She may pass off as a pretty young girl in her 20s, but Shravya Kagolanu from Vijayawada is already going places with her passion. Shravya, who loves photography, makes it look like camera is a part of her gene makeup. This explains her outstanding work showcased on the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards under the category, 2017 Student Focus.
The finalist of the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards, Shravya is now among top contenders for the up coming Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr – 2017 Exhibition to be held at the prestigious Somerset House, London in April.
A simple and unassuming young lady from Bezawada is now raring to go places and capture further horizons with many more achievements. Kosta Life catches up with Shravya Kagolanu over a candid chat.
Tell us something about your background
I am a 90’s kid and grew up in Vijayawada. I have done my schooling at VP Siddhartha Public School and Engineering at Koneru Lakshmaiah College of Engineering. After living in Vijayawada for 20 years, I moved to Chennai to pursue my Masters in Communications at MOP Vaishnav College of Engineering. As a child, I was always interested in arts. Writing and music were my main interests as a kid. Photography came into the picture later on during my Engineering days.
What inspired you to take up photography?
It was during my second year of Engineering that I realized I wasn’t cut for science. I started making pictures with my camera phone and gradually made the shift to a point and shoot camera. I used to document daily life and admire the beauty in mundane things. At that point of time, I was also helping a photographer friend of mine, (Late) Nikhilesh Perla, on shoots and short films. He was my initial inspiration to switch from science to arts.
Since when were you fascinated? Do you have any role models or people who have cast an impressionable effect?
I started fantasizing photography while studying engineering but as said, writing and music were my passions before photography happened. After moving to Chennai in 2011, I dabbled with audio production, worked as a copywriter for Ogilvy and Mather and as a photographer for an international record label. Having been in various fields of interest, I was able to make a clearer decision on what stimulated me the most. Documentation is what I obsess about, and so I picked up photography as my main career path. I seek inspiration from the books I read and the people around me. Apart from my parents and my brother, Nikhilesh Perla and Bharat Vyas, two of my friends, were the ones to have cast an impressionable effect.
It is a proud moment for you as well as the people of Andhra over this achievement. How do you feel?
It feels great to be able to represent my school and my hometown on an international platform. I have been receiving multiple messages from all over and it’s immensely gratifying to know that I am an inspiration to them. But I’ll be honest, I’m an introvert. I’m equally exhilarated and nervous about this recognition.
Have you ever faced failures during this journey? If yes, what were your learning points that can be shared with the youngsters?
I deem myself to be extremely lucky to have a family that supports me. I’ve never faced opposition in pursuing what I want to do and I believe that I skipped a major part of an artist’s struggle because of that. Of course, setting up a company, trying to get recognition, balancing finances and trying to be financially independent is a rocky lifestyle and there are a few setbacks but I wouldn’t call anything I have experienced as failures. If there is anything I have learned from the little experience I have, I realized that rejection and financial instability are a part and parcel of a photographer’s life until a certain point and it is extremely important to be patient and resilient.
What are your favorite subjects to capture on the camera?
I obsess over streets, people I meet on the streets and what they share with me.
After this achievement, has life changed for you?
Life hasn’t drastically changed yet but I personally feel more driven and focused.
What’s the way forward?
I am a professional photographer now and freelance in New York City. I aspire to create work that makes an impact on the society. I have a few long-term documentary projects that I am working on right now.
What is your message for the youngsters?
Figuring out life is a myth and does not happen overnight. Take your time, read a lot of books, get a perspective, don’t take life too seriously and always stay loyal – to what you say and what you do.