Piyali Haldar at a glance
Celebrating life’s picture perfect moments
Living away from home at the start of my career in Chennai, I was keen on making friends and doing something worthwhile.
Eventually, I joined a trekking group with a social conscience. We took along kids from disadvantaged backgrounds on our trekking trips to help them explore and discover nature. I was once paired with an ailing seven-year old girl who sadly succumbed to her illness soon after. Such experiences shaped my perspectives and made me realize how fleeting life’s moments are.
With this in mind, I wanted to do something outside of work life – to experience joy as well as to contribute to society. When I came back to my hometown Kolkata, I applied for a highly selective and prestigious photography course. After a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights I completed my Diploma in Photography in 2013. At the end of it, I enjoyed the opportunity to exhibit my work at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata where many of my prints were sold and distributed.
Pursuing photography, I visited the slums of Kolkata and documented life through visuals – in an attempt to reveal their plight to the world. Together with a few fellow photographers, we arranged medical and emergency resources for slum children. We also organized fundraising events using the power of our lens to point out the needs of vulnerable sections of society. This was an intensely personal experience for me, revealing a calling to serve society through my skills.
“Experiences shaped my perspectives and made me realize how fleeting life’s moments are.”
While on this journey, I also maintained a steady career path and excelled in professional pursuits. I joined TCS in 2014 and am currently based in Amsterdam. My interest lies in relating photography to societal concerns. For example, I teamed up with ‘Holland for Kerala Foundation’ who were raising funds to re-establish two flood-ravaged schools in Kerala. I raised funds by organizing photoshoots where all the money made was added to the foundation’s contribution. From time to time, I offer similar charity photoshoots for worthy causes. I’ve also set up my website to showcase my skills: http://travelenstory.com.
Throughout this journey, I’m fortunate to have achieved a few milestones. My photo story of children working in brick yards was selected and published in the Asian Photography Journal. Thanks to this photo story, I’m in touch with journalists from Bangladesh who brought more visibility to this issue.
In 2018, I won recognition in the photography competition ‘Through Your Lens’ organized by the client company I work for. My picture was awarded in the ‘Architecture’ category and placed first overall. The selected picture was published in the company calendar and was exhibited in their office premises in Amsterdam.
Also, I won first prize in the photography contest organized by the TCS-Utilities team for Global Learning Day. Expanding on TCS’ value of Learning and Sharing, I entered my picture of children for the competition which was acknowledged and appreciated for the message it conveyed.
A few of my landscape photographs gained national and international recognition which are high points in my foray into photography. I’m now constantly on the lookout for moments to capture and stories to tell through my skills. Fortunately, my husband is also interested in photography and we travel together in search of these exceptional shots.
“Photography is my creative cornerstone, a space where I relax and unwind after a hectic day.”
One of my recent interests is street photography; capturing people, cultures and traditions as it unfolds. I enjoy street festivals and cityscapes. India is fascinating because of its variety of people, riot of colors and abundance of textures. In comparison, I find order, arrangement and perfection in European landscapes. This contrast between the East and the West is intriguing, enticing me to seek out and capture images hidden from the common eye.
Photography is my creative cornerstone, a space where I relax and unwind after a hectic day. There is joy in celebrating picture perfect moments where every element is framed in flawless harmony.
A Superstar’s message to us all
To my colleagues and friends, I would like to say that it is important to find breathing space outside of work. Each day, we have challenges to tackle but we need our own space to refresh and rejuvenate. I’ve found my personal niche in photography and I’m determined to continue to capture and celebrate life’s picture perfect moments.