We recently interviewed Manu Reghurajan, a member of Shutterbugs Creative Forum, who will be presenting selected works at the 'FOCUS' Exhibition on Friday 9 December 2016.
In 'FOCUS' Manu is presenting some of his best photographic work. He has been exploring photography for the last 5 years and his basic interest is Nature photography.
- I read that your passion for photography started in 2012, what sparked this passion?
Meeting Mohammed Arfan Asif and joining Shutterbugs Creative Forum in 2012 was the real beginning of my Photographic Journey. He has introduced me in to the world of Photography by explaining the basic concepts and then encouraging me to explore more in different traits of photography. I dabbled in various other branches of photography before settling into Nature/Macro photography as my chosen field.
- Coming from India originally, how have you found the photography scene in the UAE?
My roots are in a scenic village in Kollam, Kerala, a South Indian state. I grew up in a place gifted by nature - small rivers, paddy fields and plenty of greenery. I reached UAE in 1995 and, being a Civil Engineer, I plunged in to the construction field. My aesthetic sensibilities were clouded for a long time, which was probably due to my nature of work and the busy schedule. Active photography has now opened my eyes to the boundless beauty of nature.
When I started my photography in 2012, I realized that they UAE is very supportive to budding photographers. There are a lot of photographic groups, clubs and organisations supporting photographers through competitions, free workshops, seminars, annual photography events etc. For a passionate photographer there is no shortage of subjects and sceneries in UAE, whatever the type of photography you are interested in.
- Your main focus is macro nature photography, what is it about this that you enjoy?
Macro photography is like meditation. You will be concentrating all of your attention on one point, a dragonfly for instance, and can wait for hours to capture the right shot. It helps maintain my connection with nature. It has another beneficial concomitant too – conversing with the nature allays my worldly tensions, keeping me energized and balanced. The awareness that I am not separate from nature has brought harmony and balance to my life.
- You were awarded the "Licentiateship" of The Royal Photographic Society of UK in 2014, what was this for? And how did you work to achieve this?
My licentiateship was awarded in 2014 for a panel 10 images taken in UAE demonstrating the basic knowledge of photography in different fields. However, more satisfaction came when I was awarded the ARPS - Associate of Royal Photographic Society - by RPS, UK, in November 2015 for my panel of 15 images - 'Insects of UAE.' These are the images of insects taken in and around Dubai. It is hard to expect the presence of rich insect life in the tropical desert habitat of Dubai. Though for a casual observer, Dubai environment might appear to be devoid of insects, I was able to observe and photograph a remarkable variety of insect life here.
- What will you be presenting at ‘FOCUS’ photography exhibition?
Even though my photos were exhibited as part of group exhibitions, this is the first time I am presenting a solo exhibition of my works. In “Focus” I will be exhibiting selected images from my best works concentrating mainly on nature photography with specialisation on the macro world of UAE. There are also a number of images presenting glimpses of UAE. Ninety percentage of the images in the Exhibition are taken in and around Dubai, which has become my second home for the last 21 years.
- What are you most looking forward to about the exhibition?
Making prints of best works and getting them exhibited to the public is a dream come true for any photo artist and I am not different. It is a matter of great self-satisfaction. I sincerely hope to have many visitors who are photographers and art lovers of Dubai. I also hope to receive their feedback, which will help me to fine tune my approach and work hard to produce more fulfilling images.
- What 3 tips would you give to any aspiring photographer in the UAE?
1. Explore different type of photography, increase your self-awareness and then choose your photography field and concentrate on that field of specialisation to create those master pieces.
2. Ultimately the photography you are doing should make you happy and satisfied, to me, which is more important than awards and recognitions.3. Learning theory is good, but the key is practice, practice and more practice. Keep clicking, analyze the images, take feedback, review again and adjust your photography. After some time one should become able to visualize what you need to shoot and then capture that in the frame, rather than shooting whatever you see and then deciding what to present during the post processing.
- Do you feel that being a member of Shutter Bugs Creative Forum has helped with your personal development as a photographer?
Shutter Bugs has not helped me to become a photographer, instead it has made me the photographer which I am today. After my first two years of photographic trips with the Shutter Bugs Team, the mentor- Arfan Asif - has set me free to explore my own photography with occasional guidance. In his words “I expect the members of Shutter Bugs to eventually take ownership of their own photography and become Photo Artists.”