ePhotography today is one of the most creative mediums of expression. People today from all walks of life seem to have developed an enchanted interest in the subject. Such has also been the case for Pynkmenlang Lyngdoh Mawnai of Meghalaya who pursued his dream which lead him to leading fashion magazines like Femina, Cosmopolitan. Here, at TNT, we spoke to him on his visit to Shillong for his latest documentary.
TNT – Tell us something about yourself, your childhood, education and how were you introduced to photography?
Ever since I was a kid I have always had these interesting visual ideas that comes into my mind but I could never paint or draw. It was only later when I realized that photography was a good medium to express my thoughts and ideas. My grandpa was also a Khasi filmmaker and seeing him making films out of whatever little he had really inspired me. With this realization i knew i had to refine the art which grew so strong within me and where i grew up in. And so after I finished my Schooling from Army School Shillong, I went on to pursue my graduation in Media Technology from St. Anthony’s College and went on further to finish my PG diploma course in Photography from Light and life Academy, Ooty.
TNT – Apart from fashion photography, what are the other genres where you as a photographer have worked on?
Apart from Fashion photography I love shooting Portraits and in fact anything to do with people. I’ve also very recently started shooting nude and though not many people really appreciate or understand this genre, I personally feel that this genre has really helped me understand the human body form and the whole beauty of appreciating your own bare body. To me ‘Nudity is Purity’.
TNT – Where do you drawn your inspiration for Photographhy from?
Well to me inspirations comes from almost anything and everything. But since l love shooting people, I love to sit, have a cup of tea and observe people around and this helps me to direct my models or subject to be as natural as possible in front of the frame. I also like to just be alone around nature and spend my time thinking of new ideas that I could use for my shoots. Also there are few photographers like Tim walker , Prabuddha Dasgupta, Vishesh Verma, Ren Hang whose work has always inspired and motivated me so much.
TNT – As they say that “Mumbai has a place for everyone” but it is equally tough to make it there. What were your challenges as you made the journey from Meghalaya to Mumbai?
I still remember when I had decided to shift to Mumbai and I had taken an evening flight and when we were about to land I could see the entire city was lit, it was as if the entire city was on fire. I was very nervous and thought that I might not be able to survive in such a big city. Yes it is not an easy place to survive but in many ways Mumbai has thought me how to be independent and no matter how tough the situation is there’s always a way out.
TNT – There has been a talk of racism and racial abuse these days, with the people from the region articulating their voices now more than ever. Did you also have to encounter any such instance?
Mumbai is a super friendly city and people are very helpful. There’s no way you can ever get lost in Mumbai, people are always there to help you with directions. But yes there has been times when I was called names but I dealt with it in such a way that they had to apologies to me later. But it happens very rarely though.
TNT – You have been working on documentary films , Coffee table book, Fashion shoots as well, please tell us more on that?
Yes I recently finished shooting a documentary for Daniel Syiem’s Ethnic Fashion House (DSEFH) . The film was called ‘Silk Root’ a story of Ryndia and it was screened at The Nehru Center in London and later in Geneva. In collaboration with Maneesh Mandanna a renowned photographer, I also shot a Fashion film for DSEFH called ‘Free Spirit’ which was screened at the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2015 and was later featured in Vogue India as top ten fashion film. Apart from that there are few other interesting Fashion shoots projects and Portrait assingment that I shot for a coffee table book , commissioned by The Department of Arts and Culture, Government of Meghalaya and Nesfas.
TNT – How much of an inspiration is the region to you?
After finishing my Pg diploma course in Photography I realized that I needed to explore and learn more. So I thought Mumbai was a good place for me to further enhance this art form. But also at the same time since there is always this strong connection between the skill I am perfecting and my rich culture back home with all its stories, hence, I have been travelling back and forth between Mumbai & Shillong, the former to enhance my techniques and possibilities and the later for inspiration & meaning.
TNT – Any recent projects that you are working on at the moment?
Well as of now I’m mostly concentrating more on my personal projects. But apart from that we are also working on another documentary and Fashion films which we would be shooting soon.
TNT – What has been your biggest achievement till now in this field that you are in?
To be honest I’m still struggling to reach that level. I still have a very long way to go. But I’m also very positive with whatever I’m doing right now and with all that I want to achieve. Though I’m not yet satisfied with my work so much but I’m happy that I am at least making some progress. And I believe there’s no end to learning and molding your skills especially in this digital world that we are living in right now.
by- Payal Bhattacharjee
The writer can be reached at –firstname.lastname@example.org