Shutter Chronicles: Nagaland photographers focus lens on their profession

Mongsen Phom, Imchawapang Jamir and Caisü Mao.

Mongsen Phom, Imchawapang Jamir and Caisü Mao.

World Photography Day is celebrated annually on August 19

Morung Express News
Kohima | August 19 

A career as a photographer seems fascinating and glamorous, and can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for those with a passion capturing moments to tell stories through images.

However, like any other profession, it requires creativity, dedication, consistency, continuous learning and of course, lots of investment.

World Photography Day is celebrated every year on August 19 to encourage people to share their world through a lens and to appreciate the impact of photography on society.

On the occasion, The Morung Express spoke with to some professional photographers from Nagaland to share the experiences and challenges of their profession.

Great photographer works with a different ‘eye’
 “In this line of work, it is not as easy as carrying a camera and snapping pictures of the happy couple. Nor is it as glamorous as it may seem,” noted Mongsen Phom, a full time Dimapur-based wedding photographer.

However, he described his profession as ‘really awesome’ as he gets to spend the day capturing “romance, laughter, joy, anticipation, excitement, and many other photographic moments” of his clients.

Someone who is passionate in his work and working through many different styles of photography like candid shots, family portraits, environmental details, food and florals, he maintained that his multi-tasking skills have vastly improved since he became a wedding photographer.

“A great photographer is one who captures all that is commonly unnoticed. He/she works with a different ‘eye’ altogether,” shared Phom, who loves telling wonderful stories through images of ‘a father-daughter exchange, a bride reading a letter from her groom, a mother fixing her daughter’s veil etc.’

 “Making sure you capture all these moments throughout the day will help you understand the art of visual narration and how to add depth to your photos so much better,” he added.

Wedding photography, he viewed, can be a great way to explore and nurture one’s creativity while adding that doing something different and outside the box will get your work noticed among many other photographer who might be just happy with the status quo. 

“Give yourself permission to explore your creativity,” he advised. 

Also with many talented photographers coming up, Phom said one of the common challenges, he faces as a photographer is ‘competition’ which challenged him to find ways to differentiate himself from the crowd, showcasing his unique style and creativity.

Photographer as a career not only does have the greatest scope for success, but also is one of the best and satisfying feelings to see two people in love creating memories, said Phom.

“With hundreds of wedding happening in Nagaland every year, wedding photographers are usually never out of work,” he added.

“I love photographing weddings of other cultures and traditions that are different from my own. They help me get insight into people from other cultures and make me so much more knowledgeable in how they think and behave,” Phom said. 

Photography: A promising career
Likewise, Imchawapang Jamir (Imcha Jamir), another wedding photographer, opined that photography as career is one of the best areas in the creative fields. 

Still, it is also not something that everyone can achieve, he added. 

“It needs creativity, talent, dedication, consistency and of course, lots and lots of investment,” Jamir said, adding that Nagaland is one state that has really understood the importance of photography.

He initially started as a hobby in 2006, and gradually turned it into a full time occupation, which he described as ‘not easy’ and he ‘struggled’ for years to succeed in the profession.

“In the year 2015, I encountered the mercy and love of God and that year also was a year of breakthrough as a wedding photographer,” informed the photographer.

Jamir was firm in asserting that no challenges exist in his field and justified the same by pointing out that, “We are living in an era where people have understood and have respect about the photography profession. So if you are good, then it is very easy to penetrate into the market.”

Despite being a accomplished photographer, Jamir said he is committed to continuously pushing himself to self-improvement and elevate his own capabilities.

“I am not trying to be the best, but I just want to enjoy what I do, and give 100 percent and bring glory to God through my work and my life. Always keep God first and be honest,” he said.

Less scope in photojournalim
However, the road is less ‘glamorous’ for photojournalism.

For someone who has been into photojournalism for more than a decade, Caisü Mao opined     that there’s not much scope in the state due to limited print newspaper, online news portal and local news agency.

Although ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ he observed that people, readers and even editors do not  seriously give much importance to photo news.

This has become a big challenge for every photo journalist in the state, he added. 

Nonetheless, Mao also reminded that aspiring photographer in the field of photojournalism should not be discouraged as ‘there’s always a scope for every job for someone who is dedicated and passionate in what he/she does.”

Sharing his experience in photojournalism as an ‘eye-opening’, he recalled that it all started as a hobby and never as a full time career. 

“I come across strengths and weaknesses. It has been fun to overcome some of those weaknesses and find new strengths,” he added.