The Blue Ocean Strategy

An Interview With Distinguished Photographer Hema Narayanan

HEMA NARAYANAN
WIDER ANGLES
Entrepreneur, Photojournalist & Writer
(m) + 91 98452 89719 | http://www.hemanarayanan.com | http://in.linkedin.com/in/hemana

1. Would you tell us more about you and your interest in Photography?

The year 2009 dawned and it was a wrap. I packed up my flourishing IT career as a Technology consultant in a suitcase, locked it, never to open it again. Instead, I took over to a new suitcase and packed it with my camera gear, pens and words and the desire to explore the world (all this, after a Master’s degree in Engineering.) In other words, I chose to pursue my passion for Photography and Writing.

Today, I am an independent Photojournalist & a published Writer and run a firm, Wider Angles. I work for reputed magazines, Indian dailies, publishing houses, and portals. I have been teaching Photography and its’ various genres (from Basics to Post processing) since 2010 in Bangalore, as classroom workshops, experiential walks or experimental field trips. Also, I teach children of The International School of Bangalore(TISB), as a co-curricular skill.

I am very happy about the ‘Experience India!’ photography journeys that I started along with my photographer colleague, Rags K S, to parts of India. I/we lead these tours, where photographers join us to witness and frame ‘slices of India. Initiated in 2013, we have trips designed to nine Indian states, so far.

In addition, I undertake commercial photography projects. I work as a licensed artist with Getty Images, Shutterstock, and a few other stock agencies.

2. Can you please tell us about the types of Photography you indulge with?

I have dabbled with diverse genres of photography. I started with Street photography (as they say, ‘Life happens on the streets’) and moved on to dwell deeper into Architecture, Landscape, Portraits and Travel photography in totality. Wildlife and Astro Photography, have been my recent additions.

As you know, I undertake Commercial photography projects in Lifestyle and home décor, Urban Spaces, Products, Real Estate and Hotels, Corporate Interiors, food and commissioned travel…

Metropol Parasol Seville Spain
Metropol Parasol, Seville, Spain

3. What is the inspiration that keeps you going?

The constant changes happening around and the beauty of the world are inspiration enough to fuel my instincts as a Photographer. There is a childlike curiosity, each time I lay my hands on the camera. Through the lens, I seem to “see” an extra in the ordinary, making everything so extraordinary. To photograph the lives and stories of people and places is truly inspiring.

One of the projects I did for CRY (Childs Rights and You), involved finding out reasons on why underprivileged children do not go to school. It had me talking to parents, children, teacher of make-shift broken schools in several slums of Bangalore. Poverty was only one of the reasons; there are much more.  My body of images is helping CRY to build awareness across India – this is a truly inspiring and a satisfying experience.

In short, the photograph and the act of photography, the experience of seeing the world through a viewfinder, to see my byline in spaces and the high I get to see my students learn, succeed and smile; keep me going.

A Delicate Balance
A Delicate Balance

4. How do you feel when your work is exhibited and viewed by tons of people?

Happy! Like any Artist would feel.
To showcase images in an exhibition is to represent a part of yourself. So, when people watch and appreciate, it’s very gratifying.

Colors of Africa
Colors of Africa

5. Can you tell us something about Photography and its inception?

Most of us know the timeline of Photography – how daguerreotype got invented way back in 1839 and how photography became more prevalent with the colour photography being possible. The way it has evolved, from there on, is remarkable thus benefiting society. For example, the disruptive Drones have enabled in recording things that were impossible before. Be it conservation, farming, natural disasters or security, we are able to find solutions to major issues using these images. It’s definitely a revolution.

6. To you, what is Photography?

A Photograph is like a souvenir – a frame to cherish and recollect, even as Time has passed by. It’s the impression of a passing moment, an expression of a perception and reflection of how the photographer perceives it.

An interesting quote by Alfred Stieglitz, an American Photographer, “In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality”  – guess this is what I am after.  I photograph, to find the subtle realities that are hidden in the spaces and subjects around us. Each time seems like a new exploration and over the years, my camera has become my companion.

Hues of Halong
Hues of Halong

7. Please share us some of your achievements in Photography Profession?

Few achievements I am happy about include:

  • Received Acceptances for 12 images in three International Photography Salons
  • Won an ‘Award of Merit’ for the ‘Temples of Karnataka’ photo contest held by Karnataka Department of Tourism (DOT)
  • Featured under ‘Student Success story’ by the New York Institute of Photography (https://www.nyip.edu/photo-articles/student-success/hema-narayanan)
  • Recognised and invited by Youth Photography Society (YPS Bangalore), to address their audience and judge a DOT photo contest
  • Won two tickets to Amsterdam in December 2016 in a fun photography women-only contest, pan-India (#EscapeContest) held by National Geographic and Jet Airways
  • Shortlisted in the ‘top-35’, in 2011 worldwide scholarships contest, held by World Nomads & National Geographic.
A Galloping Start
Even as the hooves of the buffaloes gallop into the woods of the harsh terrain of Bhuj (Gujarat), the sun’s early rise lights up the scene. The light of the sunrise was the main element captured

8. Can you tell us something about your Photography community?

My photography community started with me being a member of the Bangalore Shutterbugs (BSB) group many years ago, with most of us have gone to the Bangalore school of photography, to learn the fundamentals. A great forum to learn and exchange.

Today, the network is slightly larger – am a member of the YPS Bangalore, and also network amidst different platforms (such as photographer groups, associates from Instagram, stock agencies, enthusiasts in the city and curators). I have my student photography community – an interesting mix.

9. Can you tell us about the general response you receive in exhibitions?

Quite good. Having worked on collaborative exhibitions mostly, I hope to put out more of my work for viewing, both as cyber-exhibitions and in galleries, going forward.

The Blue Ocean Strategy
The Blue Ocean Strategy

10. What do you think about the scope of Photography in the modern Digital world?

Endless! Whichever genre of photography one specializes in, there is a great need for professional photographers in the industry today – be it in the world of advertising agencies, media, print & film media, journalism, the fashion industry, content promoters or as an in-house photographer, in established firms. Infinite avenues in the glamour industry or event photography have cropped up, involving weddings, candid shots, family photography, children, pets, portfolio and much more. Many agencies need stunning images for their website, social media, and collaterals. The career scope is plenty and is monetarily well paying too, given that the photographer is well trained and skilled.

The digital world has opened up a plethora of tools, software’s and platforms, to learn, experiment and excel. Not to forget the mobile photography revolution. For ex: To build a website, was a huge task a decade ago. Today, a photographer’s website can be setup in a jiffy – over night.

Holy Smokes Varanasi
Holy Smokes Varanasi

11. How do you feel about your association with Honeycomb creative support?

Honeycomb has a dedicated team who strive to provide quality work for us, the photographers. They constantly are in varied platforms trying to promote photography in ways they can, for example: their rolling photography exhibitions. I have known Honeycomb from the time they began, going on to being their client for printing work to being a photographer exhibiting at their shows. I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with Honeycomb.

I even recollect, Sreekumar coming over to NGMA (National Gallery of Modern Arts) to hear me speak about transformation in the photography world – this shows how involved they are.

12. Can you share us your future plans and dreams?

Just like the adage, ‘Photography is the story I fail to put into words’, I find it hard to put my dreams into words. Nevertheless, working on projects of the quality and caliber that National Geographic engages in, is a goal. As for future plans, under Wider Angles, I plan to introduce at least one ‘Experience India’ photography journey in each state of our beautiful country.

Finally, I have a distant dream as well – to chase and frame the volcanoes and tornadoes!

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