From the Streets to Success: Sheru Photography’s Inspiring Journey on World Photography Day 2023

World Photography Day 2023 celebrates the essence of storytelling through images, as photographers strive to capture the profound narratives hidden within each frame. Their pursuit revolves around crafting a perfect shot that transcends mere photography and evolves into a compelling tale. Behind every carefully set frame lies a story that goes beyond the subject, encompassing their struggles, anguish, and resilience. Photographers aim to encapsulate these emotions, transforming a single moment into a powerful portrayal of the human experience.

In the bustling heart of New Delhi, amidst the vibrant energy of the city, we had the privilege of sitting down with Sheru, the young and talented photographer, writer, and documentary filmmaker whose remarkable journey has been an inspiration to many. With his camera in hand and a smile that radiates warmth, Sheru shared his insights, experiences, and even some of the captivating portrait images he’s captured. This exclusive interview with AboutInsider took place on the occasion of World Photography Day, offering a unique window into his creative world.

Sheru, thank you for taking the time again to speak with us today. Your story has touched the hearts of countless individuals. Let’s start at the beginning – your passion for photography began at an early age. Can you tell us how it all started?
Thank you for having me again. Yes, my love for photography began when I was just 9 years old. I used to borrow my teacher’s phone during school festivals and NGO events to capture precious moments. The joy of freezing those candid expressions and emotions in a photograph was something that captured my heart from the start.

Your journey from a young boy with a camera to a successful Founder, Director, and Photographer is remarkable. How did “Sheru Photography” evolve from a Facebook fan page to a thriving community of photography enthusiasts?
It was a gradual process that unfolded with the love and support of my growing audience. Initially, I started “Sheru Photography” as a platform to share my work with friends and family. But as my skills evolved, people started noticing and appreciating my unique perspective. Word-of-mouth and social media played a significant role in expanding my reach, and before I knew it, I had a community of passionate photography enthusiasts who encouraged and inspired each other.

That’s awesome! So, how did “Say Cheese,” the award-winning documentary about your life, come into being?
Oh, it’s a surreal story! “Say Cheese,” the award-winning documentary about my life, came into being through a surreal series of events. In 2012, the Japanese television series NHK Inside discovered me, Sheru, and my incredible journey. Filmmaker Ishani Dutta ma’am was intrigued by my story and work, and together with NHK Inside, they decided to create a documentary about my life, titled “Say Cheese.”
The documentary followed me around, capturing the trials and tribulations I faced, my aspirations, and my unwavering belief in the power of the camera to bring happiness. It depicted my journey from the streets to a place of success and accomplishment.
The experience of being part of this documentary was truly moving. Ultimately, “Say Cheese” went on to win awards at the prestigious 6th Woodpecker International Film Festival held in New Delhi.

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Sheru, in 2019, you established Sheru Photography Business in Delhi. What drove you to create this venture?
My deep-rooted passion for photography was the driving force behind creating Sheru Photography business. From a young age, I felt an innate connection with capturing moments and telling stories through the lens. In 2019, I decided to turn this passion into a business, hoping to offer top-notch photography services that would not only meet but exceed the expectations of my clients. It was a way to share my perspective of the world and make a lasting impact through my work.

Your entrepreneurial venture, “The Trending People,” is dedicated to shedding light on social issues through documentaries and written content. What motivates you to use your talents for such causes?
The power of storytelling cannot be underestimated. Through my documentaries and written content, my goal is to amplify the voices of marginalized individuals and shed light on pressing social issues. I am particularly passionate about sharing the stories of my own experiences during my time on the streets. As a photographer and filmmaker, I believe it is my duty to utilize my skills for the greater good.
I am committed to using my platform and collaborating with esteemed publications such as Women’s Web, Youthkiawaaz, and Amar Ujala to share these stories. I firmly believe that the narratives of real people facing genuine challenges deserve to be heard. By doing so, my aim is to foster a society that is more compassionate and empathetic.

You have had the opportunity to work with renowned organizations such as Facebook, UNICEF, and others. How do you handle the pressure of such high-profile assignments?
Every assignment is a chance to make a difference and create something meaningful. While there may be pressure, I believe in staying true to my vision and staying focused on the story I want to tell. My camera is a tool that empowers me to connect with people, and I approach each assignment with humility and a willingness to listen and learn from others. It’s essential to remember that every photograph carries the power to impact lives and raise awareness.

With your frequent travels and fieldwork as a photographer and camera person, do you find yourself feeling isolated or lonely at times?
Yes, sometimes, being out in the field as a photographer and camera person can feel lonely. My work often takes me to different places, far away from my home and loved ones. It can be tough to be away for long periods.
However, I find comfort and inspiration in the stories I capture through my camera. Each photo and project allow me to connect deeply with people and their experiences. These genuine connections with the people I meet during my travels help ease the loneliness.
Moreover, the support and encouragement I receive from my audience, community, and colleagues remind me that my work matters and is valued by many. Their feedback keeps me motivated and makes the solitary moments worthwhile.
Additionally, I have made friends with fellow photographers, filmmakers, and locals during my journeys. These bonds create a sense of companionship, making me feel less alone in unfamiliar places.
Although loneliness is a part of the journey, the fulfillment I find in my work and the meaningful connections I make with people make it all worthwhile. ‘’I believe that every moment I capture has a purpose, and that drives me to stay focused and dedicated in my creative pursuits.’’

Beyond your professional achievements, you have also been a pillar of support for your sister. How do you balance your responsibilities while pursuing your passion?
My sister means the world to me. They’ve been my cheerleaders from day one. Balancing work and family can be tough, but it’s all about love and passion. I try my best to spend time with them and give my best in everything I do.

As we celebrate World Photography Day, what message do you have for aspiring photographers and our readers?
To all aspiring photographers and others, I want to say this – “embrace your passion, chase your dreams relentlessly, and never be afraid to tell your story. Your unique perspective has the power to inspire and create change. Remember that it is not just the destination that matters, but the journey that shapes you as an artist and a person.’’

Thank you so much, Sheru, for sharing your incredible journey with us. Your passion and talent are truly inspiring!
Thank you for having me! I hope my story encourages everyone to follow their dreams and spread happiness through their art.