Venturing beyond the familiar

I have been fascinated by the power of the photographic image ever since I first saw Eugene’s famous photo from Project Minamata, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath

“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.”
W. Eugene Smith

Inspired by the words of Eugene, I too found photography has unlimited potential.

I have been fascinated by the power of the photographic image ever since I first saw Eugene’s famous photo from Project Minamata, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, 1971. I was mesmerised that a simple picture could communicate such sadness, such power and such emotion. From the moment I held a camera in my hands, I knew I had found my calling as a photojournalist. The power of visual storytelling captivated me, and I embarked on a journey that would take me where I have never imagined.

Behind the lens, I have found my comfort zone—a place where I feel at ease, capturing stories and communicating through the power of pictures. Stepping out of my comfort zone was a goal I wholeheartedly wanted to pursue as a budding journalist. As someone once said to me “I want you to be a Multimedia Journalist not just a photojournalist”.

I sought to challenge myself, pushing beyond familiar boundaries to cover stories that lie outside my comfort zone. The prospect of working a feature story at this time for my assignment stirs within me a captivating blend of excitement and fear. Many ideas came on my doorway, some were more forcefully than others and faded away easily but the powerful one remained. My aspiration was to bring an important topic to the table in a compelling way that can spark conversation and make a connection with the audience. Being closely following the hearings on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in India, I couldn’t help but recognise the immense relevance and significance of this topic in our Indian society. As a journalist, I felt motivated to cover this story and make it a subject of my narrative.

Coming from a traditional Indian society where candid discussions regarding the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community are still uncommon; I felt a strong need to learn more about this subject. However, I faced a major obstacle right away: people’s unwillingness to share their stories. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to experience significant societal pressure and discrimination in our culture where taboos and stigmas still exist. As a journalist, this presented a unique hurdle in my pursuit of conducting interviews and shedding light on their stories. Since the topic was so delicate, I treated my work with the utmost respect and understanding. I realised that winning people’s trust would be essential to motivating them to be honest and share their stories. I held in-depth interviews with each person, emphasising the significance of the story and its purpose. Despite the limited number of interviews, each story I was able to record stands as a strong testament.

It is in these moments of growth and exploration that I have discovered new perspectives, expanded my horizons, and embraced the exhilaration of capturing stories that motivated me to evolve both as a person and as a journalist.

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