Today’s inspiring story is about a path beginning with a Bachelor degree in Physics, that found its way to wildlife photography. Yes, you’re thinking what we’re thinking, something like National Geographic. Girish Menon lives in Mumbai and he is the first creator from India to be featured in IM’s “Our Creators”. These days he continues to learn and acquire new skills such as Journalism and Mass Communications.
Let’s get acquainted with Girish Menon and his experience through his answers to our five creator questions of the week.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Girish Menon and I’m from Mumbai, India. I’m a photojournalist/storyteller — I like telling stories about wildlife and natural habitats and the people and cultures that live among nature. I also document Corporate Social Responsibility projects in the fields of healthcare and education.
I teach photography workshops in person and online through live video chat and lead photography tours to wildlife sanctuaries and exotic destinations.
I’m presently pursuing a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communications through a distance learning program to deepen my insights on storytelling.
My hobbies include sketching, creating audio documentaries and listening to music.
How did you get started?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and started my career as a software developer. But I had an unfulfilled desire to study fine art—which I still might someday. I was interested in photography throughout my childhood. My father was an excellent photographer, and we have lots of black and white photos and some colour slides that he clicked at different places in India during the 60s and 70s with his rangefinder camera.
He also took lots of pictures of me growing up. I grew up yearning to travel and click pictures while scribbling on his collection of National Geographic magazines.
Two years into my software career, I enrolled for a private mentorship with a renowned photographer in Mumbai. During this one-year mentorship program, I published some travel stories in airline magazines and started doing freelance work.
What sets you apart?
I am able to simplify and present thoughts, ideas, and concepts. This simplicity shows in the photos that I click — and the clarity with which the story is told. I like to learn as much as possible about the people and wildlife that I photograph.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
The biggest challenge for me is marketing and business development — reaching people who require my services. I realised that offline marketing and presenting introductory workshops at offices, schools, colleges, and these days — online, and building a community is necessary to grow my outreach.
I find that the number of people interested in learning the basics of photography is lesser than it was about five years ago. That’s perhaps because the results of smartphone cameras and compact cameras have significantly improved. That makes it important for me to communicate exactly what I bring to the table. And why anyone who wants to take their photography seriously must learn the basics of photography and lighting.
Do you have any tips for other creators?
“Don’t die with your music still in you” is a quote credited to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
There can be vestigial thoughts such as “what’s the point of doing this?” or “it’s not going to be that good anyway, so why bother?”
I think that we must be willing to create — and take action rather than let ideas that are close to our hearts wilt and die away in our mind. One can then decide whether to pursue the idea or let it go — after looking at some tangible outputs.
When I’m preoccupied with other things, I write down or voice record my ideas so that I can revisit them in the future.
Check out Girish’s site here, and take up his advice!
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