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Three photojournalists Rajtilak Naik, Atish Naik, and Hemant Parab representing the Goa Union of Journalists were chosen to showcase their work at the
recent Kala Ghoda Arts festival, in Mumbai. And how could NT BUZZ not highlight this?

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

Always behind the lens, capturing smiles, tragedies, historical events, news, celebrities, etc, recently three photojournalists from Goa took their passion for photography a step further representing the Goa Union of Journalists at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) in Mumbai.

Rajtilak Naik who is the president of Goa Union of Journalists and work as the special photographer with The Times of India-Goa, Atish Naik working with Gomantak Times, and Hemant Parab of The Navhind Times, were among the 20 photographers from around India selected to tell stories through photographs at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) in Mumbai which was held from February 5 to 11, 2020.

The 20 photostories were selected based on how they reflect the different faces of the world; improve, correct, and enhance the true image that is to be seen by the viewer.

After a thorough selection process, the works of these three were selected for what they do best- click photos that matter. Curated by Shiresh R Karrale (Mumbai School of Photography), Mukesh Parpiani (Piramal Art Gallery, NCPA, Mumbai) and Varsha Karale, the show was hosted at Jehangir Terrace Gallery.

“I never take such competitions or exhibitions seriously. Even though I have decent years of experience and have been a fine arts student, I always thought of myself as an amateur photographer. While I had heard of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival while in college, I sent my entry in more because the president of GUJ and my role model Rajtilak Naik kept pushing and prodding me and I didn’t want to disapoint him,” says Hemant who works for The Navhind Times, and who like Rajtilak and Atish could not quite believe the news when they learned of their selection. The trio went on to share space with 17 other photojournalists from across India.

“Normally we like clicking photos with celebrities or admire works displayed. But this was like our celebrity moment, one that we felt proud of and quite embarrassed too as people walked by, appreciated our works and clicked photos with us,” they say.

And being part of the festival brought a great deal of satisfaction to them. “When you share space with some of the best photojournalists’ in the country, it is a huge boost to Goan photojournalism,” Rajtilak points out.

Atish also agrees, adding that while he used to think that he ‘just works for a small news organisation in Goa’, post this experience, he has begun to think differently. He now believes that people out there pay attention to photos. “Hardwork shows results,” he says.

Hemant meanwhile believes this platform will boost his confidence and make him challenge himself to do better and improve on his skill, while learning from others and improving younger photographers in the field of photojournalism.

Speaking about how working as a photojournalist for a news organisation has helped him evolve, Hemant says, that unlike wedding and commercial photography, being in the field of journalism has given him for the past 10 years a completely different angle of looking at people, events, news, etc.

“Since I mostly work for features and not hard news, this profession has allowed me to meet new people and learn something new,” Hemant shares before adding that he often breaks into conversation with people from creative fields.

And like most people, his aim too is to become renowned “as a photojournalist where people can recognise me by the style of my work and not by my name,” he says.

As the president of the Goa Union of Journalists, Rajtilak feels honoured that members from the union could make the cut at this iconic internationally acclaimed art festival in Mumbai. “As the participation was through the Goa Union of Journalists, it’s a proud moment for the entire journalist fraternity in the state,” he says.

Speaking about the importance of photojournalists in making news impactful, Rajtilak believes that photojournalists should not limit their work to mere press conferences and events. “Instead they should move away from the predictable coverage and think out of the box by focussing on issues concerning the society,” he stresses.

GUJ (Goa Union of Journalists’) has plans to hold a series of workshops and outdoor sessions for photojournalists while partnering with other photo journalism associations in the country vis-a-vis an exchange programme. “I think the time has come that we all celebrate the might of Goan photojournalists,” says Rajtilak.

He concludes that there is a need for everyone in the profession to support each other. “No one is an expert in the field. All that we can do is work hard and move towards excellence. Senior photojournalists and juniors too must keep this mantra in mind and help each other in this journey of visual journalism,” he stresses, adding that sharing and helping doesn’t make one poor but can add meaning to one’s professional life.

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