Born and brought up in the glittering city of Dubai, Gautam Kulkarni took every opportunity he got to explore the less developed areas of Asia, South America and Africa, trying as much as possible to travel and live like a local. Always happier travelling on anything with two wheels, be it a motorbike or a cycle, connecting with people across our planet has always been a passion of the author.Ever since he started this concept, it has been his aim to get more photographers to experience the joy of giving as opposed to only ‘taking’ photographs.The author also self-finances several non-profit ventures in education and healthcare through the Kara Foundation.
Here is Gautam Kulkarni in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did your journey as a photographer begin?
I can’t remember exactly when but I’ve always loved taking photographs. I started out with a simple film camera and now use either my SLR, iphone, drone or GoPro. I think I really got into photography when I saw how it helped me connect with people and enhance my travel experience. This would have been around 2005.
2) Who has been your inspiration?
I can’t think of a single photographer who I can say has been my inspiration but Instagram has definitely played a big role. A lot of people tend to look at the negatives of Instagram, but for me it is an unlimited source of inspiration. With so many incredible photographers out there, it really expands your perspective of how diverse photography is and constantly challenges you to push yourself as well.
3) Tell us about your recent book.
When I was at the Maha Kumbh Mela in India in 2013 (which is the largest gathering of humankind on the planet), taking photos of my favorite subject “humans”, most people I took pictures of wanted to see how they turned out and it felt selfish “taking” all these pictures without being able to give anything back. The people I met were very poor and didn’t even have emails or social media where I could send them their pictures. That’s when the idea of taking a small printer with me whenever I travel hit me. I got myself a Fuji printer, which took a little while to set up, connect and then print, but found that, this process of printing photographs, brought with it unexpected benefits. It afforded me more time to get to know the people I was photographing. I was able to delve into their stories during the process and get a glimpse of their lives. The mutual trust created through this exchange often transcended barriers of language and culture. The people I photographed have almost always embodied hospitality, inviting me into their lives, their homes, and their stories, offering me shelter, food and more importantly, their friendship.
The book “pictureforapicture” really is about the connections and experiences I was lucky to have through this simple act of sharing a printed photo.
4) Which is your favorite holiday destination?
It’s very hard to name a single favorite travel destination but I would definitely say India is one of them. India is just incredibly diverse and the people are so hospitable, it just makes for the ultimate travel experience. I also have the advantage of visiting India as a traveler yet not feeling out of place due to my Indian origin. I would say I love going to Iran as well as they have incredible places to see and practically no tourists or travelers and the feeling of solitude in these places really just enhances the experience.
5) What makes Dubai different from the world?
Dubai is home for me and with the largest airport in the world probably one of the easiest places to connect with even the most extreme parts of the planet .
6) Tell us about your love for luxury cars.
To be honest I’ve had a few luxury cars but haven’t really been too attached to them. My favorite car would undoubtedly be my Jeep – I’m currently hearing it up for an overland adventure across Saudi Arabia.
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