top of page
  • Writer's pictureRavi Putcha

Are You Worth A Professional Portrait?

That’s a provocative one? Perhaps too aggressive? Perhaps an ill conceived click bait? I understand it is not an inviting and encouraging title either. Read on…

The last time you heard about a good book, what did you do?

  • Did you buy it on Amazon?

  • Did you try to borrow it from someone you know?

  • Did you Google “free download of <<xxxxxx>>” replace xx with the name of the book.

  • Did you buy a pirated print at a traffic stop? (Now don’t pretend you don’t know that it was a pirated book - unauthorized reprint). You are likely to see it everywhere owing to your confirmation bias.

The last time you liked some photograph, did you download it and post it on Facebook without crediting the artist? Whenever I go on travels and connect with fellow travelers, I never met before and they see that I am into photography and some of them invariably ask me to send the photos (not share them or show them, just send them) over so that they can post them to their Instagram or Facebook as their own.

This behavior is endemic here in India, perhaps elsewhere to. Pirated music, pirated prints, stolen photos (downloaded and posted to Facebook without crediting the artist - yes that is stealing) all speak in one voice: Some of us have no respect for art, no respect for services, no respect for effort of other people, no respect at all for the struggles others go through in creating a body of work, be it music, a book, a painting, a photograph. This is because perhaps some of us have no respect for ourselves, our own feelings and emotions, our own struggles and hard work, we take all these for granted. Some of us lack self-respect, and that’s the point. If you can get it for free, get it for cheap somehow, just trick it and get it, keep the moral compass safely hidden in a cupboard, lock it and throw away the key.

A wealthy prospective customer once asked me if I can just come with my camera, which he thinks shouldn’t be too difficult and shouldn’t cost him anything. He thought he deserved a handout from a stranger(me) but I don’t deserve a fraction of what he got (money) in return. The insult burned deep in my mind, 4 years hence, I still lose my head over that interaction whenever I think about it.

There are exceptions though. A few of us realize that if we are not going to pay what it takes, we are not going to get it and that we are going to regret it later, that we are worth it, or the outcome will be worth it and we deserve it. Some of us know that this life is not for free, it has a price to it and we’d better pay up before it is too late and that clinging too hard to cash proves futile in the long run.

Some people who get in touch with me find my charges jarringly high, that’s not because they can’t pay, but because they believe they are not worth it - some say this in so many words.

  • “I don’t need that high a quality”

  • “I’m looking for something simpler, not as good”

  • “I don’t have a budget for that”

I’m just grateful they enquired, grateful they told me what they did. If you are curious what it takes, just drop me a line or two. I am not that hard to find...

Ps: Some people can’t indeed afford and just don’t give a shit about it yet don’t mind if someone wants to take a portrait of them. I find such interesting people in Rajasthan in general, ascetics that throng Kumbh Melas, vagabonds and drifters. I seek them, go to some lengths to find them. This is an ongoing project and here’s my work so far. Drop by and check it out:

bottom of page