Kshitij Saxena at a glance
“I want to contribute to society through my skills”
Kshitij Saxena uses photography to broaden his horizons, to hone his creativity, to engage people, and to tell the stories that matter to society.
A year or so ago, I read the story of a fast-food worker who transformed himself into a much sought after photographer. Feeling inspired, I thought about what it takes to reach his level. I started reading up on the fundamental concepts of photography in an attempt to enhance my camera skills.
From then on, almost every day, I got up at dawn to shoot photos. After office hours, I processed these pictures to see the result of my efforts. I read photography blogs and participated in technical discussions. I wanted to push my boundaries in order to discover how to capture the perfect photograph.
Slowly, I loaded my pictures onto a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lightandangles/. Word got around and people started liking them. Setting up my portfolio, I started responding to the photo requirements posted online.
My first photo shoot was for an online fashion blog. Thirteen of my pictures were published. Recently, I did a shoot for an apparel brand associated with an upcoming German fashion designer for his online clothing store.
“I come from the small town famous for its intricate ‘zari’ embroidery work, which is sold for millions while the artisans who create these masterpieces languish in poverty. I wanted my photos to show the faces behind this beautiful work.”
Going forward, I helped a Bollywood dance school in Amsterdam with photos for their marketing materials. Nearby in Amstelveen, I clicked for two budding ballerinas of the Amstelveen Music and Dance School. The photos came out well, leading to a year-long project photographing the school’s ballerinas.
Recently, I participated in the Corporate Photography Contest 2016 organized by the Indian Photography Edition. From around 15,000 entries, the top 1,000 photos were selected to be exhibited at the Nehru Center in Worli, and I was honoured to be included in that list.
Portraying the lives behind intricate embroidery work
I come from the small town near Delhi called Bareilly, which is famous for its intricate ‘zari’ embroidery work. In creating ‘zari’, a skilled artisan breathes life into a dull piece of fabric by interlacing it with gold and silver plated wires in decorative patterns. The embroidery work is sold for millions while the artisans who create these masterpieces languish in poverty. While in Bareilly, I photographed a family of artisans to convey the tragedy of this miserable situation. I wanted my photos to show the faces behind the exquisite beauty we admire in this embroidery work.
After experiencing the ups and downs of photography, here is what I can share about my learning:
- It’s not the camera that matters, but the person a few inches behind it.
- The camera is just a tool. Snazzy shots can surface from any make and model.
- Anybody can click a picture but it becomes a photograph only when it tugs on the heartstrings of the viewer.
Pursuing photography adds color and zest to my existence. I am intrigued by the many ways different viewers will interpret the same frame. I admire Joe Mcnally, Richard Avedon, Steve Mccurry, Brian Duffy, Annie Leibovitz, Vadim Stein and Zach Arias, but I am also amazed by the works of amateurs. And rightly so, since all that matters is ‘The Frame’.
A superstar’s message to us all:
By sharing my story, I want to tell my colleagues to “let life happen to you”. You can beat the monotony of routine life by enjoying an interest outside of work. Take control of your time and you will be amazed at the myriad of possibilities within your grasp. Feel free to connect with me on anything to do with photography and let’s learn together!
Kshitij Saxena worked for TCS from 2010 to 2016