“I had a Nokia 6600 phone in college and was fascinated with the idea of shooting with that camera. That is when I joined JJ College to learn more about photography,” says Monisha Ajgaonkar, Founder and Director, The Photo Diary. Monisha is a Mumbai-based photographer and has travelled through all genres of photography.
At JJ College, Monisha says, she did not learn much as it was a part-time course.
“Schools and colleges are a great medium of learning, but there are some practical experiences that teach us to be more professional. You can only know a certain job or business when you actually begin to work on it. The skills you need, the people you need, the connections you make all become a part of the exposure you have had. I have been learning on my job every single day,” says Monisha adding that she realises she could have done better with a certain camera angle or lighting.
However, that was no deterrent from shooting or taking pictures. The first concert she covered was Blue Frog. “Music really drives the passion in me,” says Monisha.
Photography happened by chance to Monisha, who was pursuing a degree in Psychology from DJ Ruparel College in Mahim. It was then that she realised that she did not want to study this particular subject and dropped out of the course. For one whole year thereafter, she was at home and had no work. She was busy exploring different areas in life.
And this is how Monisha got into photography.
“I had a crush on this girl and she loved to attend concerts. To impress her I went with her to cover the concert with my camera. Although I only ended up with one date, I realised that I was very passionate
about photography. So I started off with doing gigs and covered Rolling Stones, Page 3 parties, and fashion events. Wedding photography followed when I went to shoot my friend’s wedding,” says Monisha who thus started The Photo Diary with that Catholic wedding.Hugely impressed by music, Monisha has always loved shooting at concerts. Also the fact that she gets to meet so many new artists on an everyday basis and get to understand their perspective on music and photography gives Monisha a new high.
Having shot many concerts, NH7 remains her favourite. She recently shot the Ten Heads Festival in Delhi too.
The learning curve
As a photographer, Monisha has learnt that the only way to capture a good memory is by feeling and being
fully immersed in that moment. Moreover, she believes that the trends and ways of photography are changing too, and she is constantly on a learning curve during her photography and videography shoots and during interaction with people.“Especially while doing weddings, I know that at that moment people don’t recognise that this particular moment is going to mean so much in their life, and hence I feel very responsible to portray that in its true essence to the extent possible,” says Monisha.
Monisha shares her experience of shooting with Amitabh Bachchan for the movie Wazir. “It was a great moment for me to do this shoot with the legend himself. One thing which I learnt from him is that it is experience alone in a particular field that makes the person perfect,” she says.
Expansion plans at ‘The Photo Diary’
Monisha specialises in doing weddings, concerts, and fashion shoots. The Photo Diary is one of the few one-stop photography companies in the wedding sector and they specialise in different aspects of wedding photography, including pre-wedding shoots and movies, wedding movies and wedding pictures to name a few. Monisha says she is keen on doing more wedding photography as there is immense scope of creativity in these fields.
Going forward, she wants to explore different markets and opportunities to expand her business. The Photo Diary is going international as Monisha plans to set up units in either America or Canada by next year.
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