Gokul Papolaa is a young lad from Uttarakhand who founded FotoPandit. FotoPandit is a professionally managed company, engaged in providing a multitude of photography services that includes Portraits, Ambiance, Candid, Happenings, Rituals and more. He founded his company in 2011 and in a very short period, his organization became one of the most desirable photography services providers in the whole of northern India. Today, we have the honor to have a chat with him.
First of all tell us about your early life. From where do you belong? What do your parents do? And where did you spend your childhood?
I still remember a lot of things that I did during my childhood and things that happened when I was a child. Sometimes those memories seem so lucid that it seems as though those events occurred only a few days back. I was born in a beautiful rural area, a small village of Lalkua called Bindukhatta. But unfortunately, I couldn't spend my whole childhood there. I spent my childhood in Chaukori (Pithoragarh), and did my schooling till class fifth from there itself. I was a hostler. I can't forget my school days. It’s a mixed bag. I have bitter and sweet memories. There were strict rules and regulations in my boarding school but after some initial hiccups, I managed to fit in. In fact, I learnt an important lesson from my hostel years, that difficulties help us to know the outer world. I had parents who held a strong belief that "Children are the best when they are away from their parents as they know how to manage in each and every condition when your parents are not with you." My parents obsessed over me being an individual boy child. I was raised in a rural location of Chaukori that provided me a wide natural environment to study and positivity infected with love and peace. But sometimes I craved for the love and affection of my parents and felt homesick. I made some friends for life, learnt many things from my teachers and even made my own place in everyone's life. Then, from class 6th to 12th, I completed my schooling from Queens Sr. Sec. School, Haldwani. I was an average student and an introvert. Coming to my family background- my father, late Shri Govind Singh was an army person, who died in the severe bomb blast in Jammu & Kashmir and my mother Mrs. Prema Devi is a homemaker.
What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for the living?
Being a B.com graduate, I didn’t find any further scope in pursuing my masters or pursuing some other pg. courses. I was in a dilemma what to do further after B.com. I didn’t find any better options in which I can make my career. From my school days, I had the passion for photography. Then, my brother-i- law and my relatives suggested me to take a degree in photography. So, I joined Arena Animation in Delhi, practiced a lot in this field and also struggled a lot. Photography was getting on my nerves. As photography was my passion, I decided why not convert this passion into a profession. Follow your heart and your dreams! If you are passionate about photography, then you can find a way to make it work and be successful. Your love for photography will take you to new heights. You just never know where your passion will lead you. Exposure in the field could lead you to the career you've dreamed of! And here is the proof. What I had thought a few years back, I am achieving it gradually. I would say that my career path is such that my career serves me, and I serve my career.
Did your parents support you in your decision to make your career in photography?
Yes, of course, they did. Seems there are a lot of us out there who have big dreams in the fields where there is a lot of struggle. I was in a similar situation. I was worried about what my parents will think and confused whether I will get any exposure in this field or not. But even then, they supported me in each and every step of my life; whether it is personal or professional .They trust me. They know whatever I will do, I will surely be successful, or whatever decision I will make it will be right. That’s why today I am here.
From where did you get the idea of fotopandit.com? And who suggested you this name?
As I am a graphic designer and a photographer t as well, a graphic designer is creative enough that he/she can get the idea. Nobody has suggested me this name. I have chosen this name on my own. Just break the word “fotopandit” into two as foto+pandit. As the word itself implies, foto means photograph or picture as the field was photography that’s why I have chosen the first word as foto and the word pandit I have chosen because I am a theist- a big follower of God, a religious person. That’s why the idea came into my mind to make it a unique word as “fotopandit“. So that people should know me by this name rather than my own name.
Exactly what is it that you want to convey with your photographs and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
As a photographer whenever I shoot, most of my pictures convey some meaning. Since I'm hired to shoot almost everything, I try to make it interesting so that it conveys some meaning for e.g., a shoot of a daughter and a father conveys a meaning and much more. There are some of my photographs that tell stories or convey moods. But sometimes the photograph can be taken just because it looks nice, nice in the eyes of the beholder.
How do you get the person that is in front of the camera onto the film or paper in the way you want?
As I am a candid photographer, I focus on the people who are photogenic. As a candid photographer, I know the various angles- from which angle the click will be perfect! One of the most effective ways to make the digital images more interesting to the eye is to change the angle that you’re shooting from. And here I go like that.
Currently, you are based in Delhi. Any future plans to expand your work in your home state Uttarakhand?
Currently I am residing in Delhi, as most of my projects are from Delhi. I do many types of photography including fashion, food, portfolios, wedding, corporates, still and much more. So, I get most of the photography projects from Delhi and other nearby locations. But now I have started taking many wedding projects in Uttarakhand as well. And, if someday, I get a better opportunity, and if I get better projects than Delhi, I will prefer Uttarakhand over Delhi and I will surely plan to expand my work in Uttarakhand.