Breaking into a male domain
- Makes friends out of strangers
- A happy-go-lucky girl, Divya Medikonda specialises in wedding photography, and takes up any opportunity in conserving wildlife through photography
How did you come into photography?
I remember being called along with my parents to the Principal's cabin during my Plus 2 college, which is one of those study-till-you-die-or-get-a-prestigious-rank kind of institution, for carrying a camera in my bag to the college.
I wasn't an ardent photographer, but I made sure to have the camera with me always just so I didn't miss any important moments. I continued carrying it with me, taking photos of street life, sitting by the window of the bus I used to commute by, while walking to and from the bus stops or tea kiosks.
I developed an interest in photojournalism. I had interned as a photojournalist for a national newspaper during my graduation days, covering a variety of urban stories.
Stories of people unknown and their life and lifestyle inspired me, be it those living on the streets or those with enough luxuries, venturing into interesting new businesses.
Is photography a hobby or profession?
Ever since my sister gifted me a basic compact digital camera, photography has become a part of my life.
There was never a particular time or mood to do photography, it was constantly running on my mind, looking for the moment to be frozen in time. As of today, I'm a professional Wedding Photographer!
Other than photography what do you do?
I'm planning how I can give my best for wildlife conservation, which is the dire need of the hour, if we should continue living in our natural world, as it is right now.
Tell us about your specialising in wedding photography
I love meeting new people and making good friends out of total strangers with unbelievable connections over common interests.
I love making portraits, capturing emotional moments, be it the most subtle smile or the loudest laugh! Capturing these moments of people's most important celebration in their lives gives me immense pleasure where I'm a part of it all, witnessing every wedding story, in all its highs and lows.
How do you handle gender bias in this profession?
I would rather see it as gender privilege in wedding photography, for women. Respect is mutual with the clients as well as with the male photographers.
In fact, women photographers are easily let into the bride's rooms and more importantly, into their most private and personal space with their family, minutes before their wedding, when they are highly vulnerable, emotionally.
That is definitely a privilege to be thankful for.
There is always the factor of safety and security of commute during odd hours of South Indian weddings.
We have our most trusted team members who are always ready to pick up and drop to commute together. But if travelling alone is inevitable, having a private car helps.
What do your friends and relatives think about your career?
Friends are really proud of me for choosing what used to be an unconventional career. Family is supportive yet worried for the very same reason. Everything takes time to excel in, to make a mark in.
Which is the best shoot you cherish?
There was this one post-wedding reception shoot of a couple, after which we went on to their family estate in a hill station.
They invited us over to be a part of the celebrations with their family without our cameras, to unwind and enjoy the best of their century-old house turned holiday home, with varied species of birds visiting their backyard, eating fruits freshly plucked from their own forest garden, and singing along as a group to the songs played on the guitar by one of the family members. This is why I keep loving my profession even more.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I feel it's difficult to see myself anywhere in 5 years if we don't take immediate measures to protect our environment the way it is at least now. Whatever we plan and imagine can only happen with a healthy body and that's surely at stake.
In 5 years from now, I wish to be contributing to making everyone aware of nature's beauty and wonders through the best language I know, which is photography. And I wish to be in a greener world, with less concentration on damage-control and more on spreading happiness.