A true Banarasi lad from the heart, mind, body, and soul, Abhishek aims at sharing all the possible shades that Banaras could offer. Seen, unseen, explored or unexplored, cultural and religious values and whatever the form is; Abhishek Singh (shades_abhishek) treats himself as a medium to spread it across boundaries due to immense diversity amongst all which cannot be found in any other city. Here is an excerpt from the conversation he had with Basicsfoto.
Tell us about your beginning as a photographer.
I cannot put a particular date when I started it but I guess photography seeds were sowed at the time when I was in class 9th and my family got our first ever camera that was the REEL camera just to capture special family moments. As a child, I use to see a lot of tourists coming from all around the world in Banaras just to click photos with their video cameras or DSLRs and use to document everything which made me very curious about what is it in this place that people from all around the globe are drawn towards it. When I read more about Banaras and interacted more with locals I got to know that Banaras is truly incredible in all the sense be it it's culture, religion, sunrise, sunset, roads, foods, or unique type of ghats. Later when I started my professional life I bought my 1st ever DSLR of Canon and started capturing whatever I liked and since then there was no looking back.
You have pursued engineering. What made you switch?
There was never a switch that happened between engineering and photography. Photography is not something which I am doing professionally, it's my passion and hobby which I do once or twice in a week and it gives me happiness. That's the reason why I don't like to be called a photographer because I don't do it full time so there is no professionalism attached to it. Also, I have not done any commercial projects except one or two. My personal and professional life is very different and not at all related to photography.
Your photography is generally associated to Varanasi. How do you feel about it?
I take immense pride and honor in devoting most of my photography work to this place Varanasi. I feel indebted to my Janmabhoomi (birthplace) and Karmabhoomi (workplace) which makes me explore it more and more. I want the greatness of this land of Kashi/Banaras to reach as many people as possible and they should come and visit this place and further spread it across.
How long have you been a photographer?
It’s been 4 years now since I properly and consciously started it in 2016
Can you tell us about your achievements in life regarding photography?
My achievements from Photography is that it has given me recognition, popularity (not much though), familiarity, and a very few times commercially. It has made shades_abhishek a name with which people connect. Real achievement comes when people sitting in different corners of the world also like your work and recognize you even though we have never met. So this mix of the real and virtual family is my biggest strength.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I don't believe in any style or genre of photography. I basically click what I like and not much bothered about people labeling me into any box of style or genre. I want to explore all the styles.
How important do you consider the role of the internet and social media for a photographer?
Both are extremely important in order to guide and give directions to the one who wants to get into it. You see, observe and learn, simple. YouTube is the game-changer here as almost everything is here. All sorts of tutorials, tips, and tricks are available. Just practice each day to derive the benefit out of them.
What do you usually do when you are not photographing?
I have my personal & professional life & I am enjoying it
Is there anything else you want to share with your fans and followers?
Always stay positive and don’t fall into the trap of Instagram. Always remember It’s a platform to enjoy your photography so don’t be the part of a blind race of likes and followers.