Frames from real life

In a candid interview with Deccan Herald, Sinha talks about his passions and inspirations.

Kounteya Sinha

Journalist, photographer, explorer, globe trotter, public speaker, communications specialist and brand guru — Kounteya Sinha wears many hats, and recently he made heads turn with his novel exhibition, ‘Unremembered’, at the Kolkata International Photography Festival. In a candid interview with Deccan Herald, Sinha talks about his passions and inspirations.

Kounteya Sinha
Kounteya Sinha

As a photographer, what are the subjects that attract you the most?

All my work has to have meaning. It has to have a purpose. It has to make my feet bleed. It has to make my heart weep. It has to push my limits. It has to open my eyes. Photography for me is my order and my chaos. It is my karma and my service to humanity. It is my religion and my belief.

I am attracted to everything — from the exciting to the banal. Human stories are what I savour the most. To get into a person’s soul and then reveal to the world the hidden world of his or her — that’s what I find most fascinating.   

You are an award-winning journalist and an ace photographer among other things. Which among the two roles is the most gratifying?

I am a journalist first and then a photographer. I am on a short sabbatical — I do the same thing now as I did earlier — tell stories. The medium has changed slightly — from words to images. Journalists have an almost raw method to see the world — not through any tinted glass but as and how things happen. My photographs are very real — as real as this world. When I create art, I am absolutely true to myself and my subject. My photographs are living beings, not just images on paper. They sweat, they cry, they toil, they celebrate.

What are the current projects that you are working on? Are there anymore innovative shows in the pipeline like ‘Unremembered’?

I am on a sabbatical now from journalism. I am finishing four large book projects.

I have eight large photo shows planned — many of them outside India. I have chalked out a plan to travel across 22 new countries by 2020. I am also doing individual projects — some of them very challenging, and outside my comfort zone, in 13 different countries.

Projects in the pipeline like ‘Unremembered’...

For the love of my grandmother and for my city, I announced the first-of-its-kind fellowship to save Kolkata’s iconic heritage localities of Kumartuli and Kalighat — home to the idol makers of Bengal. To protect the centuries-old tradition of pottery and idol-making in Bengal. Five children (maximum age 20) are being paid Rs 5,000 per month (Rs 25,000) between May 1 and October 1 (six months) to assist and learn the craft of pottery and making idols from their parents who are involved in the trade for decades. Five different pujas across Kolkata will be urged to purchase the idols from these five families so that children are motivated to continue learning when they see their work being appreciated. I have named it Sarba Mangala Fellowship of Arts — named after my grandmother who passed away peacefully in Kolkata on February 21, 2018.

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