How We Overcome the Difficuties from Life: Interview with Awarded Photographer Niraj Gera

Life is not always full of happiness and smiles, and is indeed difficult, partly because of the real difficulties people must overcome in order to survive, and partly because of own innate desire to always do better, to overcome new challenge. After viewing photographer Niraj Gera's series "An Untold Tale of Emotions" from the 2017 "Sente•Antu Cup" International Photo Contest, most people find themselves thankful for own current life - thank god it is not that painful and heartbreaking like the lives taken place in the photos; as well as pray them for being happiness in their future lives at the same time.

We previously has published an article and a full 30-photo series of "An Untold Tale of Emotions" with detailed stories. And here is the chance to have better acquaintance with photographer Niraj Gera and his ideas on this impressive project which astonishes everyone.


Global Photography: Can you give us a brief introductory of who you are as a photographer?

Niraj Gera: I am an Indian Photographer based in New Delhi. My interest in photography developed into a hobby and then into an ever growing passion. I am fond of travelling to places and accentuates the essence of the least known and the least travelled walks of life through his photography. As a versatile and freelance photographer I try to offer a 'slice of life' in all my works, giving each picture a voice of its own. I think I am blessed with an excellence in capturing human emotions. I celebrate the freedom of the soul as I am able to present an image of what is otherwise not perceptible to the eyes, often transcending the material world.

As an independent photographer my work has crossed territorial boundaries and have been exhibited in several reputed galleries and festivals like Ariano Film Festival (Italy), Blank Wall Gallery (Greece), the Indian Habitat Centre (India), Arpana Caur Art Gallery(India) etc., besides having been featured in several national and international platforms. He has also been presented with a handful of awards and token of honors, which include the IPOTY (International Photographer of the year) 16' award (Hon. Mention), CEPIC Award 2017 (Germany), SIPA award (Singapore), Golden Orchid Award (Italy), Gold Medal in People category by SIPA Awards 2017 by PSS (Photographic Society of Singapore), Winner of Family category of a contest by Better Photography (A Leading Photography magazine). I have done 2 photo series on acid attack survivors & fortunately both the series i.e., 'Sacred Transformations' and 'Shades of Love' have received appreciation & acclamation worldwide.

▲ Through the veil of traditions

The picture shows the existing purdah system in India, which requires women to observe ghunghat (veil) after marriage which generally happens at a very tender age. The women then live a life behind the veil.

GP: What did you want to express with your work?

Niraj: I think photography is something which helps me in expressing not only myself but also the unexpressed emotions of people around me. I am being able to contribute towards such socially important and relevant causes through the skill that I have been gifted with. I am in fact now looking forward to work on more of such projects where I can contribute to more of such social causes, as it not only gives me satisfaction at the professional front but also and most importantly fills me with inner satisfaction.

▲ Caressing My Pride!

This is a photograph of an Indian Man flaunting his moustache . In ancient India, a moustache meant everything.‘It is priceless. It's a man thing. Such belief still exists in few parts of India, specially in Rajasthan.

GP: Tell us about your approaches of shooting? How long does it take to complete this series?

Niraj: The series which I have shared with Global Photography, took approx 4 years to complete. Out of all kind of photography, portraiture is closest to me as it helps me to contribute towards such socially important and relevant causes through the skill that I have been gifted with. I usually strike a conversation with my subjects & make them comfortable before I start taking their photographs, this helps me in getting the unadulterated expression out of them.

▲ Because my eyes have stories to tell

This is a picture of an old lady, who has lived her life with all her heart.

GP: Do you have a favourite photo or a project having a great story behind?

Niraj: Yes, my favourite series till date is "Sacred Transformations" which show the emotional journey of acid attack survivors. Having and living with an Optimistic Approach is the crux of "Sacred Transformations". The series is a journey from darkness to light... from ignorance to knowledge... from negativity to positiveness... and from misery to empowerment!! The series tries to convey that life is not a bed of roses, If there are bad times, there are good times too.

It is important that in times of crisis (big or small) one should remember and believe that there is always a ray of hope!

Empowerment awaits our efforts. When you have a positive approach and the willingness to strengthen your inner self (through yoga, meditation, faith etc.), when there is love & acceptance from your surroundings and when you refuse to give up on life, that is where 'Sacred Transformation' happens.

▲ An Unornamented Life

The lady in the photograph sits in distress and despair waiting for her beloved. Though she is decorated in traditional ornaments which represent the desires of beauty, her life is much less beautiful without her beloved.

The series is an attempt to reflect on this transformation of the survivors, and at the same time to sensitise the society towards them. For they deserve much more than stigmatisation and shunning. They deserve love, acceptance and embracement just as we all do.

This series has helped in increasing the awareness about acid attack survivors among society & generated funds for their rehabilitation. This series has also fetched several reputed awards & worldwide coverage in leading newspapers, magazines & websites.

(Please google "Niraj Gera" and "niraj gera acid attack" to check the media coverage)

GP: Do you believe you’ve found your style or signature?

Niraj: Yes, I think telling emotional stories through powerful portraiture is something which has become my expertise over the time and by god's grace, I have received a decent fame through the powerful portraitures captured by me.

GP: Do you have any new series idea? And what’s it about?

Niraj: Yes, Currently I am working on the life story of 2 sisters who are suffering from Osteogenesis imperfecta , also known as brittle bone disease. As a result of their disease, they are very fragile & their height is only 32-33 inches. Sadly, these sisters are not even able to walk.

Hopefully , that series will be out in public in next 10-15 days .

▲ Undying Hope!

This photo was taken when I was on my visit to Ujjain Maha Kumbh Mela- A famous Indian Fair- which is held once in 12 years. He was a native of the very state in which it was held and had come to visit the fair.

(All photos copyrighted Niraj Gera)

>> Story of the series "An Untold Tale of Emotions".

>> View all photos of this series at GALLERY HERE.

>> Click HERE to explore more of photographer Niraj Gera’s information.

>> Browse all winners and nominations about 2017 “Sente•Antu Cup” International Photo Contest HERE.

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