THE EIGHTH INSTALMENT IN THE BELLEBOSS SERIES!
The number eight is very special to me, so I had to choose someone I admire deeply to be the number 8. I hope that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like other people to take a little bit of their time to realize how incredible the women around you are. Especially if you are a woman! I hope that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.
1) Could you give us an introduction about yourself?
I am 28 years old and I was born in Sri Lanka and came to U.K in 1999. I am a part-time professional photographer and full-time Scientist (Doctor, PhD in Cancer Research. My nationality is British Asian.
2) Could you tell us more about the transition you had from Sri Lanka to the UK? did you face any difficulties adjusting to a different culture or was it easy?
I was 10 years old when I had come to the U.K. and it was not an easy journey coming here. I was leaving part of my family behind for this new world where I had to learn to adapt and survive again.
English was never a problem as I studied in an International School in Colombo, but I did have a small accent at the beginning. For me, the transition was not so easy, but also not so bad. I was a mature kid and learnt to love what I had and keep quiet about my feelings. But today I am grateful for where I was and where I am.
3) What made you want to start your photography business professionally?How did your love for photography start?
So when I moved from SL to London, I left behind a great culture. I started to yearn for those belongings, and as a child, I was a very quiet kid. I hardly spoke to anyone.
I was one of those kids that like playing by themselves in the garden talking to themselves. So I took a pencil and a paper and started to draw, this became my hobby and I eventually started using a paintbrush to paint. I was hugely inspired by SL and its culture, colour and emotions –
I was hugely inspired by SL and its culture, colour and emotions.
I would paint about the war, the beauty, the people and my family. Half of me wanted to be an artist and half of me wanted to be a scientist and I came to an end of a tunnel where I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future.
In the end, I chose science and started my BSC Degree In Biomedical science.
But my hands and my eyes were itching constantly to paint and to be artistic. One day, I picked up my dad’s digital camera and decided to go around the garden and take pictures. Afterwards, when we went on holidays I would take pictures.
Then someone pointed out to me that I am good at taking photographs. From there onwards, I started to love what I do.
I learnt to use what I had and utilised it as well as possible. Only later did I become fascinated with high tech equipment and updating my gear. The struggles I faced were very minimal. The only thing was that I suffered from flat feet, therefore when doing long hours I’d come home with tremendous pain shooting up my legs.
4) What made you want to start your photography business professionally?
I thought, why not make my hobby into a profession?
People like it, I love it. So let’s meet in between? Of course, at the beginning it was child’s play, doing model shoots with my sister and friends and so on, but that got me recognised and stabilised my base. I just kept building on top of it afterwards.
4) So what does your full-time job entail/ what do you have to do at your full-time job?
So my full-time job is being a research scientist. I spend most of my days in the lab working on experiments and conducting methods of research. My field of research is in ovarian cancer, early diagnoses and therapeutics.I have published one paper and the second paper is currently under correction.
5) If you don’t mind, could you tell us how the civil war in Sri Lanka impacted you?
No that’s completely fine. I wouldn’t say the war affects me physically and mentally as much as it did to many who faced it more or so every day. I lived in Colombo and I was 5 years old when I moved away from Sri Lanka, therefore dodged several harmful events.
But it affected me as an individual, as a Tamil and as a person who felt like home was being torn apart in blood and corpses.
I remember one event where It was around 1 am and a bomb had blasted somewhere near our house and vastly remember my mum picking me up and running into a car to move away from the area.
It shocked me at that age and it stayed with me, almost like a scar you cannot see.
The war turned me into an artist and allowed me to express feelings through paint.
6) What is the best piece of advice you have got since you started your photography business?
My most favourite advice received from a loving friend, brother and my inspiration – Siva Divinemethod – was that I should stick a brick under my right foot.
Lol, meaning I should shoot straight and not wonky.
Another piece of advice he gave me, which changed my perception on the long run, he said “There were so many scenic mountains on the way here (Morocco), show me how many photos did you take” I gave him my camera and asked him to have a look as I giggled inside. Because I knew I had taken over 100 shots lol.
Then he said ” you’ll only need one good shot out of all this to show how beautiful your journey here was” and that just hit me.
He was absolutely right, although it’s hard to put that into practice especially if you’re used to taking so many pictures! But slowly I started to put his words into action, so thank you Siva!
6) What has been your most challenging/ rewarding photo shoot till today and why?
I am not sure about giving advice, as I am still learning myself. But honestly, just dig in and do what you love and let no one tell you otherwise.
Stop tagging yourself as a ‘female’. In no scripts or religious and or cultural books does it say that women cannot be a photographer.
Don’t do photography because it seems fun and easy or because it looks good. You will eventually lose yourself commercially. Do it when a moment sparks you as an artist and you desire to express art visually through your eyes.
7) What has been your most challenging/ rewarding photo shoot till today and why?
My most challenging and rewarding photo shoot till today is an E-Shoot I did in Iceland with my lovely couple Nimrata and Dhyan. It was challenging because we had 2 full days to shoot a 12 hour Journey from Keflavik to Hofn by car (Jeyash was amazing at taking us places ) and we had to shoot in crazy weather conditions. One crazy moment was when we decided to shoot in Hofn at -6/7 degrees with a fully heavy snow blizzard.
My camera kept freezing, the snow was melting on my lens causing blur, my couple were freezing to death and it almost felt like my toes were slowly dropping off .
However, it was rewarding because it was the most amazing trip of my life with such amazing people to travel with!
We captured so so so many amazing pictures and saw some of the craziest scenes the world can show us. I felt like a champion after the shoot!
8) What are your plans and aspirations for the future?
I will continue to be a photographer and serve my artistic desire until my body can’t move anymore. I also plan to carry on being a doctor in research and carry on with what I also love doing, contribute to science and the evolution of cancer research.
Authors note : Hey guys for more interviews please follow the social links down below (scroll down).
Also, if you know any awesome #belleboss in your day to day life then please use the hashtag #belleboss on their Instagram photos.