Today we’d like to introduce you to Nilangana Banerjee.
Nilangana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I did not begin my journey with the thought of becoming a photographer, in the first instance. Coming from a society, which considers photography no more than a hobby and pursuing art just an avocation, I always thought I would pursue one of my parents’ professions when I grow up. My mother is a teacher and father is an engineer. They belong to professions that are not even remotely related to art or photography. Although, I thought I would have to choose either one of the two or probably something around it, I never felt the passion to pursue either of their professions.
The thought of creating art, perhaps in any form, was building up from a very early age, but received no notice, neither by the people around me nor by myself. With an increasing pressure to cater to the conventional institutes in the form of schools and colleges which only encouraged tireless hours spent in securing high grades and enforced the ideologies of a competitive world, I silenced my love for art for a long time. I would return back to making art in the form of paintings and pencil sketches only in my free time or otherwise.
Focusing on creating art dedicatedly was barely the scenario, let alone undertaking photography. During my high school years, I began sketching images out of my imagination, which was the beginning of my innate passion for photography (as I later realized). My father was a hobby photographer, and so our household possessed some photography equipment back in the day, during my childhood. Although, always surrounded by the industry’s artifacts, for me art was all that one could produce in a paper.
I would dabble with my father’s photographic equipment and would learn a fact or two about the field from him. But it wasn’t until, after the end of my high school, that I finally realized that this was the medium of art that had the potential to bring to life, as also be able to best visualize the imaginations that I had as mentioned previously. I continue to sketch and paint till date, but definitely; photographing or photography is 95% of my artistic creations or perhaps the way I imagine art.
The in-transient and timeless nature of the field gave me the ever-seeking refuge and stability that I always yearned for. And, it was this realization, that can be marked, as the inception of my unbroken will to let go of the stereotypical beliefs I had in my initial years of mandatorily pursuing the societally prescribed vocations, and do something, I could do for the rest of my living years.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No not at all! My journey has been difficult and extremely testing so far. My struggle ranged from confronting rigid mindsets to managing an entire month in 13 dollars! Everything inside that and more. I underwent consistent criticisms for choosing an art-based field from my teachers in schools and colleges, who were convinced that I wouldn’t be able to pull out a living, off photography, as implied in their conversations.
After withstanding such criticism, my next challenge was stepping into the commercial field of Indian (male-dominated) photography industry, wherein being a newcomer is already difficult, let alone being a woman. The fight intensified when I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my second masters in fine arts, majoring in photography. While coming to another country was exciting, the transition was huge and a difficult one.
One of the biggest struggles was financial, as the institute, I studied it did not allow international students to take up part-time jobs; I struggled to make the ends meet. I would take up non-paid internships just to gain experience while being a full-time student. I remember pulling late hours of work in the studios and printing labs in my school. My day would begin with early morning lectures, going to the internship and then go back working in the labs and repeat this on a regular basis for months together.
Being a newcomer in the industry in LA was (and still is) very hard, especially when one begins as an entrepreneur and/or a freelancer. The funny paradox that I felt strongly was that I was no longer just a photographer. When one begins a firm, one fills in all the positions, from managing clients to managing accounts! And there are so many surprises that no University or degree prepares you for.
No qualification teaches you the spirit you need to keep going with when you have to decide if you have to buy your groceries for the week or the frames needed to put up your photos, at a global platform, or in the industry’s biggest gallery show. I have undergone such dilemmas and decision-making situations of that sort.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Nilangana Banerjee Photography – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My business, Nilangana Banerjee Photography is divided into two units. The first unit comprises of commercial photography, which includes editorial fashion, interiors and architecture, portraiture, food and beverage, product, and lifestyle photography, in which I specialize. The second half of my business focuses on conceptual fine art projects with an artistic take on the burning issues of the world, aiming to spread awareness, drawing on interdisciplinary concepts from the academic disciplines of psychology, sociology, and environmental sciences.
I am proud that my business takes on both the commercial and the fine art aspects of photography, through which I have been able to get published in various established magazines, journals, books, newspapers, showcased in in-numerous gallery shows, and have been featured in diverse media platforms, both in print and in online forums.
What sets me apart? Well, I think my artistic perspective of the world issues sets me apart. While making art is in itself a great endeavour, making art with a message, a target and a purpose is contribution for the greater good. I believe that finding solutions and spreading awareness about the world’s big problems (for e.g., Global Warming) is not just the responsibility of professionals belonging from perhaps, say scientific disciplines, but it is our responsibility as well, irrespective of any discipline that we belong from, we need to deliver our understanding of the same and join in to seek solutions for them.
Hence, making art with a purpose is what is unique in my style and business.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans for the future is to start a production company, that would include, both still photography and videography, for advertising commercial brands, icons and conceptual fine art projects/pieces for museums and galleries.
- Website: http://www.nilanganabanerjee.com
- Phone: 818 331 1712
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: nilangana_banerjee