Mohit Khetrapal – One Street, One Frame At a Time

A city that is often called the paradise for the photographers happens to be a dream come true when one really gets to visit it and a blessing if you are privileged enough to call it home. One of such privileged photographers is Mohit Khetrapal. Young, dynamic and creative Mohit is one of those very few who have been featured by many international photography platforms. At such a young age, Mohit seems to be a step ahead from the crowd and inspiring a lot of young photographers. Let’s get a sneak peek into his life and know more about it.

Hi, can you please introduce yourself?

Hi! My name is Mohit Khetrapal. I am a 20-year-old street and travel photographer from Varanasi, pursuing Bachelors in Design in NIFT Bhubaneswar.

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How and when did you become interested in photography?

Photography happened to me around 5 years ago when I went for a competition in Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Kanpur representing my school Sunbeam Lahartara. I was competing for Graffiti (I used to paint and sketch back then). I was really fascinated by seeing one of my seniors who went for the photography competition. I asked him for the camera and randomly clicked a picture. My senior was surprised to see that the Horizon was straight. He appreciated me telling how tough it was for him to keep the horizon straight and compose back then when he started. This made me so enthusiastic about photography. That’s how I started. An artistic imagination + enthusiasm played a huge role throughout my photography journey. 

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A lot of pictures you share were made in Varanasi. Tell us about the significance Varanasi holds in your life and how it has impacted your work?

Varanasi is a paradise for street photographers. You see new things every day. Varanasi has unique things to offer every day. And this is why I love my city. Varanasi has such great opportunities to offer. You are clicking one frame and behind you, there are 10 different and interesting stories going on. Being a street photographer, Varanasi has given me a BOOST when i started initially. Streets, people, Ghats and the Culture forced me to explore. People know me because of my work, which is mostly Banaras. 

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Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?

Yes, Radha Swami sir. He is also a photographer from Varanasi. I call him my GURU. I started seeing his pictures when I initially started. I love his vision. He is also an artist with an amazing imagination when it comes to photography. His pictures have something so captivating which makes the user stop and go through. I would urge people to check out his work.

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What elements do you feel make a really good street photo?

The Story and Candidness of the picture make or breaks a street photo. If your picture has an emotion or a moment so short-lived which forces people to take a halt and look, that’s what makes a street photo strong in my point of view. 

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What gears do you use?

I use a Canon 80D with the kit lens, 50mm 1.8 and a 70-200mm f4.

Do you have a favorite photograph that you took? (If yes then explain why and share the drive link to picture)

I have two favorite pictures.

Varanasi ghat photography
This picture is of a boy who teaches his younger brother how to dive into the water. This moment I captured was so instantaneous and short-lived. This is why I love this picture. This picture was the winning entry in Siena International Photo Awards 2019 (SIPA 2019) in Under 20 Category. 
Varanasi Kid birth bathing
This picture is of a family who with great joy dip their days-old child in polluted river Ganges in a hope that mother ganges will bless her with Long and healthy life which is an irony because this polluted water can make her very ill because of the deadly diseases like hepatitis etc. This is one of the strongest pictures I have ever clicked. This picture is one of the HIPA 2020 Finalist and on the 3rd and final stage of voting in 35awards Moscow.

Lastly, do you have any tips for photographers traveling to Varanasi?

As I mentioned earlier, Varanasi is a paradise for photographers. I would say don’t rush and run after frames. Wait and observe, you will always find something very interesting and unique here but PATIENCE is key, otherwise you end up with cliche frames only. You might take just a handful of pictures, but those will be very strong. Also feel the city, the peace here is matchless.

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To see more of his work and such amazing frames from Varanasi you can follow Mohit Khetrapal on Instagram.

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