“I Don’t Rate Myself By Other Photographers”

Dr Batra on his passion for photographic holidays and love for experimentation

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer. ~Ansel Adams”

Dr Batra, the well-known homeopathic physician recently unveiled his photography exhibition titled ‘Moody Blues’ that captured the essence of Maldives for a charitable cause. His tryst with professional photography started seven years ago when he was trapped in the Himalayas due to a snowstorm. The images that he captured were sponsored and exhibited in Mumbai and Delhi; and that’s when he realised he had a knack for it. He said, “I figured that my photos were worthy enough to be exhibited and published, then I must be doing something right.”

Dubbed the ‘family photographer’, Batra said, “right from taking the kids photos of them wiping the ice-creams off their noses to other snaps, it was my family who realised that I was not too bad as a photographer, and encouraged me.”

Talking about the kinds of photography that inspire him, he said, “I personally enjoy experimenting with pictures. I’ve photographed the Vatican dome in different angles. I also like taking pictures of faces,” adding that he likens photography and its recognition to that of film awards, “there’s the public awards and the critics award.” As an art, he believes that photography has a long way to go. “It is not as evolved as one would like it to be.” Commercially speaking, he believes that people respond more to “happy pictures”. Nature is beautiful, makes people happy, and this is what people enjoy. “The pictures that I sell are landscapes, and it brings joy.”

His passion for photography has taken him around the world. Batra said, “I take a special photographic holiday once a year. I’ve been to the Alps and Canadian Rockies among other places. When you’re passionate about what you do, you will always find the time to do so. It takes me about 2 weeks to capture all that I want, while it takes anywhere between 4-5 weeks to sort and organise the final set of photographs.

Ask how he rates his skills against other photographers, and he candidly admitted, “that he’d probably fail miserably,” but is quick to point out that he’s not competing with anyone. “I do it to reach out to people and make them happy,” adding that he doesn’t “bother about how critical others think of his works.” His sole inspirations are his causes. “It gives me joy to bring happiness in others lives. I’ve been associated with various causes like PETA and the Blind School.” His mantra on honing in on his craft is to practice and look at his own work critically, while relying on inputs from friends and family. “If I don’t think it’s good, I don’t do it.”

In this exhibition, Batra has experimented in underwater photography for the first time. One of the challenges faced during this holiday, he said, “Maldives is a small island, (unlike the Canadian Rockies which has many choices) and to capture the real beauty of Maldives was difficult. You only have the sun, sea and sand to work with as your tools. I titled it ‘Moody Blues’ because of the sky and the sea and the constant changing of blues between them.”

“I’m a conformist by nature, but when it comes to photography, I’m very experimental because it gives me the freedom to do different things,” he said, “I never plan my photos or what I’m going to capture once I arrive at my destination. I simply go with the flow, and have no pre-conceived theme when I go on my photographic holidays.”

So, what’s his next exhibition going to be, and he replied, “At the moment, there is no definite plan, though I’m contemplating on heading to the South of France.”

Naturally Speaking

“The whole process of regeneration is fascinating. I was supposed to be in Maldives the day the Boxing Day Tsunami struck, but I narrowly missed it. Nature constantly rebuilds itself, and while I have been to Maldives earlier, I find it to be far more beautiful now than it was earlier.”

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