Richa Nag has chosen an unconventional career unlike most of us
Richa Nag, a girl from Baijnath, a small town in Kangra Himachal Pradesh is doing what only a few have the guts to do, she is following her passion. Recently we caught up with this amazing clicker. And here is an online interaction we had with her.
- First of all, for our audience, we would like to request you to give us a brief introduction about yourself?
RICHA : I am Richa Nag, from a very small yet spectacular town of Himachal Pradesh, Baijnath. I have done my schooling from Mount Carmel and Bharti Vidyapeeth Baijnath. I did my graduation in Physics from Panjab University, Chandigarh. My career took a new direction when I got into my dream college, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT–Chennai), for my post-graduation in Fashion Management. My Father retired from govt of HP as Chief Botanist and my mum retired as a lecturer in Political science. My brother is doing his post-doctorate from IRAI, PUSA and my sister in law is also from the similar field. Last but not the least, my almost 1-year-old niece who is chilling and living life like a boss. I am currently pursuing photography as a full-time career and also investing my time in other things that I love, like art and craft, travelling.
- Photography is one such thing which everyone with a DSLR thinks he/she could do. Yet your uniqueness in your art is something which fetched you over 40K followers. What is your vision when you click the picture? What is your idea of capturing “the perfect moment”?
RICHA : Well, that’s one of the major struggles. I mean when I tell someone that I am a photographer, no one takes it seriously. Often I get replies like, ‘ yeah many of my friends are photographers too’. And then after they leave, when they check my social media accounts, then they message me appreciating my work. This struggle is real. There are so many people around projecting themselves as photographers that it gets real hard for us to prove that we are different from them. Photography is an art and art is relative. You may like something which others will hate and vice versa. Hence, its an individual choice about who can be called a photographer or a dslr owner.
When I am on shoot I have this constant smile on my face, because I can foresee the final image in my head. I like to capture moments, and not poses. The key is to indulge yourself fully, and enjoy the shoot with the client. And that’s when I am able to click their real emotions. The so called perfect moment is never planned. It just happens. And it happens in the most unexpected manner at the most unexpected time. You just have to wait for it and click the magic button. That’s it.
- You could have done anything else, then why photography?
Richa :Photography has been an integral part of my life. I have seen its obsession running down through my family, from my father to my brother and finally me. It was 5 years back when I knew this was it, after I took a 3 day photography workshop. I remember promising my friends a portfolio, even when I didn’t have a camera and had my business cards and brochures ready months before I actually bought my first DSLR camera. I had to anyhow make it happen. It was my passion which I wanted to make into a career for myself. Nothing else was ever a passion, hence photography.
- Everyone knows that even as a hobby, photography is expensive. How did you manage it?Family support or you did it on your own?
This is so true, you can never be rich if you are a photographer. With everyday advancement in equipments, you can easily fall into tempting game. It was not an easy start and yes my family supported me But I also took a loan to buy my equipments. I took loan from DIC(District Industries Centre) at Dharamshala of Kangra under Prime Minister employment programme. To be honest, if someone is looking to start up a business, this is really good scheme offered by our government to ease out financial backup for the business.
- What was the best assignment you worked on? What was it which made it so special for you?
Richa :Best assignment, umm that’s a difficult call. So many of them are close to my heart, and it’s hard to pick one. Still, the best one remains the first engagement that I covered in Himachal. It got converted into the wedding assignment later on. I shot that one in Palampur. It will always be my favourite for reasons more than one. It was a show time. My parents, My teachers, My Friends, everyone was there. And I was nervous. Coming from a town where such non-conventional career choices are always questioned, it was a big deal for me. But the amount of positivity that I received that day was a ray of hope that thinking of the people in Himachal is changing.
- Himachal is a small state and people seldom fails here in realizing their dreams and likewise in India, people give up their dreams to fate but you continued and your journey has just started. Would you like to share your story that how this love for photography dwelled and how you nurtured it with time?
