with them. After that when I started clicking I enjoyed to be behind the camera. I love to see things differently from the camera lens. I felt it is importance in my life that’s why I took such big decision about my previous job, and I feel that was my best decision ever.


Retro Kolkata : Who and what inspires you to keep creating and exploring?

Happy :I could not take any name who inspires me to create and explore, though my husband’s enormous support encourages me lot and rest is my nature. I am avid traveler and always love to connect with new people and enjoy their culture.


Image © Happy Mukherjee

Retro Kolkata : How has travel photography enabled you to connect with locals and their cultures on your travels?

Happy :My genre is travel and people photography, so I need to travel a lot to different places of India. I love to connect and communicate with the natives of these places, love to learn their cultures, daily life and to capture them through my lens. My photography has given me opportunity to know people from different provinces, know their festivals, their livelihood, their art forms, and their history & heritage.

Retro Kolkata : Are there any unique challenges and hazards as a travel photographer when it comes to your gear? For instance, keeping your batteries charged in remote locations and preventing theft and damage.

Happy :As a travel photographer I always carry 5 to 6 fully charged camera batteries with me. I also carry a fully charged 20000mah power bank with me. I always carry a rain cover, plastics, Umbrella to handle sudden rain. Carrying a 5-point extension cord helps me for getting all my batteries charged at one go, wherever possible. While doing travel photography carrying two camera helps me a lot.


Image © Happy Mukherjee

Retro Kolkata : You have a lot of really great portrait photography. What drew you to focus on portrait photography? What value do portraits have in travel photography?

Happy :I feel portrait photography is an integral part of travel photography. Every place or province where i travel have their native population which is symbolic of that place. Through portraits I can capture different moods, actions, expressions of these people beautifully. It also helps me to capture the unique features and characteristics of their faces without which I feel Travel photography is incomplete.

Retro Kolkata : What is your dream assignment?

Happy :I want to keep capturing, keep learning and keep growing in this field of photography throughout my life. Ready to do all the assignments which comes thereby.


Image © Happy Mukherjee

Retro Kolkata : In terms of camera equipment, what are you currently using and what do you hope to add to your camera bag at some point in the future?

Happy :I am using Nikon Z6II and Nikon D750 with Tamron Lenses. In near future I want to upgrade my lenses.

Retro Kolkata : Apart from photography, do you have interest in other creative activities?

Happy :I love to do painting.


Retro Kolkata : Do you have any pieces of advice for young photographers interested in photography but who want to earn a living?

Happy :Love your Photography passionately and be honest towards it. Decide your genre and be focused on your genre. Create your professional portfolio.

Image © Happy Mukherjee

Retro Kolkata : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundaries can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.

Happy :A great initiative indeed and photographers like us should whole heartedly support you. Such single stage helps us to interact, learn, explore, get inspired and influenced from other fellow photographers.


 

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