Imagine travelling the globe, capturing foreign cities through the lens’ eye and living the dream of every shutterbug. Well, Sai Krishnan, Project Manager, HCL Infosystems, who juggles his passion for photography with his day job manages to live that dream almost every day.
“Success is about following your passion,” says the 36-year-old software engineer who recently won accolades for the nation at the eighth International Abilympics held in Seoul, South Korea. His snapshots were adjudged the fourth best portrait photography in the world. No ordinary feat considering that nearly 4,000 participants from across the world took part in the Abilympics, a host of competitions held once in four years to celebrate vocational skills of persons with disabilities.
And to think it all started with a small hotshot camera that his father gifted him when he was in Class 9. Sai Krishnan zooms back to his childhood days spent snapping candid moments for the family album. “I used to observe how the professional photographers were taking the snaps, and try out different angles,” fondly reminisces the budding photographer.
Soon he won a slew of competitions that kept him glued to his pet passion. But he decided to play it safe by pursuing a mainstream career with a B Sc in Physics followed by a full-fledged career in the IT industry. But he always kept his passion alive by capturing the city hot spots till opportunity knocked his door in 2007.For this electronics-junkie, participating at the zonal level selection for Abiliympics in Chennai was an accident of sorts. A newspaper advertisement calling for participants created the momentum. The rest, as they say, is history.
“At that time I didn’t have an SLR camera like the rest of the participants, I just went with my point-and-shoot camera. Luckily, I won the gold medal there,” he says. He went on to win a Silver medal in 2007 in the International Abilympics held in Japan.
From October 2010, when he qualified in the Zonal levels, till his departure to Seoul, he put in more than seven hours of rigorous practice every day to enhance his shooting skills for both indoor and outdoor photography. And the realisation that his co-contestants were technically sound professionals stirred him to step up the creativity quotient. “It was a very tough competition. I practiced hard with different kinds of lighting. In fact, I set up a studio in my friends house for that. And before I left, I already had an idea of how I would go about it.”
On a wistful note, he shares his experience of meeting distinguished competitors in Seoul. “Each and every person is the best in their country. They are incredibly talented.” Ask him about his future projects in photography, and he confides that a trip to Tanjore is in the pipelines. “I want to shoot along the Cauvery delta. It has a rich culture and heritage which I want to capture,” says Krishnan, who also participated in the National Paralympics Swimming championship in December in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, and was elected the Joint Secretary of Tamil Nadu Paralympics Swimming Association. His advice for students who want to turn their hobbies into a career? “You need to identify your skill and determination to excel in it. Follow your passion, and you will have a job that you are in love with.”