The cinemagraph movement is a global phenomenon. With creators from over 15 countries, spread across 5 continents, gallereplay’s artist roster is proof! One of our newest additions to the team is Shovona Karmakar from Mumbai, India. She recently spoke to us about the growing appetite for cinemagraphs in India and the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated society.
gallereplay: Shovona, India is a traditional country and cinemagraphs are an innovative medium. What challenges do you face as a cinemagrapher in India?
Shovona: Many Indians (working in creative industries) know what a cinemagraph is, they know how it works, and what the benefits of using a cinemagraph are. The main challenge I encounter in India is budget. Only a few clients are open to to using cinemagraphs, because they don’t have the necessary budget to produce high-quality visuals. That’s where the selection get’s narrow.
gallereplay: So you have to fight hard to convince clients to invest in cinemagraphs?
Shovona: Sometimes I have to. One of the main challenges is smartphone apps. People are saying: “We have this app, why should I hire you?” I am trying to tell them that a custom production has a much higher value than something created on a smartphone. But I am lucky to have a lot of clients who understand.
gallereplay: Does being female also make things harder for you as an entrepreneur, freelancer, artist?
Shovona: I will be frank – yes. India has quite a gender bias. Being a female photographer, it takes a lot of time for a client to understand: “Oh, this girl is a commercial photographer?” It is quite shocking for them. But I have my own production house. When they hear about it, their confidence in me grows. Fortunately I have a few very good clients, who don’t care about whether they are working with a male or female, they only care about good work. But yes, I’ve faced a lot of gender inequality.
gallereplay: What’s your strategy? How do you manage to get your piece of the pie?
Shovona: In order to be successful in India I have to produce good work, that is the first thing. Good work doesn’t have any substitute. Secondly, I have to keep on meeting a lot of people on social media, forums, online, offline. Good connections and hard work pay off in the end.
gallereplay: You also produce personal, non-commercial cinemagraphs. What do you try to communicate in your private works and what inspires you as an artist?
Shovona: I want to show that India is beautiful, not that India is dull or that there is hunger. There are a lot of beautiful things in this country, not just beggars and snake charmers. So, I want to travel around India and show-off this beautiful, positive country. Artistically, as a self-portrait artist, I want to show more of myself through cinemagraphs. I want to live and keep on dreaming, and keep on walking, and keep on moving towards my goals.