Please tell us about yourself
I am Aman Chotani. My dream is to be the world’s best Travel Photographer and I will keep working hard until I achieve it.
As much as I hate writing I hate to read. But still wanted to write about myself and inspire who dream to be a travel photographer.
Who has been your inspiration?
My dad is also a passionate photographer. He knew I loved playing around with the camera, and he told me to pursue a career in photography.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
When I was doing my BA Cinema at Asian School of Media Studies, I realised that Photography is something I really want to do in life. I started doing photography and was appreciated by everyone.
After completing my course , I decided to do masters in photography from South Africa . South Africa, known for its raw nature and wildlife suited exactly with my dreams of becoming a Travel and Wildlife Photographer. And I packed my bags and took a flight to SOUTH AFRICA.
I went to Mumbai first to get some experience in film making and worked in an ad agency for about 6 months and then slowly slowly I realized that this was not what I was yearning to become.
Still undecided about my career, I packed my bags and joined advanced diploma course in Photography at Style Design College in Durban, South Africa. I did not really enjoy going to college for theoretical knowledge. I loved doing practicals, I enjoyed assisting photographers. This helped me a lot to garner the real art of photography. I also assisted Nat Geo photographer Louis Klyenhans. I assisted him for a year and worked with him as a second photographer in many projects.
When young I came across a sentence that changed my path forever. It goes this way and I quote “The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows.” And that something for me was photography. I live, breathe and dream about pictures, compositions, lines, symmetry and colors. They are the variables that run my life.
Tell us about your career path
While doing my photography course I also started approaching a wildlife photographer Louis Kleynhans for part time assistance. Since I wanted practical exposure, this looked to be a great idea.
While doing my college I had to work to support my passion.
I needed good cameras and lenses, without asking money from my parents back in India.I took up a job as a salesman and I started selling cameras in a shop.
It was a life changing experience for me, I never imagined life would be so hard, staring at customers coming everyday, selling your souls to others and stand in the shop for nearly 12 hours just to earn 100 rands( 1 rand = 7 Rs.)
I used to go there everyday after my college. When I think about it now I love it because now I know the value of money and hard work.
I will never forget those days. There were times I even skipped my Lunch to save 10 rands to buy myself a good camera and camera equipment’s. It was a great learning experience but at the same time it was a very distressing one.
Those were the days, I decided that I would work really hard and become a big photographer. Life is very difficult, and one needs to work really hard to make things happen the way you want.
What was the lucky break?
One day I get a call from Louis, he needs an assistant… Yes I heard it rite . His assistant was busy and I got a Job with him. After the first shoot he hired me for other shoots too as an assistant. My work was to hold lights, stands etc. We were late for some wedding shoot and Louis told me to shoot other stuff and he shot the main stuff, after the shoot he liked my work and hired me as his second photographer.I become his permanent employee I got a chance to travel with him to many wildlife and travel projects and also some commercial and fashion projects.It was a huge support to me in terms of learning. I gathered everything I could from him.
While exploring Africa I got an amazing shot of a Ship. I call it “The Last Ship” and it got featured in many online magazines and festivals. It also got selected in New York Gallery. It was big for me. Really special. It was a life changing shot and then I decided to get better images even than this. This was just a start. You sometimes need a motivation , and for me this was it. From then on I did not look back. I came to India to start my journey as a photographer.
Tell us about your move to India
No Job, No transport, No freedom, No friends . Did not know anyone from the photography market. It all had to start from the beginning. IStarted a job at a Photography School as a Lecturer but did not like it and left within a year.
I started my own Travel Photography Club and it was a hit.
But after a year I started getting many shoots and could not continue the club.
After hard work for almost 6 years, I got selected for Nat Geo Covershot Tv Show and appeared on National Geographic Channel, India. After the show my picture made it again in the National Geographic worldwide. It was selected as the picture of the day worldwide. Got published online and in Nat Geo’s Magazine.
It was not easy at all, sleepless nights, hardcore traveling to mountains, deserts, forests, streets sometimes without food without hotels sleeping wherever I could find place. It was difficult but it feels great after what I have achieved.
What are your best achievements?
And finally an article published on 121clicks.com quoted as “The Most Inspiring Travel Photographer from India”, That was the biggest award for me.
The journey has just started. I love what I do and will keep doing and loving it. And I will not stop,You will see me growing and growing. Crossing all the lines, I can’t stop and sit.I have like this fire in me which will break all the rules of life and try to become the best photographer of the world and one day I will.
I am a Travel Photographer who creates beautiful and inspiring images. I tell stories through my pictures, I live experiences through my journey.