Pixel perfect: The amazing journey of photographer Keshav Vitla

Pixel perfect: The amazing journey of photographer Keshav Vitla

Submitted by alvin on Wed, 2016-03-23 10:02 Bengaluru: From selling vegetables for a living to being a well-known photo-journalist in the country, having his photos featured in leading media outlets in India and abroad, Keshav Vitla has come a long way.Born in a small village located 35-km from Mangaluru, Keshav’s passion for photography began in 1979 when he visited a photo studio in Vitla, a small town. At that time, Keshav had just completed his SSLC and had been selling vegetables for a living.Smitten by the camera, Keshav immediately began working at a studio in Vitla and after learning the basics moved back to Mangaluru in 1980 to work for another photo studio for a salary of Rs 75.Keshav’s restless heart took him to Goa as well. “When I heard Goa was tourist paradise, I took my bag and rushed to Goa to learn photography. I worked in hotel cleaning tables and also joined a studio and worked as a part-timer. But that place did not help me to reach my goal,” says Keshav.After Goa, I moved to Bengaluru during 1981 and worked for three years as a technical assistant in transparency process with Newtone colour lab where I got a chance to develop photographs taken by veteran photographers - Tippeswamy, Gurumit Tukral, Ashok Koshy and others. Here, I had a monthly salary of Rs 175, recalled Keshav Vitla.Back in Mangaluru, Keshav had a stroke of luck in 1984. He got to work with veteran journalist late Vaddarse Raghuram Shetty at the Kannada daily Mungaru as a freelance photo-journalist.“I was lucky enough to start my media career with such a person and was honoured to cover the visit of Pope John Paul VI during 1986,” says Keshav Vitla.However, Mangaluru was not enough for Keshav Vitla. His restless nature took him Bengaluru which had been witnessing the IT boom during the 90s. In Bengaluru, Keshav began to frrelance for a while, but in 1996, he had another piece of luck when senior journalist Eshwar Daitota gave him a chance to work for Udayavani and later moved to Kannada Prabha. At KP, Keshav had the chance of working with another senior journalist ‘YNK’.KP was Keshav’s first fulltime paid job. In 2005, Keshav resigned from KP and decided to travel. The result was Facets of Karnataka, a collection of Keshav’s photojournalism, covering eight years of his travels in Karnataka, which was published in 2014.His photojournalism was also published in international media houses including Washington Post and in major Indian newspapers such as Hindustan Times.Keshav is also the first photographer to hold an exhibition on stray dogs titled ‘The Faithful’.“I achieved what I wanted due to my passion,” says Keshav. “During my starting days, it was difficult for me due to my financial condition and even the technology was very poor. But I used every chance that came my way to follow my passion. If I had not taking risks, then I would have been selling vegetables in my village or working in some school as an attender.”On recent boom in photo journalism, Keshav says, “Now It is very easy for anyone to become a photographer. One just needs a camera, an idea, and some talent. Since the technology has improved, there is no need to worry about losing shots or shutter speed.”Keshav also has a unique perspective on his brand of photography, or the ideal of a good photographer. He calls it ‘DIE’ - Documentation, information and education. “If photography is done in a right way, it leads to “DIE” which helps to make the society a better place,” says Keshav.Keshav brought straydogs issue to the fore through his photographs. Bfirst.in will be proud to showcase his photographs in an exclusive gallery.