Mr. Manju Acharya
Mr. Manju Acharya is an avid Wildlife Photographer who is a Business Process Analyst by profession in an International Bank. For him, photography is his true passion which brings out his innermost creativity. He wants to create awareness among people regarding Wildlife conservation through his photography.
We had an opportunity to interview Mr. Manju Acharya and below we have given excerpts from his interview.
1) Tell us something about you and how you developed an interest in photography?
I’m a Bangalore based Nature and Wildlife Photographer, currently working as a Business Process Analyst in an International Bank, and I am also an active contributing artist at Artists for Wildlife Conservation (Karnataka). Being a nature & wildlife enthusiast since the young age, I catapulted to work for BBMP Forest Cell & Karnataka Forest Department as a certified volunteer engaging in various wildlife rescues and awareness programs. Thus, building my passion for photography to contribute towards wildlife through wildlife art.
2) What are the various types of photography you indulge in?
Wildlife and Nature Photography, Sports Photography, Event Photography, Product as well sometimes…
3) What is the inspiration that keeps you going?
Photography is the strongest medium to convey your perception with which I’ve been trying to create awareness or contribute towards conservation through my photographs. Adding on, Since I’m primarily a wildlife photographer, this genre further pins my passion in capturing moments that are too fast to be easily seen by the naked eye, the momentary eye contact with an animal or bird, the light in an eye and the transient light at dawn and dusk.
4) How do you feel when your work is viewed and appreciated by a large audience?
Feels very positive. Not because people have just appreciated, it is about the recognition for Wildlife Photography which isn’t widely seen in our country. Wildlife photography is not just to fuel one’s passion, it is a channel of education to our society in sharing knowledge about our rich flora and fauna. Hence, I feel very happy and proud when the audience notices my work along with the beauty of our ecosystem.
5) Tell us about photography and its inception?
The Daguerreotype invention is not really the inception of photography alone. I personally believe it’s just the mode of results that has changed with the amount of science and technology involved today. Photography starts from imagination and our composition. Even before the invention of cameras, artists used to paint their perception and now we have cameras to portray similar results. Thus, I think the history takes us all the way back to when humans started to imagine their perception towards subjects along with their unique compositions as every photographer isn’t the same because every composition can’t be the same.
6) What, according to you, is photography and how do you perceive it?
Photography to me is the STRONGEST MEDIUM to convey a message. It’s a POWERFUL TOOL to express. My aim is to use photographs as a powerful medium to create awareness, conserve nature and to contribute to wildlife. A picture stays longer and makes a bigger impact than words. A combination of both will stay forever and is expected to make a change. Everybody has a camera today or at least mobile cameras, but photography isn’t for social networking alone. It can contribute in various areas for example – Documentation of a subject or scenario, scientific studies through comparison of a subject from past, present and future, behavioral studies, creating awareness and also a sale of art towards conservation. Every photographer can contribute towards any area mentioned above because it’s not the big lens, rather is called the creative sense.
7) Please share some of your achievements in the photography profession.
Featured across multiple national and international level periodicals like Smart Photography, Sanctuary Asia, etc.
Sale of my wildlife photographs has contributed over 1,00,000 INR towards Earth Brigade Foundation, Wildlife Trust of India, Mariamma Charitable Trust for Key Wildlife Conservation purposes.
Finalist for Sanctuary Asia – 2017 Wildlife Photography Awards.
Placed second in the national level competition conducted by sprouts India, Pune in support with Saevus in 2015.
Ranked among top 10 photographers in India from a national level competition conducted by Forum group in 2014.
3rd Price in the national level competition conducted by Friends of Elephants in association with Darter – 2018 for contribution to wildlife through photography.
Ethics in Wildlife Photography sessions conducted in and around Bangalore during 2017/18.
Judged various photography competitions conducted by various photography institutions like Jain University, BMSIT, Acharya Institutions, Sapthagiri College of Engineering, MES College, Don Bosco Etc during 2015/18.
8) Tell us something about the photography community you belong to.
I love being part of the most criticizing/genuine communities along with any community that serves some purpose because that’s what makes us better tomorrow. But then I always believe experience and experimentation are the best teachers in art. While learning art, steps can’t be skipped but can rather be fastened through positive acceptance of genuine feedback. Thus, I’m a part of very few communities where I enjoy discussing, criticizing, appreciating elements in a photograph and not take things too seriously. Art should be fun because that’s what fuels one’s passion to keep going and enjoy what they do… It’s also saddening to see how the current trend is, as it’s mostly “Appreciation for an Appreciation”.
9) Tell us about the general response you receive in exhibitions.
It’s highly unpredictable. So far from my experience, I would say it depends on the gallery and chosen crowd. Art isn’t appreciated the way it was, and response crowd isn’t the same as well due to immense technology, where people like to spend more time on Instagram than being at the gallery and spending quality time with true artists. Being active contributors to ‘Artists for Wildlife Conservation Karnataka’ (AWCK), people generally take a walk and leave. But those who have an interest in photography, spend productive time, speaking to artists about the subject, location, composition and plan ahead which feels nice and brings in positivity to do more. Exhibitions are not for sale of photographs alone, it has more to do with awareness and networking opportunities an artist gets to create. So, I’m happy with every exhibition, though the response or results are highly varying.
10) What do you think about the scope of Photography in the modern Digital world?
There is immense scope in most of the photography genres but finding the right platform is challenging. Every guy and his brother are photographers today with increased buying power, the technology of good cameras in mobiles, etc. Ethics are barely considered as the objective is only to make a good photograph, which means the supply is high against demand along with huge competition. I think scope only comes into the picture if photography weighs more towards profession than passion. Yet, opportunities are high, and one should capitalize when provided adhering to basic ethics.
11) How do you feel about your association with Honeycomb creative support?
Being a Nature & Wildlife Photographer, color matching is what I’m always keen about during printing and honeycomb has aced it every time in providing me 99% match all the time. They are quick, adaptive and flexible in their approach which is highly required for client satisfaction. Since the first output from Honeycomb, I’ve printed nearly 30 prints of different size varying from 0.5 ft – 4ft larger side and different mediums like Enhanced Matt, Premium Luster, Hahnemuhle Canvas etc and have been highly satisfied. I’ve always recommended them as I prefer quality and client satisfaction over money.
12) What are your future plans and dreams?
I wish to be a full-time Nature and Wildlife photographer contributing towards awareness, cause, documentation, behavioral studies through challenging projects. The plan is to find the right platform and work towards involving a basic understanding of our wildlife in our education system for kids below 10th grade through the strongest medium of photographs and documentaries. A couple of decades from now, I would like to settle in the woods for a peaceful living…