Vicky Roy's story is an unusual one. There is something in it that connects. He met the love of his life (photography) through a series of events. He eventually excelled at this art and became known world over because of it. There is more to him than his often shared "rags to riches" story. In this interview, you will find glimpses of his past. But it is more about his art and what he does with it.
Hi Vicky, tell readers of Young and Shining about your childhood days and what you think about those days now?
As a child I used to live in my Nana-Nani’s house. I used to steal small things then. I was very naughty. When I look back I miss the time spent with my childhood friends and the fun we had together.
You spent most of your teen years at Apna Ghar, how did you reach there?
Mr. Sanjay Shrivastav, who was a volunteer for Salaam Balak Trust, dropped me there. I lived there for a while. Then the trust shifted me to Apna Ghar to be able to take admission in school.
Tell us about your photography. When did you start? What kind of shoots have you done?
I started learning photography in 2005. Since then I have focused on documentary photography. Intermittently also did some commercial assignments.
What are some of the most memorable moments in your photography career so far?
The time when I was selected by the Maybach Foundation to live in New York for six months and photo-document the reconstruction of the WTC – and my time working there. I was one of the two photographers chosen, along with Nicole Tung (from Hongkong). This memory will be there with me for a long time to come. It is also special because it was the first competition that I ever won.
Who are the most important influences in your life and work?
My mentor Mr. Anay Maan. He taught me photography. Also Late Mr. Prabuddha Dasgupta. I wanted to be like him only. His life story inspires me a lot.
How important is a website for a professional photographer?
It is very important because it is the showcase of your work. You get assignments based on your past work and a website is a good way to share that with others. You do not need to be present physically to meet a client or collaborator. So a website is an efficient way to showcase your art. But first you need to reach where you are creating good art. A website can only amplify what you have made.
How do you decide, whether to shoot black & white or in color?
Both black & white and color photographs have their own importance. It’s funny how my first exhibition’s pictures were black & white because at that time I only had a black & white film roll provided by Salaam Balak Trust. From 2009, when I bought my first DSLR, I started shooting colored pictures as well.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am very emotional and a very good cook too 🙂
What quick advice would you give someone who wants to improve photography skills?
Click as many pictures as you can. The experience that you get is invaluable. Once you do it, your skills will automatically improve.
You recently appeared on National Geographic Mission Cover Shot? How did that experience help you?
It helped me a lot. It was a totally new learning experience. I am a documentary photographer and Nat Geo’s photography is very different. Such exposure helps a great deal.
Please share your favorite images with the readers of Young and Shining?
Sure. Here are some of my favorite pictures …
I know about your library project. This is something the world should know about. Please tell Young and Shining readers about how it started?
My friend Chandan Gomes and I, started this open library called “Rang”. We approached and asked some great photographers to donate their books. We started “Rang” because good photography books are very expensive and out of reach of young photography enthusiasts. Through “Rang” we want to make best photography books accessible for all who care for the craft.
What does Vicky do when not behind the lens?
I enjoy with my friends and cook food. I also take time to do some work related to the library.
Where do you find inspiration to keep your photography creative and unique?
I look at good work done by others and think if they can do it then why not me.
You launched a book recently. Tell us something about it?
The book – Home. Street. Home. – has been published by Nazar Foundation. It is the first photography monograph book. In this book readers get to see my work done from 2005 till 2012. This book is precious for me. I feel a book gives a permanent home to words and pictures. For me, getting published at a young age is one of my biggest achievements so far.
Your message to the readers of Young and Shining?
Work hard and success will eventually come your way.