Anirban Banerjee: The Wandering Photo-genius!
Photography is an art which helps you capture anything you feel is important to remember. One photograph is powerful enough to not only remind you of an event or detail but can bring you right back to the place where it was taken. It brings back the feelings, sounds, and even smells of the moment.
A photograph can be very strong. It may inspire some, change someone’s views, shake someone’s ideals, educate, and likewise, inspire others to act, etc. They may invoke natural species ‘ innermost emotions such as fear, anxiety, love, need, affection etc. Also, not only do photographs affect personal lives. they can affect the public as a whole- a good photo is equivalent to a thousand words and emotions!
Anirban Banerjee is one of the most premier landscape photographers in India. His love for travelling and spending time outdoors is the raison d’etre behind his work and its perfection. His brilliant picture capturing the gorgeous land of North Sikkim was published in the National Geographic Yourshot for its brilliance and beauty.
It takes a lot to start off on your path to be a photographer but it calls out to you. Anirban’s career is proof enough, “Since 2010, I’ve been the bass player of progressive/groove metal band Yonsample and that had me travelling throughout the country extensively. And I’ve always enjoyed adventure riding and hiking. Around 2012-13 when I was graduating from law school, I started getting influenced by the works of fine art landscape photographers and started experimenting with my first DSLR.”
He further adds, “At that time, there was hardly anyone in India shooting landscapes exclusively, barring maybe a couple of photographers. I kept reading about all these interesting places within the country while doing travel research, but couldn’t find proper photos shot with good cameras. Exploring and shooting fresh perspectives, in terms of landscape images of the subcontinent, was very exciting and it still is.”
Every photographer has a location that holds a special place in their hearts. Anirban believes that’s true because according to him, “My favourite place to shoot in India is Changthang plateau/Ladakh and as a whole, I’ve spent more than thrice the amount of time shooting and hiking/riding/driving the western Himalayas, vis-a-vis the east.
But he believes that this doesn’t take off the spark from the other places, “Maybe I should indeed travel the sister-states more. I made it to Arunachal only as recently as last year and yet to visit Mizoram and Tripura!”
When it comes to picking favourites Anirban adds, “I think my favourite has got to be the image of the winter milky way rising above the Hanle observatory. It took a lot of time and efforts. While the convincing required to get permission for shooting there took effort, the most challenging part was dealing with weather conditions, as it often is in outdoor photography. At 27 degrees below zero, any exposed or inadequately covered part of skin immediately starts to have a painful burning sensation, so setting up a tripod and shooting long exposures in the dark while being mindful of the composition was difficult and I was quite happy with the results when I got back home and processed the raw files.”
Everyone has their own special style when it comes to photography and Anirban agrees, “My style is strictly no people or animals! I’m being candid but look, I think photography or any other creative pursuit is an evolving process, both at the micro and macro level. The galleries/feed that I have, a viewer may associate that with a certain style or may not, and all that is quite subjective.”
He further adds, “As such, I don’t attach much importance to stylistic choices and let it happen intuitively. I use very standard landscape shooting techniques such as using ND filters of varying strengths, shooting long exposures, making panoramas, employing wide-angle lenses and so on. In terms of editing and colour grading RAW files, 99% of it is dodging/burning and playing with white balance, local contrast etcetera.”
Anirban thinks that people who wish to be a photographer should understand certain things, “Look, everyone has their own unique path to improvement, photography or otherwise. Anyone looking to learn landscape photography. According to me, one should devote 4-7 hours of a day for it. 70% of this time can be allotted to viewing, discovering and enjoying new photos and artists.”
He further adds, never thinks that any other photographer is inadequate as compared to you, “Learn from everyone and keep your mind open, this is the sine qua non, as is developing curiosity and passion for the natural world. Rest to reading books and articles based on photography, design, aesthetics, cinematography and watching tutorials to learn new techniques. This considering one is not out shooting, if so then the golden rule of landscape photography applies i.e., try to avoid visiting or shooting places of interest mid-day if the weather is sunny and cloudless. Never give up on your dream.”
As for whether his journey feels fulfilled and he always wanted to be where he is today, he adds, “That is a tough question, I think it’s both yes and no. Let me paraphrase Schopenhauer here, “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.”
With his passion for nature and landscapes, his talent for photography and zest to wander and explore everything, Anirban Banerjee’s work undoubtedly captures the best of what Indian landscape photography has to offer and we wish him the best of luck for everything.
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