Meet Pubarun Basu, the Kolkata student who is the first Indian to win the Youth Photographer title at Sony World Photography Awards

The winning picture, titled No Escape from Reality, is a story of entrapment told through Pubarun's lens. We find out more
Pubarun Basu
Pubarun Basu

At four, Pubarun Basu first held a camera and that was it for him. Since then there has been no looking back for the 20-year-old Kolkata lad. Pubarun won big at the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards on April 15, 2021 and was presented with the title of Youth Photographer of the Year by the World Photography Organisation in London. But that's not all, he is the first Indian to win the title in the 14-year-long history of the awards.

The winning picture, titled No Escape from Reality is a story of entrapment told through his lens. The elated 20-year-old tells us how he went about taking the picture during lockdown last year. The competition was held from July to December 2020. "Every month they gave us a theme and you have to submit a photo taken that year, you cannot submit older photos. The theme for July was composition and design. I am not really an indoor photographer but it was good challenge for me. I tried to find designs, forms, geometries in my own surrounding, inside my house. One day when I was roaming around in my parents' bedroom, I saw how the shadows of the verandah railings on the curtain made a beautiful composition. I found it quite interesting as it was a natural design. It wasn't a concrete design but portrayed an emotion. I added two hands against the curtain, as shadows and it created the perfect feeling of being trapped inside. This photo went on to earn me the title," shares Pubarun.

The winning shot: No Escape from Reality by Pubarun Basu

Pubarun participated in the youth photographers' category which allows children between 12-19 years of age to submit their photos. "I had been participating since 2019, but haven't been successful till now. Last time around, I was published under a youth highlight which was also quite a recognition and motivated me to try again next year. I knew I had to work harder. I was 19 in 2020 and it was my last chance to participate in this category of the prestigious competition. We had to submit three photos per month, one photo and the photographer was selected as the winner of that month. Out of the six whoever has the best picture won the final prize. And on April 15 I got to know that I had won, I couldn't be happier," shares an ecstatic Pubarun.

However, the youngster missed the grandeur of the celebrations in London because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year all of it was held online. However, he received a brand new mirrorless camera, certificate, memento and their annual photo book as prize. And he doesn't seem to be disappointed at all.

The Tree of Traditions: Published in BBC, shot in Ghatsila, Jharkhand, 2018 by Pubarun Basu

A student of English Literature at Bhawanipur Education Society in Kolkata, Pubarun wants to study photography. And thanks to his achievement at such a young age, he's already begun getting offers from colleges abroad.

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