Journey through the lens of Joy Saha, where aerial photography meets human stories. In this exclusive interview, discover how the Bangladeshi Photographer captures life from above, unearthing beauty and compassion in every frame.
In the vibrant world of photography, where images can capture the soul, tell a story, or take you to another place, Joy Saha – a Bangladeshi Photographer – stands apart with his profound commitment to photojournalism and the breathtaking art of aerial photography.
Joy documents the untold human stories that resonate with emotions, struggles, and triumphs. Simultaneously, he takes us above and beyond the world, offering a bird’s eye view through his mesmerising aerial photography. His photos are not just snapshots; they are narratives that inspire, awaken compassion, and provide a unique perspective on life. From capturing the intimate essence of human stories to revealing the artistic beauty of life from above, Joy’s experiences and insights form a compelling narrative that bridges two distinct yet harmonious realms of photography.
Join us as we delve into the captivating world of aerial photography with Joy Saha, a visionary who transcends the ground to tell human stories from the sky.
“I am on an endless journey of documenting the untold human stories through the lens so that I can awaken humanity and compassion.”
Can you tell us about your journey as a photographer and how you got started in the field?
I was doing my Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing when I felt my inner passion for photography. During that time, I used to provide tuition, and I managed to buy a DSLR camera with those earnings. That’s how it all started.
What motivated you to focus on capturing human stories through your photography?
The diversity and enduring power of human life motivated me to focus on human stories.
Being a humanitarian photojournalist, what are some of the challenges you face in capturing and sharing these important narratives?
Capturing people’s stories is sometimes challenging. Sometimes, people don’t want to get photographed. I always respect my subject and don’t force them. Nowadays, a common problem is people don’t want to get photographed as they think their photos will be posted on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. This is one of the biggest challenges I am facing right now. Rather than that, capturing the human story takes time. A good photograph depends on the mood of the subject. So, I spend as much time as I can with my subject. The relationship between a photographer and the subject is always visible in the photograph.
Aerial photography is a unique and fascinating aspect of your work. What drew you to this form of photography?
Besides the camera, I am very fond of capturing daily life in a bird’s eye view through my drone. We don’t see what a bird sees from above. It gives me a different perspective on my images.
Can you walk us through the process you follow when planning and preparing for an aerial photography project?
The processes are: Finding a location, researching the subject, visualising and drawing the shots on paper, and finally capturing the shots in the area.
“This unique type of photography requires a wide range of research before going to the location for a shoot.”
What equipment do you typically use for aerial photography, and are there any particular challenges or considerations unique to this type of photography?
I use DJI drones for aerial photography. This unique type of photography requires a wide range of research before going to the location for a shoot. In addition, there are some places where you can’t use a drone to photograph, such as Parliament House, KPI areas, etc.
“I just don’t fly the drone, take a shot, and return from the location. I usually go to a location very long ago before shooting, spend some time there, talk with the people about the process or place, then take shots.”
Can you provide examples of different techniques you employ to capture aerial photographs in various lighting and weather conditions?
I use drones in favourable weather conditions and good weather. I don’t use them before storms or rain. Now, the Monsoon is here. So, I have to be cautious. Regarding light, I prefer to shoot with drones in soft light, like in the morning or afternoon. The light is very charming at those times of the day.
How do you ensure that your aerial photographs effectively convey the intended narrative or message to your audience?
I just don’t fly the drone, take a shot, and return from the location. I usually go to a location very long ago before shooting, spend some time there, talk with the people about the process or place, then take shots. I always try to cover different angles with different composition techniques to make the series visually appealing. Thus, I convey the message to the audience. If someone doesn’t know about the subject he is going to photograph, he will never be able to convey the intrinsic story.
Have there been any memorable moments or unexpected challenges while capturing aerial photographs? If so, can you share an example with us?
I used to charge my drone batteries before shooting. But, one day, in the middle of a shoot, I realised I forgot to charge the two batteries and was left with only one. One of my photography mates was with me, and he gave me his drone to complete the shoot as it would have been time-consuming to charge my batteries during that time.
As a photographer who has covered diverse regions and cultures, what advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
To cover diverse cultures and regions, you need to mix with the local people, talk with them, share your thoughts, have a cup of tea together, and have a relationship with them. When you become one of them, your photograph gets much better. That’s the only key to photographing culture and people of different regions.
As a photographer, how do you see artificial intelligence (AI) impacting the field of photography in the coming years?
As a photojournalist, I think AI can never replace photojournalism and documentary practice. Recently, Fashion, Wedding, Commercial, and Portrait Photography have been greatly influenced by the invasion of AI. Plus, Sketch artists, painters, designers and book illustrators will surely suffer from this new technology.
Are you using AI already for improving your photography? If yes, how? If not, why?
Actually, I have seen some AI-generated photos, but I haven’t used them.
Throughout your photography journey, what has been the most valuable lesson or insight that has shaped your approach as a photographer and storyteller?
I am deeply amazed by the work of my teacher – GMB Akash – a renowned documentary photographer. His photos and Humanitarian work have always been my true inspiration in my photography journey. The most valuable lesson that has shaped my approach as a photographer and storyteller throughout my photography journey is, to be honest and true to my work. In Bangladesh, most photographers do groupings to get an advantage. But I always avoid this situation and focus on improving my photography. In my opinion, if you cannot be a good human being inside, then you are nothing.
Lastly, what are your future goals and aspirations as a photographer? Is there anything specific that you hope to achieve or explore in the coming years?
In the future, I want to emphasise significant problems in this society through photography to shed light on those issues. Furthermore, I want to help and work with unprivileged people, as people have always been the centre point of my life. I want to travel more and more to unknown destinations. Travel pours into my heart like a cascading river, quenching my thirst for exploration and adventure. Each new destination fills my soul with a kaleidoscope of emotions and unforgettable experiences, creating cherished memories that last a lifetime. The world’s diverse cultures and landscapes become the ink that colours the pages of my ever-expanding journey through life. I am on an endless journey of documenting the untold human stories through the lens so that I can awaken humanity and compassion.
Check out Joy Saha’s profile here.
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