Discovering New Life's First Clicks
Asian Photography|February 2021
One of the pioneers of the Maternity & Child Photography genre in the country, Amrita Samant is the founder of Mommy Shots and the ambassador of Newborn & Child Photographers Association of India (NCPAI). With more than 1,400 photoshoots across 10 countries under her belt, Amrita has created her unique mark in the industry characterised with cherubic smiles and twinkling eyes. An all-rounded artist, she uses her leisure time to work on social campaigns and raise awareness around issues such as NICU babies & Breastmilk Donation. We spoke to her about her experiences in the industry and the challenges she faced. Excerpts:
SANCHIT MISHRA

You have been an accomplished photographer for many years, but tell us, how did your photography journey begin?

Jogging you back to my childhood, my interest towards the arts initially grew when I was introduced to the performing arts at the age of four. Having inherited the inclination to all things art from my mother, I grew up being a performer (dance/theatre) and when the crossroads to choose a career path arrived, I didn’t have too many creative options that were encouraging.

I took the safe option of studying management and did a double Masters degree, which consequentially led me to a corporate job in Human Resources for seven years. While I worked a full-time job, my itch to do something creative always persisted. So I dabbled in the arts or just about anything creative post-work hours everyday.

I tried really hard to find a creative job that was also sustainable so I tried my hand on writing for magazines, choreography, theatre, all while working a full-time job. I explored 10 different creative career opportunities while working my full-time job, to seek my creative calling - a creative job that would satiate the artist in me yet sustain me.

Then I finally realised what my true calling is when I assisted my friend for a couple of shoots with wedding photography.

I understood two things very quickly - it was a beautiful medium of expression and I very soon understood the power of a single photograph. This is where it all began.

Was Maternity and Newborn, a genre that had always interested you? Why?

While I always liked children and wanted to find ways to work with them, I realised my love for kids when I helped raise my sister’s twins. With aunt duties of capturing images of their childhood, the idea sat at the back of my head, but I only discovered photography eight years later and then it was a matter of a brain-wave to combine the two things I really enjoy – babies and photography.

But realistically, I did my study to understand the demand for this genre or a possibility of such a niche working long-term. Thankfully, the month we began, the idea was fresh, novel and something every parent related to, so there was no going back.

What were the initial challenges that you faced when you started with this genre?

The one big challenge was centered on Maternity & Newborn photography being a taboo in our country, when I started six years ago. The beliefs still exist and are well respected. It took a lot of time to show parents how safe the entire experience was as well as how short-lived it was – “babies grow up really quickly and they’re only tiny for this long!”

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