Published: 29th May 2019
Click this way: How Sheikh Ashraf managed to make his photographic dreams come true
"It was a learning for me to always keep your motive in mind and keep moving no matter what the circumstances might be," says Ashraf
Toying with his camera since class XI purely for fun today, Sheikh Ashraf Ahmed has made a career out of photography while still pursuing his second year of Mass Communication from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. "I wasn't really interested in earning from it," says the 23-year-old, but posting his clicks on Instagram led to wedding shoot offers and Ashraf jumped right in. "It was made clear to me that the pay won't be great and I won't get much respect either," he recalls. He was given Rs 3,000 for his first assignment and though he is earning better, till date, he is addressed as photowala. And this is the story of how he not just earned well, but while doing so, even earned respect in this field. And this is not all, last month, he celebrated the first anniversary of his company Urban Reels, under which, he conducts all his shoots.
As a freelancer, he has covered around 40 weddings and under Urban Reels, he has covered four weddings
Two things that Ashraf learned very quickly was that hard work and marketing is a very potent mixture which can take you places. So he poured them in generous amounts to ensure that his pictures are nothing but top class. But there was one instance where he had to change his name to Rahul, just so that a conservative Hindu family is more comfortable around him. And because of his extensive experience in covering Hindu weddings and his familiarity with the rituals, he blended in like a pro. But he had his own questions. "I was surprised to learn that just by changing my name, I had changed my 20 years of my social identity and people were not affected just because I had a familiar name like theirs," he retrospects. But he told himself, 'Never again' and never went down this path again and frankly, he never had to because he has made a solid name in the field.
I started as a freelancer and went into candid photography first
Sheikh Ashraf Ahmed, Founder, Urban Reels | (Pic: Sheikh Ashraf Ahmed)
Currently, Ashraf is interning as a Sales Executive in an event management company and manages Urban Reels too. He doesn't know about the future, but as of now, he is going with the flow and letting the camera do the talking.
For more on him, click on facebook.com/skashraf.ahmed.9