Year 2014 – Knowing the Blogger.

If 2013 was all about taming my mind, 2014 so far has been all about unleashing the blogger in me. I had always wanted to make a mark as a blogger and this year it was. I thank all of you who are reading this for making this year so beautiful for me.

My online help to the young seemed to have done something right. I was invited to conduct photography MeetUp (workshop) in Frank Anthony Public School. After the good response there, Loreto College, Techshu and NIT Durgapur invited me for the same.

 

Anirban Saha, Photography workshop in Kolkata

Receiving the small gift from the Vice Principal, The Frank Anthony Public School.

Having helped Averi explore Purulia during Tusu, my appetite for Bengal based folk festivals, grew. Well, that led me to travel as well and everyone knows I love travelling.
The Tusu blog post was something new for me and my readers. They liked it and it was a niche topic. Soon I found this to be appearing in Google’s search results’ first page. It was an incredible feeling. I covered Boshonto Utshob in Jorasanko, Gajan and Charak in Krishnadebpur. People appreciated my work, kept sharing it and my first mark as a photo-blogger was made.

Basanta Utsav, Basant utsav, Boshonto utshob, basanta utsab

Shot during Basanta Utsav in Jorasanko thakur bari

Gajan festival in West Bengal, Gajan festival in Bengal, Gajan in Krishnadebpur

Shot during Gajan in Krishnadebpur.

The spread of my blog also got me an invite from the Maya Art Space. It was my first invitation as a photographer / Blogger to showcase my photographs and is very special. Slightly prior to this, I had been approached by the Bengali magazine Uraan and Daricha Foundation. They came across my blog and wanted to use a few photographs. One of the photographs showcased on my blog, shot by Pratyay went on to become the cover photograph of the magazine. Daricha used a few Tusu photographs and we are planning to work together some time soon.

Maya Art Space, Photography exhibition Kolkata

Speaking at Maya Art Space.

 

As recently as last month, an advertisement agency got in touch with me and wanted to use a photograph from my blog. I had gladly consented. They used the photograph in West Bengal Tourism’s hoardings. To see my photograph printed that big and put up across the city is a very special feeling.

Christmas celebrations in Kolkata

My photograph being legally used by West Bengal Tourism.

However, the spread of my blog and the visibility over search results also increased plagiarism. If not all, I would like to mention the photograph stolen by the State Government’s Department of Information and Cultural Affairs’ advertisement of Lok Prasar Prakalpa and by the state BJP. I had blog posted about the plagiarism and later had sent a legal notice to Genesis Advertisement Ltd, regarding the copyright violation. The case has been settled. The response I got from my friends over the social media has been overwhelming. From sharing my blogposts, to mentioning my post in English and other languages, using my blog post to cover the issue in a leading publication to a Mumbai based lawyer wanting to fight my case for free – Expressing my gratitude in mere words is simply not possible. I shall always be indebted to you for helping and supporting me.

Lok Prasar Prakalpa, Bengal plagiarism

How the photograph was plagiarised

 

I’d always wanted to make my friends meet seniors who had always helped and inspired me in photography and let them know the power of social media. Conceptualized “Social Media in Photography”, where on one hand we had photographers and social media dignitaries who inspire and on the other hand we had the younger lot of Kolkata photographers sitting.

 

It is for the first time I managed an event in Kolkata. It would not have been possible without Subhadrika’s constant efforts, iLead as venue partners, support from the guests, sponsors like Rational Photographics, Inspiria and people who had come forward to help – Cam2O, Gleecus, Techshu, Upamanyu. And of course, the incredible set of people who had come for the event. Of the 200 seats, 191 tickets were sold.

 

And none the less, my team primarily of school students did a fantastic job coordinating it and pulling it through. A mention of the elders in the group – Asmita, Aishwarya, Koustav, Ramasish needs to be done. The team is big, cannot name all. The super excited Surya (the second official member of the group) had to stay in Vellore taking tests. The event later got a slight mention in Anandabazar Patrika’s article which spoke about the impact of social media in photography.

social media in photography

Me speaking in Social Media in Photography

During the start of the year, I wanted to connect to bloggers based in Calcutta to form a small well knit community. The Aviva blogger’s meet fuelled it and with the help of Ramasish, I formed Kolkata Bloggers. Ramasish has given all his efforts into it, while I had only given the idea, the vision and technical help. Today it has helped to create more than 20 new bloggers, has indexed more than 160 bloggers and managed a range of events. The events ranged from covering Tollywood films, meeting Rajya Sabha MP to brain storm and take Kolkata forward, to organizing meetups and workshops. If everything goes well, we might be a part of a mega literary event in 2015. The core team has expanded from 2 to 4. The supporting team has expanded from 3 to 8. A very special mention of Arjyak (CSE, Heritage Institute of Technology) needs to be done. He is the person who does all the talking from the page these days. Mark my words – it is not easy answering all range of questions.

Kolkata Bloggers, Bloggers based in Kolkata, Bengali bloggers, sponsored review Kolkata

Helped Kamanasish roy organise Baari Tar Bangla blogger engagement programme. www.KolkataBloggers.com

 

Talking about blogging and photographing, travelling had been an integral part in this year. Purulia in January and November, Krishnadebpur and Kalna during April, Murshidabad during June, Meghalaya in October, Sikkim in December, I felt I am the college going Anirban, albeit with a small paunch and less thoughtful.

Double decker root bridge, Meghalaya tourism

Shooting Harshit and Surrbhi from Double Decker Root Bridge, Nongriat, Meghalaya

 

A few things could have been done better. Logistics and PR during the event “Social Media in Photography”, definitely tops the list. I burnt a couple of bridges, disappointed a few. Failed to live up to a Delhi based client’s expectation and that feeling was pathetic as the lady I had to interact with was one of the best persons to talk to and work with. Next year, I promise not to repeat them.

A lot of good things happened in this year. But there are three events which shall remain close to my heart.

Harshit Mehta

Guess who’s posing?

Harshit shifted to Kolkata. We and Surrbhi have lunch together every single day, without a miss. Everyday at near 1:30 PM, I’ll get a call and the regular voice would either say “Hello. Lunch?” or “Dada. Lunch?” and I’d say, “Yes yes coming.” leaving all work and rushing to Uncleji’s jhoop. Harshit isn’t a friend any more. He is a blood brother.

Saimantick Bhadra

Saimantick wished me a Happy Birthday with this graphic.

A lot of things happened on my birthday. Soupayan came all the way to my home braving the rains, with a pastry cake a small candle after mid night to wish me Happy Birthday. Saimantick made this graphic for me. This had my eyes wet. Almost all my friends were collected by Sayon, Achira, Aishwarya and they gave me a birthday surprise party. I expected Sayon to arrange something. Sayon and Harshit were the first ones (except for my family and my ex) to gift me something. That’s the wallet I use. And Sayon arranged last year as well. The surprise for me was – Arya Chakraborty, Sayan Bhattacharya, Saimantick, Susmita, Avishek Rakshit, Koustav and Zishan also joining it. It felt so incredible, I can not explain in mere words.

Sayon Kumar Saha

My “Surprise” Birthday party

Anurita Barui

Me, My selfie sketched and the awesome artist

So this awesome artist Arunita, was supposedly inspired by my selfie series. To see myself sketched, framed and hung on the wall was another unique feeling in itself. I need to work more on my vocabulary, you know?

 

and this:

Aishani Saha

Caption this?

Well, that was the wrap of the year. I should take this opportunity to wish you a very very Happy New Year ahead. May God bless you. A blogger is nothing without his readers and their comment. So please leave a comment for me. Thank you.