Why am I a portrait photographer is because of a reason and an incident that happened in my life very recently. I came across someone and during a very casual conversation with him, he actually opened up my eyes and guided me to the correct direction. I realised that I was directionless and I got to focus on my skill set and my field of interest.
It was until March 2018 while I believed that I was doing great with my photography. I was taking photographs with a DSLR since 2015 but that was mostly a hobby. Though I used to capture some very good photographs and people used to like my work but I was still not satisfied with it. The only best thing that I did was that, I always clicked in the manual mode and never ever tried to make that easy auto mode a habit, like what most beginners do. In 2017, photography was the only thing I was left with, that could've helped me to earn my bread and butter as I had no other immediate options.
There was a point where I was doing everything, like I was clicking photographs of everything, being it kids, male and female models, historical buildings, interiors, exteriors, pets, landscapes, portraits, nature and wild life. I believed that I was pretty good at clicking almost everything and while people used to like my work, it kept me motivated.
In February 2019, I had a guest at my home from Paris, France. His name was Donetien Barraud and he was more into spirituality than religion. He loved conversations on spirituality and this was a subject of my interest too, so we had some lengthy discussions over spirituality, God and religion. It was indeed a great learning experience, to be getting to know a new perspective over the subjects of my interest.
We were in our living room where just a few of my photography works are displayed on one of the walls. He admired my work and said that he'd love to see more of it. During those days I had just an instagram profile that comprised most of my work. He opened my instagram profile on his iphone. He kept scrolling down the images, with a confused look on his face.
He looked up and asked me for what was my skill set of photography. I didn't get what was he trying to ask me as all that I knew about myself was that I was a versatile photographer, atleast that was what I used to believe. He scrolled on photographs and stopped at a few and said that they were amazing shots but then he scrolled and stopped at a few and said that he would not like to see such work and wouldn't expect such ordinary work from any photographer.
He told me that I was clicking almost everything while I wasn't actually getting a hold upon any skill set perfectly. He further told me that after seeing my profile he believed that I was a portrait photographer and that I loved capturing portraits. I smiled and agreed to what he said while I still believed that I was doing great and may be he had never seen such amazing versatility and so he wasn't able to appreciate my work. At the end of the conversation he said that my instagram work profile was pretty distracting, like my work lacked motive and focus.
This was something that I got to hear from someone for the first time. This moreover sounded like a rejection. He left the very next day and I welcomed another guest to my home but his words kept bothering me. I gave myself sometime, like what I always do, like getting angry in the beginning and then settling down to give a thought and analyzing the instance, conversation, criticism or a situation. I analysed every word that he said and matched it with my instagram profile.
I realized that whatever he said was true. It wasn't that I fell to his perspective but while seriously looking into my work, I found that I was more into portraits and portraits were something that I loved to capture. The moment I was away from my subject, I used to loose the much needed content and feel of the photograph. I was good at capturing expressions and faces.
I smiled and almost laughed from within for that was a eureka moment for me, as I discovered my skill set and my happiness. Yes, portrait photography was my skill set and capturing portraits used to make me happy. I was startled for howa critical suggestion from Donetien helped me to discover my subject of interest. It was that day that I started establishing myself as a portrait photographer and I gave every effort to get a hold on my skill set.
From then I never looked back or gave a second thought about changing my skill set. Definitely a friendly and critical suggestion helped me to find myself. I often wonder how life brings some eureka moments of self discovery to me. I'm still discovering myself but this was surely the only reason why am I a portrait photographer.