While social norms still dictate the parameters of success only by becoming a doctor or engineer, individuals like Anirban are forcing people to change the way they think, their perspectives and their expectations. Anirban Kaiser, a student of the Department of Mass Media and Journalism at Independent University Bangladesh, has a different kind of passion. A content creator & photographer by profession, Anirban shares with TINDS his story of turning his hobby into a full time profession with enough potential to pursue this as a career.
TINDS: Tell us a little about your childhood.
Anirban: My childhood was rather ordinary. I was an introvert who felt invisible in his classroom, and I wasn’t a particularly good student. My family’s annual trip was the only thing that kept me excited about those times. My father and mother enjoy traveling, and we used to go around Bangladesh and India every year. That is where my fascination with travel began. My father inspired me to see a lot of films, and I recall watching the full series of James Bond films with him, and I had a terrific time. As a child, watching movies and traveling helped me develop my creative visuals and taught me to dream large, to dream the unattainable.
TINDS: 3 words that describe you the best.
Anirban: Creative, Traveller, Story-teller.
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TINDS: What would you have been if not a photographer?
Anirban: Ever since I met Shakib Al Hassan when I was a kid, I had a very strong urge to be a cricketer inspired by him. Cricket was a hobby which I wanted to pursue later in life, but couldn’t due to having to concentrate more on my studies during my A’levels.
TINDS: What inspired you to get into photography?
Anirban: It all started back in the time during my O’levels. That is when I was introduced to Instagram and I thought the app was really cool. I thought to myself that I could portray my daily life there through posting pictures. So I started posting random pictures that I used to click throughout the day. It got serious when one of my mentors, Tawsif Alam Khan, praised me for my clicks and mentioned I should rather do it professionally. Gradually I started getting more attention from people around me and surprisingly enough I had a very good number of international audience initially. It was the appreciation and motivation from people that helped me get better and keep at it.
TINDS: When did you decide to pursue a career doing this?
Anirban: It was after I finished my A-levels. I saved for two years and purchased a new camera, the Sony A6400. I used to solely do travel photography until this lovely Indonesian client contacted me about a session. She complimented my work and asked if we could do a shoot, to which I answered that I wasn’t used to doing portraits. She still insisted and felt I could and we did, and the shoot went incredibly well. It was my first paid job.
TINDS: Do you think self learning is sufficient to be a good photographer?
Anirban: Speaking from my personal experience, I believe self learning is a much more efficient way to get the job done because the execution of the vision of the man behind the lens makes more sense that way. If learned from somewhere, I think the final output might end up a little bookish and have no relevance to the creator itself. It’d rather be like putting things in a formula which would make it extremely difficult to differentiate the work to that of others. However, there is no end to learning, getting help from a professional is definitely beneficial in terms of learning.
TINDS: Tell us a little about the experience of working with different brands and people.
Anirban: The experience was thrilling. Being an introvert, I didn’t talk much ever. Initially it was a few models who reached out to me and I ended up working with them. A very big breakthrough of mine was when I got the opportunity to work with Dear Alyne from Nas Daily. When COVID hit, I spent more time reorganizing my feed and my portfolio and that is when brands started reaching out to me. Recently in 2021, I started making short videos on TIKTOK which has been an absolute game changer. I have had the opportunity to work with several brands like ACI Motors, Prime Bank, Yamaha, Tecno, Grameenphone and Sony Bangladesh.
TINDS: Tell us about your work getting featured in Al-Jazeera, how did that feel like?
Anirban: Among all the features I would say my photograph getting featured in Al Jazeera was one of my biggest achievements. It was a photograph from the protest against Rape back in November 2020. It was one of my friends who initiated the movement and I figured my photographs could convey the message and be the voice of the change that was required.
TINDS: What are your plans for the future?
Anirban: I see myself working with other brands in the future. Also, I want to travel and visit every country in the world. I hope to be able to get out on a world tour.
TINDS: What would you say your struggles were?
Anirban: Initially it was awfully hard to get my hands on well paid gigs and it was just as hard to get paid in due time. People often approach photographers to do free collaborations and there were a very limited number of works until a certain point. Later, I got very strict with my prices and now it’s only the big brands that I prefer working with.
TINDS: What would your advice be to newcomers?
Anirban: I would suggest folks to seek the genre they love and not enter into the industry to make money. It is also crucial to determine the proper pricing for clients in order to preserve consistency. Do what you enjoy and do it in your own distinct style. Do it to convey your message and show people your world, not for likes and shares!
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