I’d like to introduce Ved – a talented photographer and videographer friend of mine from Assam, whose work I’ve been following ever since I’ve met him (and worked with) at a university event in Jorhat back in 2019. A fellow traveler, he is always up for an adventure and a great conversationalist. For anyone meeting him for the first time, it is easy to spot his natural passion and love for his work – and life in general. With his go-getter attitude and an infectious positivity, I really enjoyed this chat with him.
Deno: Hi Ved, welcome to R&L! Please introduce yourself.
Ved: I’m Ved, a photographer and videographer based in the quaint little town of Jorhat, Assam. I like to believe that photography runs in my blood because both my grandfathers were very talented photographers and I’ve grown up looking at framed black and white prints of their work. I started dabbling in photography from a young age but I developed the technical know-how much later. I got my first client when I was 17 and it’s been quite a journey ever since – and of course, with its ups and downs.
Photograph by Ved
Deno: How would your friends describe you?
Ved: My friends often say that I’m demented, and I’ve learned to take that as a compliment. The thing I hear the most often from friends and acquaintances is how enthusiastic I am and how I make them want to go out and explore. I like to believe that in my own little way, I’ve made a difference in the way people live their lives.
Deno: Do you remember the turning point or an incident that led you to this profession?
Ved: I started clicking photos when my father gave me a Yashica fixed focal length film camera when I was around 8. My initial experiments were mostly shots of daily objects and events around me.
My father always appreciated my work and he used to point out how I can make it better. Around the age of 13, I submitted one of my photos for a local photography competition and won the 3rd prize. While it was not a big deal, it did wonders in terms of giving me the confidence to take up photography – both as an art, and as a full-time profession.
Deno: Everyone has their own reason for pursuing a certain hobby or profession. What is your personal reason for choosing photography?
Ved: Honestly, I have never looked for a reason to love photography – or anything I do for that matter. It just clicks, no pun intended. But if I had to answer,
..my biggest attraction for photography would be the fact that I can freeze time, moments, emotions, events, stories in one frame. Photographs can be very widely interpreted and yet, can mean something entirely different to the photographer. There’s a very intimate and personal bond I have with every photograph of mine and that’s priceless.
‘Smiles & Hardships’ – Photograph by Ved |”When you look at this picture, remember that this is a kid working when she should be spending her days playing and learning.” [Location: Mayodia Pass (2655 m above MSL), Upper Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh]
Throughout the journey, I have been learning and re-learning all I can about photography. I specialize in documentary and landscape photography, but I also indulge in the genres of portraits and travel occasionally. When I started out, I was very opposed to the idea of specializing in one genre. But with the experience that often accompanies time, I learned that each genre requires its own specific skill set. I loved traveling and building a rapport with people came naturally to me, so I began making a storyline with my photos, and that’s how my photography started.
‘The man in a red pick-up truck’ – Photograph by Ved | “I clicked this photo in Hunli, Arunachal Pradesh. I was fascinated with this man who never changed his expression..the whole time I spoke to him, smiled at him..and even took his photo. I asked if I could click a photo, did click a photo, and then showed it to him. I don’t even know if he liked the photograph.”
Deno: What has been your most memorable photo-adventure so far…
Ved: In 2015, I went on my first animal census project to Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh. I somehow felt like I belonged there; I keep going back almost every year – either as vacation or for wildlife census. I’ve made friends among the Forest Rangers there and the tribal villages surrounding the Park, and it feels like my second home now.
It’s hard to put into words why I love Namdapha National Park so much. I guess it’s just one of those places that you go to and leave a part of yourself behind.
Head Ranger of the National Tiger Protection Force (NTPF) in Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh – Photograph by Ved
Deno: What do you wish to achieve in your photography career?
Ved: I never aimed to make this my career because I have always feared that if earn my bread and butter from something that I’m passionate about, I’ll end up hating it. I guess some would say I’m very moody when it comes to photography because I click only what I want to and only when I want to. That’s why I stay away from commercial gigs. My goal in photography has always been the same: to click photos that make people stop, wonder, and think.
Deno: That’s a beautiful thought indeed. Other than photography, what is your favorite leisure activity?
Ved: I have been an avid cyclist since my childhood and after upgrading to a proper road bike in 2017, I have been obsessed with exploring places on my cycle. I have explored throughout my home state of Assam and some parts of Nagaland and the target distance just keeps on getting larger and larger. People find different ways of dealing with the trials and tribulations of life. In cycling, I have found mine. I also travel as often as I can, on as little as I can; and am always planning for the next trip.
Deno: I know that you love traveling..how many places have you traveled to so far?
Ved: Since joining college, I’ve been traveling solo almost every semester break to places around India – including Northeast India. I’m from Kanpur on my maternal side, so I’ve got ample opportunities to explore North India. The last places I’d been to were Delhi, Jaipur, Rishikesh, Dehradun, and Mussoorie.
Deno: One last Q. If you are having a bad day how do you deal with it?
Ved: I don’t have a mantra for making myself feel better. I think part of that comes from accepting the fact that there will be always good and bad days. I rarely sit back and think that I’m having a bad day. For me, it’s always about pushing onto the next day and trying to make the most of it.
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