There are few things more inspiring than a person whose Venn diagram of passion and profession is a single, solid circle. After reading a post on Facebook that Auditya Venkatesh would be dropping by Manipal on his way to Gokarna from Coorg, we at MTTN simply could not resist rushing over to Sirocco for a sit down with the legend himself. Bunking the last two classes for the day, Siddharth, Nihal and I threw education to the wind (for a couple of hours) to grasp at what it might be like to actually follow your dream.
As students of engineering, we’re very good at almost everything except engineering itself. That being said, the number of us that would actually drop out and go along the road less travelled is dismissible. In case you haven’t heard of him or aren’t following him on social media, Auditya Venkatesh (known as Audi Photography online) is the symbol of what all of us secretly want to, but don’t have the guts to do: turn passion to profession.
He was doing his articleship when he decided to drop out of college and take up photography as a career. Taking a year off to study the tricks of the trade, there was no money for the first ten to eleven months.
Audi: It definitely wasn’t easy, as is the case with any profession. In fact, it still isn’t. When I started out, Facebook Pages had just become a thing.
Nihal: But you have a pretty good reach now. I mean you have almost 7 lakh likes on Facebook.
Audi: Well yeah, that’s because I didn’t give up.
Auditya is currently touring India with his friends, driving around in a Honda Jazz. They call the endeavour ‘Stay Routed’ and plan to travel all the way to Kashmir and then back down to Bangalore.
If I ever have to go somewhere, it’s either by car or by plane. I can’t do buses and trains because I like stopping along the way and taking photos.
When we asked who was sponsoring Stay Routed, we were surprised to find it was completely funded by Audi and his friends.
The thing about being sponsored by, say a car company, to do these things is that it becomes more about the product than it is about the photography and the travelling. I’ll shoot a picture of the car if I think it looks good. Not at every city in every location.
He loves taking photos from his phone because of how convenient it is. Using Snapseed to process photos on the go, Audi Photography has some absolutely stunning specimens of mobile photography.
Me: So what gave you the courage to drop out and pursue photography?
Audi: You have to make that call. Take that risk. I’m not saying dropping out was the right thing to do. My dad was livid. My mom was okay, but dad took a while to be okay with it.
On speaking to Auditya for a while, we realized how much he really doesn’t consider photography as work. You could feel the passion radiating from his skin as he told us how he’s never had to reach out to anyone for work and how it’s mostly been about him doing what he loves.
Nihal: So… Canon or Nikon?
Audi: Sony dude.
To be honest, when we saw Auditya sitting at his table we weren’t very sure how to approach him. How do you ask someone you don’t know to talk to you? When we finally mustered the courage to walk up to his table, he (being the humble and down-to-earth guy that he is) stood up, gave us handshakes all around and thanked us for coming. When it was all over, he even took a selfie with us and posted it online.
Sid: So what are your plans for the future?
Audi: Nothing. I don’t really have any plans. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.
As far as we know, Audi’s future plans only stretch as far as his attendance at the Coldplay concert in Manchester later this year, though we do hope to see him in Manipal again soon.
So what’s your opinion on Manipal?
Audi: Well I’ve only ever come here to chill with friends or to party. And I’ve been to End Point. *chuckles*