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An Interview With a Travel Photographer – Sanjoy Sengupta

Published by weekendtrivia on

August 19 is celebrated as World Photography Day and so to celebrate the diverse, extraordinary and versatile world and culture of photography, we shall celebrate the whole month of August with articles dedicated to Photographers. WeekendTrivia exclusive interviews with world-class photographers as well as a photography contest shall be running on our blog as well as all other social media platforms. So dive into the fest!

Starting the first round of interviews with an excellent protagonist and exponent of Travel Photography, Sanjoy Sengupta continues to travel far and wide and capture the essence of a place through his lens. Read to know more about him.

Follow him on –

Instagram – sanjoysengupta

Website – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanjoysengupta

P. S. – Copyright of all the captures in the article lies with ©Sanjoy Sengupta

The man himself – Sanjoy Sengupta

Q1: Would you kindly introduce yourself to our reader? Along with the genre of your photography and on which project are you working currently? What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A: I am basically from Kolkata, India. Did my Graduation in Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University and later did Post Graduation from IIT Bombay. Worked in India for 11 years and moved to Oman in 2004 and working as an Upstream Oil and Gas Process Design Engineer, which is my core competency.

I live in Muscat, Oman for past 15 years now, with my family of wife and two kids and two pets. My hobbies are traveling and music and like any other traveler I also take plenty of pictures as sweet memories.

Q2: What attracts you to your genre? Whose work has influenced you most?

A: Being a traveler, I am exposed to many beautiful places in the world, and automatically travel photography interests me most, as it involves people, culture, tradition, festival and landscape, nature, and everything. I have been to 34 countries in the world and wish to finish at least 50.  

However, I love to work on other genres like Macro, Wildlife, fashion, beauty, streets etc. I believe that I am very young in this field, and I still need some time to decide and focus on a particular genre. Nevertheless, I am enjoying and that’s most important to me being a hobbyist. 

Apart from the legends, I don’t follow any specific photographers, but I mostly follow the travelers and globetrotters and follow their blogs for my future travel plans.

Q3: Is it important to have any professional training to be a photographer? Did you have any at the time you set of your journey?  

A: For many of us, it’s just a hobby and we have not received any formal training. Hence, it’s very important for us to learn the basics from any sources online or offline available. It’s an added advantage if someone knows well the Science of light and has an artistic mind. 

Longtime back a famous Omani photographer taught me a very basic thing, he told me that the best camera in the world is the one which can fit my budget. Then I realised, that the real trick is behind the camera and nowhere else. 

Q4: When you go in one of your photo-shoot which one is your favorite lens and why do you prefer it?

A: During early days, I used to be a gear freak like many others and spend all my savings collecting series of lenses including the holy trinity of Nikon! Later realized every lens has a special purpose. Hence, depending upon what I’m going to shoot dictates the choice. The most used lens for a travel photographer like me is still 24 70mm focal length, for its versatility. And I do carry my nifty fifty almost always.

Q5: How do you as a photographer make sure that the thing, person or landscape you want to shoot looks the way you want it to? 

A: I try my best to arrange everything before I press the shutter. Studying the location, talking to people, checking weather, right time of the day and of the year are few very important check points.

For certain cases, come back and try. Patience is a virtue and study enough about the situation are two most important thing photography teaches you. 

Q6: Can you explain to the budding photographer What makes a good picture stand out from the average?

A: That’s actually a very interesting question! Being a judge of International photo salons organised by various countries and patronaged by PSA, FIAP etc., I am exposed to thousands of pictures in every competition with less than 5 sec for preliminary screening. So, first look always creates a long lasting impression for this very reason. A picture having stunning lights, action, dynamics, beautiful and soothing colors with controlled post processing and a powerful story line always scores the maximum and stands out from the rest.  I personally feel that’s the key to a great picture, which also makes the artist proud and happy.

Q7: From all the places that you have traveled, which one is you favorite and why?

A: I make travel plans of my choice and not by chance. Hence, as I come across any unique things of any particular country through social media, Nat Geo or news channels, about its people, places, culture, heritage, and customs, I get interested and the place goes into my wish list. 

