Aniruddha Das was born in Kolkata and is a true Bengali at heart. He loves the city and all that it has to offer which naturally makes him a huge football fan. He played the sport when he was younger and was even offered a semi-professional training though unable to pursue due to his knee injury. Out of pure love for football, he took up photography in order to get involved with the game any way he could!
Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you get started creating?
– Born and raised in Kolkata, I am a true blue Bengali. I love city and all it has to offer, which also made me a huge fan of football. I played the sport a lot in my childhood and adolescence and was even offered a semi-professional training, but due to a serious knee injury, I could not take it up. It was then, out of pure love, for the sport that I decided to take up photography in order to be involved with the game in some way or another.
Being a student of RK Mission Residential School at Narendrapur, I had the opportunity of watching the nature closely, getting inspired from the ambience there. I completed Computer Science Engineering from Kolkata, started working in Cognizant Technology Solutions, all the while working as a freelance photographer for the East Bengal Football Club, but soon gave up the former as it was photography that I always wanted to do.
Inspiro India: How did you develop interest in this field?
– As a child, I followed my father around as he captured the world, one moment at a time, using a film SLR. I even watched him develop films in the dark room, playing with chemicals to get the best result. Wanting to create something of my own made me pick up a camera, and I haven’t been able to put it down ever since! I still love the thrill of developing a negative. Even today, I shoot my personal projects, those close to my heart, with a film camera. It’s a different world out there; what a digital camera shows you is nothing compared to the beauty of the moment captured through a film camera, specially in Medium Format. Currently, I am using a Hasselblad 501c and it has become a passion project of sorts. A different story in every 120mm frame.
Inspiro India: Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?
– Being born and brought up in Calcutta, there is a different kind of love and attachment that I feel for the place. However, being the kind of city that it is, though you’ll get the most amazing subjects to capture, there is very little opportunity to take this field up professionally. In terms of the exposure the city has to offer, I felt that had I stayed there, I would have never been able to expose myself to the kind of photography I wanted to do. It’s still a little amateurish; you can pursue photography as a hobby, but not as a profession. That’s when I decided to shift to Bangalore, where opportunities are in abundance. I currently work with 22Feet Tribal Worldwide, a digital solutions provider, and this has allowed me to work with a multitude of brands across categories. Talking about the satisfaction that this field provides, I’d like to say that there is no better job in the world! Traveling, taking pictures of people and places – it is a different kind of satisfaction, where you’re content on the inside, but always hungry for more!
Inspiro India: What is it about Sports photography that interests you the most? What has been your favourite photo location in India?
– Watching a game live from the stands is one thing, being on the ground where all the action is happening is another. The thrill of sharing the same space with the best sportsmen in the country and in the world is inexplicable – you have to be there to believe it! The best thing about shooting a match live is that you don’t know what’ll happen in the next moment. You’re amidst all the action, the tension, the sweat, alone with your camera and clicking away, when suddenly you’ll get the most brilliant shot, the one you’d always wanted but never really knew how to get! Speaking of my favourite photo location in India, I was given a running project and I had to choose the location for shooting it. After a thorough research, we finalised on Gurudongmar Lake (Sikkim), which is one of the highest lakes in the world. Once there, we realised that while it was the best place to shoot the project, it would also be the most difficult! The air was thin and the temperature was low, but the pictures were great!
Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing work flow and the equipment that you use?
– My equipment depends on the kind of project I am involved with. While shooting sports, I
usually use two 1DXs with a Canon 70-200mm and a Canon 200-400mm mounted in each. It is always a struggle using two heavy systems but I prefer keeping it that way! While shooting fashion, portraits and landscapes, I like to use a Canon 5DS and in lenses, a Zeiss 35mm and 85mm and a Canon 50mm. The standard post-processing work flow is choosing the best photographs from the shoot and proof-reading the images at least twice with two different edits to get the perfect look for the project. Once the look and feel is set right (which is always the toughest and most confusing part), I choose the top 10-15 images from the lot and treat them all accordingly. This is where the artist in you comes to play – not only are you editing the shots, but actually creating the perfect photographs!
Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child?
– I always wanted to be a traveller. I love meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and exposing myself to all sorts of experiences that this world has to offer. The whole thought behind this is to grow as a person, and you can’t really do that if you’re stuck in one place all the time. When you travel a lot, you leave behind a piece of yourself wherever you go and take in a little of the place instead. Luckily for me, my work allows me to travel as much as I want, so I’m happy!
Inspiro India: What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
– I don’t just enjoy being a photographer, I love every bit of it! The feel of the equipment between the fingers is something beyond compare. The smell of the studio, the process of developing negatives, the post-processing work, the final image – it’s all a part of the job and I love it. I get to travel, see and work with new faces, visit places and face challenges that I wouldn’t have otherwise faced had I been doing something else. Photography is something so close to me that it has become more of a journey than a profession. A journey that I am proud and happy to embark upon!
Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?
– Every artist will always tell you to follow your heart, and it is true, however cliché it may sound. You’ll never be fully satisfied if your heart doesn’t get what it wants, so stick with what you do best and follow your dreams. To all inspiring photographers, I would just like to say that it is not the equipment; it is your creativity that matters. You can shoot the most brilliant pictures with a non-professional camera and a mediocre one with the most expensive and professional camera that’s out there. Become one with the equipment and know everything about it, so much so that if someone asks you to open a camera blindfolded, you’d do a marvellous job even at that!
Check out his full feature in January’16 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#24 – Download Free.