Richa : Photography has always been there. I had this small handy cam and then a point and shoot in my school days. But it was just a hobby or even less than that. I have always been very particular about what I wanted to do, especially on the career front. After I completed my schooling, I was given an option of either do engineering in Himachal or a B.Sc degree in Panjab University. I didn’t want to do any of those but still I chose the latter because it would offer me a lot of exposure to further make better decisions. I attended a photography workshop in Chandigarh by Sutej Pannu. The appreciation I received for my photography boasted my moral. I further went to NIFT to pursue my post-graduation in Fashion Management, where I learned about business and entrepreneurship. I made my projects on being a photography entrepreneur. I Opted out of placements and left a Pre placement Offer to pursue photography. I didn’t start photography thinking about my financial security but about the inner satisfaction. When I started photography I started experimenting by shooting random people and tried landscapes, nature, food, street. Eventually I discovered about my interest in wedding photography and finally made a career choice of being one. Ever since, there has been no looking back. I never learned the skills from anyone, but I observed work of many.Every photographer that I have met, has taught me something. It has being a process of constant trial and error and being open to learn and most importantly never giving up.
- Not being anti-feminist but girls who “get out of closet” gets a lot of obstacles here in our society, how you dodged them? Who/what were /are the inspirations which got you going? Can you name a few such people for us or narrate such incidents.
That’s true. When I used to say that I want to be a photographer, I did not receive positive response from many. Most of them were like ‘Richa, you were good in studies. What happened suddenly?’ Many were like ‘Ye sab hobbies hi theek hain, job karo’ then few questioned grinningly ‘Kab tak kar logi?’ This has happened in the past and I hope not, but this will happen in the future. But amidst all this, was support of my brother and my friends and eventually rock solid support of my parents, specially my Mom, that I went forward. The Himachali wedding I covered in Palampur that I mentioned earlier, I was initially reluctant to take that assignment, fearing the feedback and “char baatein” from local society. I had almost declined, when my Mom told me to just concentrate on my work and not care about people. The transition of their support has gone up from laughing at my choice of career in the beginning, to boasting about it to people now. They do get worried with my solo travel for various assignments across India, but their support is massive. And when family and friends are backing you up, I don’t think you need to worry about anything else.
As for inspirations, I follow photographers from around the world. Their stories and their work have been like a literature for my photography. I used to save their photographs and study them, thinking about doing the same someday. Between all of this, it was just the support of my close friends and my brother that got me going. They pushed me, pampered me and criticised me and most importantly they kept me grounded. I remember being anxious before my shoots and sometimes telling them that I wanted to quit. But they never let me.
- When are you future plans? How are you gonna make it BIG?
I’m not a person who plans things. I like to let things be and go with the flow. I just want to keep enjoying what I do, and not reach a stage when I don’t have time to live my moments. That’s the only moto that I live by.
- Knowingly or unknowingly, you are now an inspiration for our small state people, especially girls. How do you feel about it? Do you feel a sense of responsibility towards society now? What is your message for all the young beautiful girls from the state who have vision and dreams in their eyes.
Inspiration is a big word, which comes with great responsibilities and I didn’t know I am one now. Well I think I am just overwhelmed because it’s a huge thing in itself. When I know I inspire a few, I ll sure be taking up the responsibility of doing better in my field and bringing out more people from our state to follow their dreams. My message to the youth would be “ Just do it. People will question you , stop you or discourage you. But you don’t have to stop for them. It will not matter when you succeed in it. Do the things that make your soul say Hell yeah, This is it”
- Many want to be in the industry you are in, any special message for them? So that they can be just more than a DSLR owner ;p
This industry is pleasing and tempting, but just from the outside. But when you get into it, it requires a lot of hardwork. It demands a lot of patience and countless sleepless nights. Don’t choose it just for the sake of glamour. Choose when you are sure and ready for the true taste of it. Generally people just see the amazing profile pictures and travelgrams of photographers and assume their life to be uber cool and easy. But it is not. Rest, keep trying, keep practicing, be original and unique. Don’t copy. It’s an art. You won’t survive with plagiarism. Don’t limit yourself by clicking only one genre. Keep exploring and experimenting. And finally discover the genre that’s meant for you.
- Your message for the youth of the state.
Richa :Get out of the closet. Don’t get trapped in the rat race. Pursue all your dreams and stay rock solid in your decision. JUST DO IT. I promise you won’t regret.
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