Imagine a beautiful dawn. The first rays of the sun were just teasing the sky with his gentle warmth, a subtle foreplay. The sky, in turn, blushes a gorgeous shade of pink, orange, and crimson. And just like the lace veil of gossamer silk that covers a bride's face, a gentle layer of fog, covers the lush green tapestry made by the leaves, each of them sweating their night’s hard work as dewdrops. But all of these looks blurred, compared to the lone woman that stand amidst them. She is draped artfully in a saree of an earthy tone, the brown of it merging to the soil below as though the woman had sprouted from beneath, her lush black hair gently cascading down her shoulders in soft swirls. An orange Daffodil rests near the back of her ear, and she is lost in the serene beauty that surrounds her, her sculpted face painted with a smile of complete content, her eyes closed as she memorizes the beauty of it all. It becomes a moment frozen in time, etched in memory for all eternity.
And has the unmistakable watermark that says "Anita Kamaraj!"
I met Anita in one our foodie meets, and I remember being surprised when she introduced herself as a photographer. Yeas, we women are taking up and making a mark in a lot of fields, but photography is still a field that we are yet to explore to it's fullest potential, and it's not every day you get to meet a woman who is a professional photographer and looks confident and completely at ease holding a professional camera. I was duly impressed. When I decided to compile this series, her name was the first one I wrote down along with the first question I would ask her
“When did the passion for Photography start? When did become your profession?”
“Photography always excited me since I was a kid.
The technology which can capture and print a memory intrigued me a lot. When I was around 8 or 9, my parents had gotten a polaroid camera, and that minute which a picture came out of the camera, I knew I was going to have an intimate relationship with that gadget.
I liked what I chose to study, engineering and journalism. But those weren't enough for me, those didn't complete me, the jobs weren't what I was looking for! The work started to exhaust me mentally and exhaust my creative sense or the urge to do something new. It would be 3 years since I started doing it professionally" she smiled.
I first started noting Anita’s work in my Instagram handle when Subhiksha Venkat and few other friends began to some breath-taking photographs that captured their essence and the nature around them with such depth and character. It needs the right light, posture, setting, mood and so many other nuances to get it right, and it is more challenging in outdoor photography where many of the factors are not under your control.
“How do you manage them all? How do you design and style your photographs?” I questioned, my curiosity evident.
“Outdoor fashion shoot is fascinating and fun. We don't style a photograph per se. We decide on a concept then pick clothing and relevant hair and makeup and choose a model who will pull it off, and we just go to the spot and start shooting, once you figure out the angles it's easy to go forward with the shoot.” She replied with a shrug and a smile.
There are various genres in photography, and Anita loves and specializes in food and fashion photography, and she claims the former is her favorite. And Anita's photos have such a sense of a life of in them, that you could almost smell the faint aroma of the delicacy her lens had captured. What would run in her mind every time she gets clicks a picture! I wondered.
“What do you say to yourself, every time you get behind your camera?” I asked her,
“Not kidding, I don't think anything when I get behind the camera, but at sometimes there would come beautiful frames in them, and my heart would just flutter, and it is why I chose Photography!” she beamed.
Such passion is the only ladder that makes one soar heights, against all the odds. It is the only light that drives one through tough times, makes one excited and hopeful of the future. What would be Anita's way forward from here, I wondered.
“I honestly don't know where it is going to take me. But I do want to establish myself in the field of food Photography. For now, I am happy with the journey. It is scary at times, because of the insane amount of competition in the field. To be noticed, one must do things consistently yet differently” she said, her voice resolute.
My admiration for the woman spiked up sharply, bolstered by her succinct answers, her chilled-out personality, and her beguiling smile and as I drew close to the end of my interview, I could feel my heart expand with pride with pride thinking all my amazing women so far. I realized this would be the final time I ask my last question and it is a memory that would remain etched in my mind for a long time.
“What message do you have for the women out there?” I asked her
“Women are already rocking the field of Independent artists, don't give up on your dreams no matter how small or big they are. Don't be frightened. Don't let others tell you what you are good at. Believe in yourselves. It's never too late. Discover your dream, work for it, pursue it, rock it and make your heart flutter!” She finished.
With my heart fluttering, I want to let you know that this the end of the interview sessions of my “Amazing Women” Episodes. The last episode of this feature is a special feature about not one, but two of the most important, inspiring women in my life. Stay tuned for the finale!