ARPAN KALITA – the spirited photographer
Arpan Kalita is a spirited drifter. Having wandered from engineering assignments to account tables to graphics, he finally found solace in nature. His journey with traveling and photography started in 2011. Fresh from a stint in Delhi, the wanderer in him awakened to a new life. He made his camera an integral part of his life. Travelling is his food and mountains, his first love. Perhaps the love for the mountains has brought out the best in him when it comes to Landscape Photography. Mountains, it’s people and their struggle for existence; is what propels him. He is also involved with Wildlife and Community conservation and is working with organizations like Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust and Metropolis. He is the co-founder of Muse N Memories, Happy Drifters, and Arpan Kalita Photography.
BTS: Hi Arpan, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Could you give our readers a bit of information about you, where you’re from, and tell us a bit about the kind of work that you do?
Arpan: I hail from Guwahati, Assam. After graduating in commerce and getting a degree in Graphic Designing, I went back to doing what I love best, photography. I am mostly into Travel & Landscape Photography.
Greatest challenge would be to have patience. I mean this doesn’t come to you so easily
BTS: You’re an avid traveler. I know this is not an easy question to answer, but what trip would you say was your best experience? And why?
Arpan: As you said, pointing out a particular one would be very difficult. All are unique in their way. I consider my first trip to Dzukou Valley a unique one. I mean it was a game-changer. It was in July 2013 when I went for that trek, having no idea how big a break that would give me in the long run. Before that, I think I had that spark in my photography but needed some catalyst to fire it up. It took some time to take flight but August 2014 saw two of my photographs in the National Geographic India Traveler Print. That was my first national exposure.
BTS: The world is full of amazing places and photo opportunities – what are some of the countries or regions you would like to visit, and photograph, in the coming years?
Arpan: I want to travel to every nook and corner of our big, beautiful world. For a Landscape & Travel photographer, the whole of the world is our muse. In India, I still have some part of Ladakh; I want to visit more of our Northeast, few areas in Himachal and Uttarakhand. I’ll leave the Southern India part for later half of the journey. Internationally, I hope to visit Nepal, Mongolia, the whole of Central Asia actually, Lake Baikal occupying a very special place. I would like to hike up some volcanoes in South East Asia. Iceland, Scotland is on the list too.
BTS: You’re been blogging for a while now. Did blogging and writing about photography change your business? And if so, in what ways?
Arpan: I have been doing it for some time now. I ghost blogged for a few travel sites as well. In a way, yes, blogging did change my business. People are not always keen to see only a photograph. They like to know facts, learn stories or you can say they want to experience that place. Writing about those places, even if it’s a single line, helps people to connect. Plus, since you know that you are going to write a tiny note about that place, you tend to focus more on knowing that place closely. Locals are always amazing. And there is always the pleasure to bring out their stories. New age storytellers, as they say.
And there is always the pleasure to bring out their stories. New age storytellers, as they say
BTS: Did you have any formal training in photography?
Arpan: No. But once I went to an institute to teach Post Processing techniques to photography students in 2010-11. I did manage to sneak into a few classes then.
That comes in handy for me as I can keep working on my photos endlessly and meticulously.
BTS: Please describe your post-processing workflow.
Arpan: I try to keep it as simple as possible and as close to the actual scene that I had seen. I’m a graphic designer too; hence I have had formal training in Photoshop. That comes in handy for me as I can keep working on my photos endlessly and meticulously. But I always try to keep it simple. An ideal workflow would be a little bit of Adobe Lightroom where I make all the global adjustments like white balance, lens correction, chromatic aberration correction, etc. and then exporting it to a tiff file, finally working on all the local adjustments in Adobe Photoshop, if and when needed only.
BTS: Over the years you’ve been building a reputation as an artist who fosters his career through teaching, speaking, and writing. What are the greatest challenges of making a living as a photographic artist? What are the keys to succeeding at it?
Arpan: Greatest challenge would be to have patience. I mean this doesn’t come to you so easily. You need to work hard to make your stand, in this case, to make your art known. You need to add value to it. 3 P’s I would suggest generally, Preparation, Patience, & Perseverance.
BTS: Finally, what are you looking forward to over the next year?
Arpan: New adventure and new avenues to explore so that while I am away, I can see new places, see vivid sunsets, eat more local food, experience more cultures and come to tell new stories.
Photography for me has always been highlighting the best a place has to offer, the vibrancy of the landscapes, the architectural grandeur of monuments, or the warmth and friendliness of its people.
NB: All photographs used in this article are owned exclusively by Arpan Kalita & Arpan Kalita Photography. No photographs may be used in any way without prior permission from Arpan Kalita. He can be reached through his website www.arpankalita.com. His Instagram handle is @arpankalita_