I didn’t have any formal training in theatre. I just dived right into it from when I was in school, stumbling and learning along the way. All my vacations and sometimes even working school days were spent in rehearsals. As I grew with the theatre, I realised there was no looking back. This was it.
The other thing I was equally passionate about was photography. I would describe theatre and photography as my two hands – one can’t do without the other! So, their amalgamation was inevitable. It started off with me taking a few publicity pictures or rehearsal pictures for friends here and there. Slowly it built up to a point where I started getting small honorariums for my work and I was motivated to explore more.
Clicking pictures during a play needs attention, alertness and bucketloads of patience. Back in the day, my camera shutter made quite a lot of noise. So I had to strategically take my shots when there was loud laughter or a music track was playing. I had made it a point to go to show rehearsals to map out the pictures that I wanted to capture. But there were times when my first day would be the day of the show itself and I had to train myself to still capture the best moments. I also started taking up jobs that involved shooting videos of plays and before I knew it, capturing these moments had become a big part of my life. In the early years I also did a lot of commercial and corporate work for a little more income. But it was only in the theatre where work didn’t feel like work.
Again, like everything else, it has been a learning process. Be it about lighting, design, directing or acting, I gain so much knowledge just by being behind the lens. More so because I actively archive every photo I have ever clicked to follow my growth arc. I have been in this business for about 10 years now, but documentation of theatre is something that has only recently gained momentum.
I am super proud and grateful for the team of collaborators that have been working with me for years. Be it shows or festivals, we have covered it all. The recent world situation has hit us hard. Projects are few, with pay that is negligible. My archive of over a 1000 pictures sits idle. I wait for the day I can open that treasure box and share it with the world.