Hence, every country I visited till date are all from my list of favorites, while it can be the Fjord of Halong bay of Vietnam or the small school on Lake Inle, or the alm giving ceremony in Luang Prabang or the architectural beauty of hanging bridge in Lankawi or rock formation in Capadocia, or a concentration camp in Auswitz.   

Q8: A “Good Camera can make a Picture perfect” do you believe this myth?

A: No, I don’t believe that ! Instead, what I personally believe is that a good camera can handle a very difficult and challenging situation in a much better way due to huge advancement of technology. 

Nevertheless, the skill set required to handle a good or a high end camera is not easy to achieve. Its like you give a Ferrai to a rickshaw puller and expect him to beat Louis Hamilton, without realising the man behind the wheel makes all the difference. 

Making a picture-perfect is a product of many parameters, and a good camera is only one of it. Man behind the camera is the most important in the whole show.

Q9: People usually think without money and exposure they can never be a “travel photographer” what do you think? Does travel means traveling in abroad only or anyone can start by exploring their own city?

A: I personally think desire is the main driving force. In today’s world, travelling is no more a costly affair, there are cheap B&B, hostels available and networking though social websites makes the world a very small place. You make friends in no time with like-minded people all over the world and a backpacker’s trip is so easy and cost effective.  

Travel can always start from your home to the nearby place and then extend beyond the borders. My aim for the past few years has remained global though I feel India is the whole world within and I am yet to explore it. Hopefully, after retirement, I will only focus in India and see it fresh thr my lenses. 

Q10: In a picture is “Digital manipulation” really required to make it perfect? 

A: It completely depends upon the genre and also on end product. For some cases, it may be absolutely required to digitally manipulate as the end product demands it. Some organizations like PSA, FIAP for photo competitions have clear cut guidelines for digitally manipulated photos which participants should follow.

I feel, for a hobbyist, one may come back and try to take more pictures in almost similar conditions, if possible.  

Q11: Which post processing software you use for your pictures? 

A: I am not a post processing guy and use Lightroom for very minimum touch up of my pictures. Though I do feel that certain genre may need good amount of post processing and certain may not.  The thin line between heavy processing and a light touch up is always a debatable issue. 

Organizations like PSA and FIAP laid out rules for post processing in certain genres like Photo Travel, Photojournalism and Nature to restrict it as bare minimum. 

Nevertheless, I feel for a hobbyist its more important to spend time on basics of photography and develop skills before shifting focus on post processing. 

Q12: Many of the photographers ask us where they find out about the salon news or exhibition news. Can you please give them some idea?

A: Today all such news are available in social media. Also, organizations have PSA, FIAP, GPU has their own websites where ‘pay and play’ type competitions are listed. Many free competitions are also organized by various camera manufacturing companies thru their websites and social media.

Q13: Name the last photography book/journal that you read.

A: Its Digital Photography by Scot Kelby. I feel it’s a must read for all beginners. 

Q14: Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with which it is possible to take pictures. What do you think is the difference between a professional photographer and any other amateur photographer? 

A: The picture-taking mode doesn’t define the professional and amateur. Professionals earn his living through it, whereas an amateur and a hobbyist are not. Hence, a professional invests in gears to handle a challenging situation and does everything to meet the clients demand, in terms of quality. For professionals client possibly dictates the gears even.

For a hobbyist, even a mobile picture shows enough clarity on a social media viewed on a 6 inch screen whereas a professional’s work goes on a 30 ft billboard. Hence, device will change as per the requirement. 

 Q15: Any quick message for our blog? Wish you a very happy world photography day! Thanks for your time!   

A: The most important thing in life is “Enjoy what you do, and Do what you enjoy”, keep travelling as the world is still an amazing place and there are even more beautiful people all around. 

Keep clicking, and Have a wonderful life ahead !

Thank you immensely Sanjoy Sir for taking out your valuable time and answering our questions.. We look forward to your continuing wonderful work.

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2 Comments

Arnab Dasgupta · August 2, 2019 at 9:36 pm

Excellent

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