Atul's essentially a young photographer like many another of the luckier ones at this transition of millennia ~ comfortably successful,..
gradually but smoothly transitting out from under the tyranny of the old dark-rooms and chemical-labs, towards the open creative horizons of our evolving digital and cyber age.
It's still early days yet, but the man's now spent quite awhile on learning how to get what he wants out of computers and software, to carry photographic images through to the visions he'd originally had when he shot them ~ with subtle flourishes, enhancements, clean-up, and so on, that reveal a lot about images we see everyday in our lives without realizing that they're "digitally-modified." And so today, right in sync with his times, Atul's on the threshold of dovetailing this new digital prowess into his profession as a photographer ~ cranking-up Mega Hertz & Bytes, RAM & Resolution to bring it all out of the closet.
Here's what it's all about in his own words (
pics below are before/left after/right
"Seeing the latent image miraculously materialize on paper in the red safe light of a darkroom for the first time, way back in high school (Mayo), was the moment I got hooked onto photography. I kept dabbling in it as a hobby right through college (Hindu, D.U.) and law school (CLC, D.U.). After three years in the legal profession, I decided to make the most of the one life that I had, to switch towards making my two passions of photography & travel into my vocation. As a first step in this transition, I started taking on turnkey print production projects of brochures, posters etc. for various state tourism departments (H.P. & Garhwal).
"That is where I first came across the concept of digital image manipulation and learned about the offset printing process. After a few years of wandering & shooting in the mountains I set up my own inbound adventure travel outfit catering for the American & Canadian market with "photo tours" and cycle tours in the Himalayas. In 1994, I took up photography as a full time profession with the photo tours continuing as a very pleasant side business which gives me the opportunity to travel the subcontinent & indulge in landscape & candid people-photography without the pressures of commercial dictats & deadlines.
"Around 1995 -1996 with the easy availability of reasonably powerful desktop computers & image-editing softwares, digital manipulation/enhancement of images stopped being the monopoly of process houses. In 1997, I bought my first PC (a Pentium 166MMX) with much trepidation, as till then I did not even know how to type. The next year & a half was a major learning curve ~ first getting the basic hang of the the 'puter & then learning Photoshop. It was amazing. The things one could do with the images, the control one had over the images, was way beyond the conventional dark room . I loved every moment of it, sort of like a kid in a candy store.
"Image manipulation, in terms of photography, is as old as the history of image creation itself. The quest to transfer the image, as percieved by humans, has been limited by the shortcomings of the mediums of film, paper & optics etc. Photographers down the ages have fiddled with chemistry & physics to overcome this limitation in an effort to translate the three dimensional reality, at times fantasy, onto a two dimensional print. And now along comes this amazing tool, the computer, which goes a long way in nearly completely overcoming the limitations and helping the creative juices to flow more fluidly.
"I'm essentially looking for peace and tranquility in this chaotic world.. the wanderlust being a constant quest to discover places & situations with positive vibrations. Being in such situations & places is a very alleviating feeling and the process of recording on film an almost spiritual experience for me. Hence for me personally, digital enhancement is a very liberating experience.
"Many times I had felt frustrated at not being able to record the composition of my choice because of some man made or natural flaw, like the inevitable electricity poles & wires or weather conditions. Now I'm able to work on the image to project the mood I percieved. Mostly my effort in terms of digital enhancement has been to touch up in a way where it is not obvious that the image has been digitally altered. However there are times when one just cuts loose and freaks out.
"I love strong saturated colours and graphic compositions but the thing which pleases me the most is to be able to convey the serene mood of the subject and moment.
"In 1998 I put up my portfolio on my own web site at www.atulsharma.com and a more comprehensive one onto a CD. At the time of writing now, I'm in the process of upgrading to a high end machine to work on very high resolution image files (up to 100 mb) for a solo exhibition in Paris later this year."
Studio:- K-316/10, 2nd Floor
M. B. Road, Lado Saria
New Delhi - 110 030, India
tel: (91)98100 35280