Initially trained as an Aircraft Engineer, Bikash Das converted his keen hobby of photography into a profession. He engaged in high-end Advertising and industrial photography since the early 80's. Since the beginning of his photographic career, he has been engaged in imparting knowledge and know-how. He has developed various new techniques and modules for teaching photography to beginners and aspiring professionals.
We’re all looking to express ourselves- through a medium. Be it photography, art, music, dance, or writing. Photography happens to be one of the most accessible forms of visual expression for most people, since most of the other forms of photography are highly skill oriented.
How would you describe photography, as you know it to be, to someone who doesn’t know how it’s like to be the observer?
Photography presents a creative challenge. It is the art of transforming the real in to the surreal. Photography is like being in a battlefield- your approach changes with the wind- it’s all spontaneous. Appreciate it at the moment and it becomes priceless. You can’t let it be. You need to capture the moment right then, right there, or else it will be lost.
What does a day in the life of Bikash Das look like?
A day always starts fresh with the thought of doing something new therefore there is always something exiting to do and thus there has never been a boring day in my life.
What have been your inspirations or influences along the way?
Early on, the works of many master photographers inspired me, but they weren’t quite accessible. Then, came a time when I got to meet quite a lot of well known photographers and some of the newer ones as well. I got the opportunity to observe, very closely and I got to see their work, so they all collectively became my teachers perhaps without them knowing it. Another primary driving factor became the Quest for Freedom.
What was the first photograph you were proud of?
Till date, I haven’t been proud of any photograph that I have shot. I always found something lacking in it.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue photography as a profession?
From my teens. But could take it up only when I was 24 or so.
What makes a good picture stand out from an average one?
The only time a good picture stands out is when it manages to successfully express the artists thoughts of the moment- be it social or anything else.
What is the influence of digital technology on your photography?
Currently, the choice is little. But at the same time, technology is moving forward by leaps and bounds and is here to stay. I like the flexibilities the technology offers, therefore expressive possibilities are very large.
Colour vs. Black and White. Why one over the other, and is the photographic process different?
Both, Color and Black and White, have their own place in photography, so they can’t really be compared. The photographic process isn’t very different in today’s term, except in silver-based photography.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I shoot with almost all types of cameras. Mostly, it just depends on the kind of picture and the circumstances.
What’s something you discovered staying behind the lens? What is the most beautiful thing you came across while clicking?
Staying behind the lens made me see the subjects more intensely- at times, almost seeing through them, and, in the process, it led me to develop a quiet relationship with the subject, which otherwise gets overlooked most of the time. One almost becomes..one, with the subject. This relationship is beautiful, to say the least, and can’t be described in words.
Do you get to view the world in a different perspective? How so?
A photographer often wants to present a different perspective of the subject, that the others might not have noticed, and it is this effort or vision, that makes it happen. From the same standpoint, yes, I do get to view the World in different perspective.
Have you ever had a Eureka moment in your life? Could you relate an anecdote?
Quite a number of times. Photography can be extremely challenging or very challenging situation gets placed before a photographer often. There was this one time, when we had arrived at a very complex industrial site and the photograph had to be shot that very evening. It was a very grey evening with extremely poor light (this was prior to the Digital photo-editing days), when all of a sudden, the sky opened up a little in one side of the sky. Utilizing that portion of the sky took some shots, and that ended up being one of my best shots from those days. Since it was the day and time when you couldn’t be completely sure of how the picture turned out, you could only truly know how it was once it was chemically processed back at home. That was the time to say "Eureka".
What makes you get up and get out of bed every day?
Looking forward to usher in a new day.
If not a photographer, then?
Could be any thing that allows the freedom to express or produce.
What do you wish you had, when you got into this field?
Ability to buy the desired equipment and be able to travel frequently.
Digital or film?
Although there is little choice at present, But at this moment, I would say, Digital.
A piece of advice that you wish someone had given you ten years ago?
Focus on running an institute on photography and visual arts.
If allowed, which moment of your life would you freeze in a photograph? (Why?)
The best moments in life deal with emotions, or with the spirit, and so, can’t be photographed.
A last word for budding photographers?
Shoot and experiment as much as possible.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
An accessory jacket.