Time stands still when photographer Monisha Ajgaonkar gets behind the lens...

You can’t miss Monisha in a sea of people. She’s loud, gregarious and her personality’s as colourful as her sense of style. It’s also how she fell in love with photography. One night, nine years ago, Monisha followed a crush to live venue mecca Blue Frog, her camera slung along. She got hooked to gig photography instead.

Monisha captured the country’s biggest independent artists for music bible Rolling Stone India. She shot for Bombay Times, high profile weddings and corporate clients. Her labour of love, The Photo Diary, is one of India’s most sought after photography enterprises. She found success in the rough-and-tumble world of gig and wedding photography.

The photographer’s spent equal time working on her craft as she has on herself. Her mother and step-mother passed away. She was never close to her sister. A cousin and friends came to her rescue. And they continue to be her shield. Her personality shines through in her photographs. And they all give you a glimpse into the world of the artist and the individual that is Monisha Ajgaonkar.

Goa’s magical beaches have a tendency to descend into cliche. Not when Monisha’s around. This image is a visual metaphor for American author John Green’s words: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once.” It’s how the photographer chose to step out of the blinkered vision of the beach state. When Monisha’s team mates Bhumika Bhatia and Mitesh Mirchandani suggested photographing a wedding couple by the sea, Monisha put an aerial spin on the thought. She sent a drone out to capture the newlyweds. And the result is this stunning image at Zuri beach in south Goa. She says: “It brings out the beauty of the sea, the couple and the perfect time.”

Google Shveta Salve photoshoot. You’ll find images where colour bombs explode in the background while the actor-and-model, with a baby bump, throws you a ‘whatcha-staring-at?’ look. But this one is Monisha’s favourite. “I’m a fan of black and white images,” she says. “And this one makes the subject look like a work of art.” She was itching to work with Shveta ever since she photographed her wedding to Submerge co-founder Hermit Sethi. Monisha ran into Shveta at Zara recently. And finally had the chance to photograph her after five years of planning. She finished the shoot in five hours. “It was a passion project where no-one could interfere.”

Monisha is one of Mumbai’s earliest gig photographers. When American hard rock band Guns n Roses visited in 2012, they closed their set with their iconic tune ‘Paradise City’. Cue bedlam. And roaring along with the lyrics. This riotous image of extended hands, paper confetti and silhouettes on stage fits the song and the moment perfectly.

For Indian music label SaReGaMa, Monisha collaborated with the award winning digital agency Pixel Fox Studio. She loves to keep projects fresh and edgy. Here, it translates to a novel Forced Perspective shoot. You’re invited check out different parts of SaReGaMa’s office, as parts of it are transformed into a pencilled version of reality. “It’s always encouraging when the people you work for are willing to experiment instead of going with the tried-and-tested route,” says Monisha.

(Photo Courtesy: Monisha Ajgaonkar)



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