Returning with the follow-up series of wedding photographers, today we feature another passionate photographer from Manipur who took years to pursue his passion, constantly on the path of learning, now stands as an inspiration. Wedding photography being one among his photo genres, he believes wedding is an unique story of two people and is delighted to have the opportunity to capture it.
Born in Wangoi, Imphal and educated at St. Anthony’s School Shillong, Manoj Sagolsem graduated from Delhi University and went on to work in a corporate company for eight years in the capital until one day he decided to drop everything for the passion of photography and move to Dimapur. Abstract expressions on faces and abstract emotions in the soul attract and inspire this photographer to document and compile his images.
- When did you start taking pictures?
One fine day I decided quit my job all for the sake of my passion for photography. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. My family and friends thought I was insane. At one point, I had to go back a mainstream profession. I worked at Education Research Organisation for a year but I continued pursuing my dream of photography. I had no theory or technical knowledge. It was pure, mad passion and obsession.
My photography classrooms were the streets of Delhi for the next two years. I would go out and shoot about 25,000 to 30,000 pictures per week, and believe me none of the pictures I shot made sense. This went on for almost a year. My first learning on photography were how to get all the wrongs shots. By the end of 2010, I had learnt so many ways to take a bad photo, that it actually helped me see my mistakes. I learnt my craft through rigorous trial and error and would always be on R&D mode (research & development).
- When did you take your passion into a professional level?
In due course of time, a handful paid assignment shoots happened for me; but mostly it was free assists for music and events and documentations. Those free assists where I filled in as sub photographer were a blessing for me because I learnt to hone craft though that. I had a little money, so it was a struggle to get myself a good camera.
I struggled and worked my way up for three years before I got my first assignment of Rs. 4000 for covering a sports event at New Delhi. The event lasted for eight hours! My first big assignment happened when I got the opportunity to cover International rock band, Hoobastank live in New Delhi. That was a big leap for me professionally. It was 2013 and you could say that was my graduation ceremony and I became a full-fledged photographer.
- What are the types of photography that you do?
Wedding photography is just one part of my profession. I also shoot events and programmes for/at schools institutes, commercial shoots, life style, documentations, fashion and I also help with photography workshops and courses.
Initially, I started as a concert photographer and I loved shooting musicians, being able to bring out their character in action. I enjoyed capturing the raw character they exhibit on stage or while making music. And I still love to do concert photography. I get the opportunity to shoot weddings at various parts of the country. I travel quite a lot not only for wedding but for other photography assignments as well.
- Why is wedding photography special for you? Share the most memorable wedding you have shot so far.
Wedding photography happened at a late stage in my life. The trend had picked up and was moving fast. There were others who had already made a name for themselves yet I decided to explore that part of photography for many reasons.
I got to Dimapur in 2014 for a few wedding assignments. Fortunately, I had some very good friends here who helped me wedding photography deals/assignments. Working on that, I got deeply attached to the city; and the city has been very kind to me people in Dimapur have always appreciated my work and encouraged me.
All weddings are memorable to me because each wedding has a unique story about two souls and I get the opportunity to capture that unique story.
- How do you work out your wedding assignments?
It’s very simple. I try to understand what client needs or requires. Then, I prepare my own list and see how I can deliver exactly what the client wants from me. It’s about striking a balance with the client’s desire and my passion for art. We usually end up striking the right chord!