Elliot Erwitt, French advertising and documentary photographer, had once said, “Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times. I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.”
“Photography OnTheMove is all about marrying travel with photography,” said Supriya Sehgal of Photography OnTheMove (POTM), who heads marketing, operations, building the trips and most other things at POTM.
All of us click photos when we travel to a new place, but do we really experience the place? POTM is an offshoot of a decade old adventure travel firm Getoffurass, which was founded by Santosh Kumar as an outdoor and adventure equipment store. Four and a half years back POTM transformed into a photography training platform, but with a unique twist. POTM follows the workshop model, but most of these workshops are held in exotic locales around India. They also conduct beginner’s workshops and specialized workshops for studio photography.
“We spend a lot of time in researching a particular place and often go on more than one recce trip before the actual trip starts,” said Supriya. “In Nagaland, during the Hornbill Festival, we organize accommodation with locals. It is the same for trips to Alleppey during the Snake Boat Race in Kerala,” she added. This makes the POTM experience one of its kind. Add to this the fact that some of the best photographers travel along with the group and provide valuable inputs about exposure controls, correct lens usage, etc. Helmuth Conz and Vaibhav Mehta are two of the regular instructors who are part of the photo journies.
A look at the team behind POTM makes it apparent that these guys are in it for the love of travel and photography and not the business part of it.
Santosh is an avid biker and has an eccentric (in an awesome way) set of work experience. Sample this; he has worked as a river guide on the Kali River, worked with an NGO on solid waste management, built solar fences, etc.
Supriya formally moved from a corporate job to POTM 3 years back. She is addicted to anecdotal information from auto drivers, bus-seat sharers and co-travelers. Along with Vaibhav Mehta, she takes care of the entire operations of POTM. She is also a freelance travel writer.
POTM was completely bootstrapped and unless they meet a partner, with a similar mindset, they plan to go alone. Currently, the emphasis is on increasing visibility and reach. “A lot of people who are unable to make time for travel, yet want to learn the nuances of photography, have literally demanded workshops in their cities. So, last year we conducted a few 1-day workshops in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad,” said Supriya.
“The challenge is to keep discovering new and interesting places,” pointed out Supriya. “Personally for me the biggest challenge is to convince probable participants of the exotic-ness that our own country provides – the travel mindset needs to be changed,” she quipped. The POTM team is working towards stepping out of India. So, in the coming days they will organize photo journeys to Cambodia and plan Bhutan. Supriya said that the interest in analog photography is back. Serious photographers want to learn the authentic way of clicking photos. So, POTM plans to start workshops on analog photography soon.
“The greatest validation of POTM, according to me,” said Supriya “is when our alumni spread a good word about us.” On a more fun note Supriya said, “There has been a couple of instances when someone left their corporate job and took to photography full-time, after travelling with POTM. Those were moments of joy for me.”
Greek historian Herodotus had said, “If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.” POTM seems to believe that as well.
Find out more about POTM and their 2012 calendar, here.
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