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Moushumee K Jha : Photographer

Posted on : 12/03/2021 08:06pm
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Moushumee is a Freelance Documentary photographer from Assam, India. Starting her artistic journey as an actress, she became familiar with the language of camera and nuances of light and shade, frame angles and developed a keen sense of story-telling with her medium. She brings these experience as well as her deeply artistic and rich cultural training to her photography.


Tell me something about you which nobody knows?


I think I am a credible bathroom singer.


Please share your childhood dream and funny incidents if any?


Childhood dreams? There were many and fortunately I have been able to realize most of them. Life has been simple, blessed and fulfilling so far. Funny Incident? Hmmm,- haha… I am from Assam. My sister and I were very tall in comparison to others in the community, which attracted a lot of unwanted attention and made us feel very uncomfortable at times in those years.


We were very young and naive and didn’t understand the advantages of having good height. So, to avoid growing tall further, both sisters would go to the rooftop quietly and keep a stack of bricks on our heads for an hour, believing it will reduce our height slowly. Funny, isn’t it? It went on for a couple of weeks. But when caught out, our parents had to do a lot of explaining to convince us otherwise.



What is your view about photography?


For me, photography is pure art, expression and aesthetic to tell a story. Every element, light, situation, timing, luck are the tools of the photographer to express and convincingly narrate the story. Of course, the stories photographers tell, document the world around them as they exist, and in that sense, photography creates an archive of the world, the people, the culture that tells us about the times we live in and future generations about their past. In this sense, photography is a continuum from rock art paintings, tablet inscriptions, printed books and other forms of documentation.

In my opinion, a relevant set of photographs give people a voice in the outside world. As a reaction, it stimulates public debate and awareness and helps solve issues like political, social, environmental, etc. Photography not only records history but also helps change its course.



Which genre of photography do you like/practice and why?


I am fascinated by “light” and how it interplays with the elements of a “scene”; how it raises the tempo of an object or how it pushes another into the shadow. And I am fascinated by the diversity of life around us. These two interests nudged me to start taking an interest in “street photography” during my early years. If you ask me what genre I like, its definitely street documentary as it gives me access to people, to be with them, to listen to them and become a part of their life for a fleeting moment or some time, thru my craft. This is a purely personal favorite. On a professional level, I am engaged in shoots for tourism, capturing architecture, construction, industrial, homes & interiors, and product photography.


Almost 90% of photographers find it hard to earn money out of photography. Any tips that might help photographers to earn money?


Haha! If I knew such “tips” I could charge a lot of money to “consult” with photographers. With 500 mi smartphone-based photographers in the world and billions of images being created every day, its one of the hardest to stand out from the noise.


I believe that money comes from developing your own style, skill, expertise in a specific domain, network, work ethics and long-term investments in the form of equipment’s, studio space and human resources. Therefore my advice to photographers is to find your own grammar and stick to it .. create a differentiation. It may take some time but eventually, people will notice your expertise. The caveat, of course, is the “luck” factor. It certainly plays a role like in any other profession.



Which photography agency you like and why? … if any?


I think you mean stock-photo agencies here. There are few agencies like stockified, iStock, ShutterStock, Dreamstime, EvantoMarket, Corbis, Getty, etc. and growing each year. However, my experience has not been good so far as a revenue-generating option. With mushrooming of royalty-free sites in recent times, millions of free or contributory downloads, at percentage share as low as 15-20% of the actual value, the monetary return is minimal and almost static unless you have a sizeable collection in high quality, and you are prepared to promote your content at your own cost.


Clients are also looking for cheap options. So, it’s a case of too many and too little. The time and effort that goes into making images as per the needs are high and the remuneration is not exactly reciprocal. Having said that, it works perfectly well for a lot of people who have generated sizeable work that is unique and belongs to a specific rare genre. I am not a very big contributor to these sites.



Does good camera play a major role in photography?


We are born with the most important photographic equipment we could ever own, our eyes and brain, and thru these we find the beauty, the excitement, the action, color, texture, movement and we weave our stories for others to see and believe. This is a creative process and one learns by practicing. For street or documentary photography, gear is secondary. But in professional photography – that includes Wedding, Fashion, Architecture and wildlife, a good camera is essential to achieve the desired high-quality result. In professional space, it’s competitive and you should be in a position to deliver not just with your technical skill and aesthetics but also with your ability to deliver at highest possible quality in terms of resolution, focus, sharpness, lighting, and overall presentation. A good camera is essential to achieve all of this.


Any message for the young photographers?


Keep discovering new ideas never fear to experiment, learn new digital photography techniques, software and tools, travel, read and listen to your mentors. Sharing helps you to grow, so keep sharing your success stories, your failures, your knowledge, experiences and keep learning from each other. Keep an open mind, avoid preconceived biases about people and places. There is this adrenaline rush that you will enjoy discovering the unknowns.


What is your big achievement in photography?


I always think I am still a student. Awards and recognitions are part of the journey and they keep me motivated. But what I value most is photography is the blessing and acknowledgment from my mentor and teacher, late Rakesh Sahai. Getting to know so many people, learning about the diversities of the world we live in have been very fulfilling.


Role of a smile in photography- share your views?


A smile, on the face of a photographer, goes a long way in making your subject comfortable. A smile allows people to perceive you as a happy, warm person, whether it is part of the verbal communication or visual communication. It builds an instant bridge of friendship and trust.


A smile along with a slight nod means that I agree with that person, thereafter he doesn’t take long to open up with his story and cooperation. It has helped me in a big way, especially while doing projects with women, children, and widows. On the other hand, a smile on the face of the subject can create a magical image, intriguing the viewer as to the subject of the smile (MonaLisa effect).


Finally, there is content and moment that may bring a smile on the face of the viewer and force you to take a few minutes off your time to look at the image again. A smile has different roles in photography. The hardest for me is when it becomes an intrusion in the space of my subject. When I do not get a positive response to my smile, I become careful, aware and sensitive towards the comfort level of my subject. I usually avoid annoying anyone unless that is exactly what I want from my subject. Once I get it, I smile to myself.

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