Disability Doesn't Hamper Dreams Of Learning Photography
Photography not only captures and preserves it’s also the harbinger of change in addition to being the caretaker of the process of change popularly known as evolution.
And then there are some like Mohit Ahuja who take it to the next level and try and be the change themselves, rather than document it. The 32-year-old is working with disabled people to teach them photography and empower them to bring about change.
People with different metal abilities can learn the art of photography equally well
“I define it with one word-Madness. It’s more satisfying than anything I could have done because it includes my passion and profession and if one finds solace in one’s own passion, nothing can better that. I have been doing this for the last two years and over a 100 people with different mental disabilities have come to me and I have tried to help them,” said Mohit Ahuja, a South Delhi boy who now lives in West Delhi.
Here ‘Know’ Means NO
‘Know Disability’- is what Mohit calls his initiative, and most people who come to him suffer from disabilities such as autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Mohit finished his Bachelors in Business Administration in 2007, and then based on his friends’ advice, he decided to pursue his passion – photography – as a career; through the last one decade, he has been working in advertising with top agencies. He is also an avid biker.
“I still work in the advertising business as the ‘Know Disability’ initiative requires financial assistance, despite him charging a small fee for working with children with disabilities. I don’t do it for free as people often take you for granted if you do something for free. I also have to survive and the advertising works help in making the ends meet,”
You need to be smart to overcome obstacles
"This year has been quite fantastic as the belief I had in myself about learning the capabilities of these people got cemented, and I don't have to say it because it's visible in their work. The details in the pictures say it all. Don't they? I am more content and satisfied than ever before," Ahuja said.
“Firstly, it’s very hard to convince the children’s parents as photography isn’t something that can be learned without equipment. It requires serious investment and parents hesitate to invest money for a decent camera, which comes for around Rs 30,000. Most parents stop their children midway because it becomes financially difficult for them as the results aren’t quick,” said Mohit who has been conducting sessions in other states as well.
Photography is an art, and like all other forms of art, it also requires patience, persistence and prowess and all three are a must when it comes to photography. “My students are very bright and some of them are now excellent photographers. But it didn’t happen overnight as I have invested two years in helping some of them. They learn slower than others, but they do. Initially, everything appeared to be going haywire, but the dust settled slowly and they started learning the nuances of photography,” said Mohit.
Mohit told Indiatimes that he would map the journey of his students from the start where they fumbled, forgot, at a time even fell off track only to resurrect themselves. The result was breathtaking indeed.
From shots that were out of focus, blurred and even disappointing to a greater extent to pictures that would force the best in the business envy these people whom the world has labeled as disabled- the journey was simply breathtaking.
The shots clicked by Mohit’s students were so rich in details and finesse that any professional photographer with far better equipment in hand would envy them, and Mohit is proud of this. “ I am proud of them. They have come a long way, and I wish them a great life ahead. The challenges and impediment they face and get over on the daily are far steeper than anything a regular person can ever think about. These people are my champions,” said Mohit.
Challenges begin after learning the art
The objective behind all this is to make people learn something through which they can find a way for themselves in life. So does all this training help? “Well, I would say it’s hard even after they become decent photographers because it requires an investment to start your own photo studio and others still doubt their abilities. But some of them have made their way through adversities and I am just helping them hone their skills and fight and win this battle,” said a hopeful Mohit.
(Disclaimer: All the pictures used in the story have been shot by very people Ahuja teaches).