Photography

Photographs are about stories, not gigabytes – meet IT professional and photographer Mithun Prabhu

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 415 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

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It’s one thing to take hoards of photographs, but it’s another matter altogether to print the best, curate them into an exhibition, and travel around the country to showcase and sell them to audiences in different cities. Here’s one IT professional and avid photographer who does both.

Pune’s Darpan Art Gallery recently featured an exhibition titled Eloquence of Life, with the works of tech professional, manager, and photographer Mithun Prabhu. Around 60 photographs were on display, priced from Rs 4,000 to Rs 14,000.

“Photographs help discover and preserve beauty even in the mundane and routine. They help experience life at another level altogether,” Mithun explains, in a chat with YourStory.

“Photography is not about making loads of gigabytes of images, but about telling a story,” he adds. He also cites photographer Ansel Adams in this regard: “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

“In this fast-paced world, where all people want to do is swipe right or left, if your photograph or story doesn’t appeal to them, then you have lost a chance. You have to know how to touch the hearts and generate interest in the humans who are viewing your work,” he emphasises.

This involves envisioning the scene and how it may play, and weaving the story around it – sometimes all in just a few seconds. “No two photographers, standing at the same point and looking at the same scene, would be able to replicate each other’s art,” Mithun says.

He has experience across a range of genres: travel, nature, street, astro, landscapes, products, events, portraits, and wildlife. “The most important thing is respecting the ethical treatment of animals, humans, and nature,” he stresses.

A father of two, Mithun describes himself as a “Mumbaikar by heart”. He also has an MBA, and is based in Bengaluru. “With photography and IT, I strike a balance. Photography is my passion and stress-buster, and my solo exhibitions present my work to the world,” he explains.

Thanks to travels around the world, he has millions of photos on his hard disk. “Only 10 percent are processed, the rest are still waiting their turn to come out of sleep,” he jokes. He sees photography as not just a possible livelihood, but as a source of inspiration to all.

Mithun has conducted workshops on request, to audiences ranging from 10 to 65 years in age. “When you teach, you learn too, especially from youngsters who have always a completely different perspective on everything,” he observes.

Practice and exposure help refine the art of storytelling through photographs. Photographers often have to choose or balance between “commercial and passion photography”, Mithun explains. In that sense, success comes not just from commercial sales but audience’s artistic appreciation as well.

He has received 375 acceptances at national and international photography salons, and won seven awards this year, including one from the Artist Federation of Indian Photography (AFIP). “I want audiences to enjoy the photographs and also experience the vast beauty of India,” Mithun says.

At the Pune exhibition, he showcased a range of photos on nature and heritage, printed by Honeycomb. There were also storycards for audiences to read, and a feedback book. “I was even told I have inspired some of my fellow artists who shall now work to showcase their photos to the world,” he proudly says.

In addition to the Pune and Bengaluru exhibitions, Mithun has plans for more exhibitions on travel photography in 2020. “My biggest project was in 2017, where I picked daily themes along with write-ups and stories,” he recalls.

As trends in the field, Mithun points to the rise of digital devices, platforms, and AI; popularity of photography ‘on the go; growing appreciation of photography as an art; and the opening up of new opportunities for youth.

“As a photographer, you have to exercise caution to never cross the line in wanting to outsmart others, disturb wildlife, interrupt people on streets, misuse the kindness of the poor, use digital deception, or become ruthless just to be seen as the best photographer,” he cautions.

“My advice to aspiring photographers would be to go out there, explore the unexplored, document it well, showcase it, print your work, and become storytellers,” he suggests. “The human race is a winner when people are more competitive in the right spirit,” Mithun signs off.

Now, what have you done today to stop in your busy schedule, and find joy in profession and passion?

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Mithun Prabhu

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