Santosh Raj Pathak is a proud alumni of Thames. Involved in various pursuits of creative work, he is really passionate about photography. His love for the art began when he was gifted a DSLR Camera by his brother a few years back. Mr. Pathak is a prominent example of how one’s career and passion can be juggled side by side, unlike many others who give up the former or the latter in their lives. We had a rendezvous when we chatted about the nitty gritties of his life and photography.
Could you tell me about yourself and how you got started with photography?
Well, these days, every monkey who owns a DSLR camera is a photographer. I am one of these monkeys who got really passionate and serious about photography. Still, photography is my hobby and a medium to express the way I see things. By profession, I have been working in the development field for the past 5-6 years. I did my BBA from Thames Intl. College and evening MBA from Ace Institute of Management. I got into photography when my brother got an entry level DSLR camera from the US in 2013. Then I started clicking everything around me and slowly my passion got bigger. I started to realize how important photography is and how much of an impact it can have in the world.
How do you balance your job and your passion for photography?
No matter what you do, education is a must. Sadly, most of us realize its importance only later in life or once we start a professional career. I really value what I have learned from my college life, especially from Thames (apart from BBA degree, I was the president of Rotaract club, always active in literary events, drama, and emceeing). For me, education is not just about getting a degree or attending classroom lectures.
As for my job, photography plays a big role. I get a chance to travel around, giving me ample opportunities to see, learn and capture the culture, nature, people and things I come across. Photography is always that stress reliever component in my life.
What’s the “best camera” out there?
This question is a regular for me. Many people who are about to buy a camera has asked me. I believe there is nothing better than your eyes and your perspective. Before taking a picture, you need to see things, decide what you want to click, then use whatever camera you have to make a photograph. Once, a famous novelist said to a photographer, you must have a good camera because you take good photos. Then the photographer smiled and answered, you must have a good type-writer because your novels are really good. More than a camera, it’s about your passion, dedication and vision. Now, talking about camera, there are many varieties out there, depending on your price range and interest. But if you are planning to try out photography, I would suggest you buy a basic/ medium range camera and once you get hold of photography and know your particular genre in photography, then buy the professional gears
What makes a beautiful picture in your opinion?
As Shakespeare said, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Having said that, people have different ways of seeing, different tastes and preferences. Though there is no particular norms to define beauty but for me it’s all about meaning (something in a photo that moves you: smile, pain, or something unique). Most importantly, when you take any photograph, you should be happy with the output. There are a few guidelines that can help you compose photographs, understand lighting/exposures and other basics. Once you know these things you can make better pictures. But the only thing that your camera cannot do and this is what makes a picture beautiful – is your vision and perspective. Before taking photographs, ask yourself, why do you want to take that particular photo?
Do you develop an attachment to your portrait subjects?
Before taking most of my portrait subject, especially with human subjects, I prefer to talk a bit with the person, know about them, make them comfortable. This really helps me understand what I want to show in a photograph and how I should click. Actually there is always a level of engagement and attachment with most of your good photos. Revisiting those photographs always bring back those moment I have lived through. This is one important reason why I love photography. You can always revisit those moments you have lived through.
Could you tell me what practicality and passion means to you?
These two terms actually helps us define and shape ourselves. For me, I count passion first, then only practicality. It’s always the hunger in you that will motivate you to attain your goal, even the one which are regarded as impractical or impossible by many. That’s why I always love the quote from Steve Jobs “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. But yes, a sense of practicality always makes you a good listener, observer and interpreter.
What’s the most recent movie you watched?
THE JUNGLE BOOK….took me back to my childhood days.
Any favorite books?
I am not much of a bookworm but the last book I went through was “Karnali Blues”.
Once you know these things you can make better pictures. But the only thing that your camera cannot do and this is what makes a picture beautiful is your vision and perspective. Before taking photographs, ask yourself, why do you want to take that particular photo?
What is the one rule that every person should abide by/ follow in life?
For me, rules change as you move through your life. Your priorities and situation changes. But whenever you get a chance to learn new things, don’t ignore it. Ultimately it’s the experience in life that define your richness.