We live in a society where the only guarantee of a good future is being an Engineer or a Doctor.
Parents force kids to go on these lines and we can’t doubt their intentions.
This does lead to a good future for kids but at the cost of their passion and dreams.
It’s very rare, in our society, to see someone follow their passion and be successful at it.
The story we have today is that of a boy from Islamabad – a Civil engineering graduate from NUST – who once craved to get his hands on a smartphone to capture the things around him and is now one of the most prolific photographers of Islamabad.
Here’s how Talha Azhar didn’t let his passion die while fulfilling the wishes of his parents who wanted him to get a professional degree.
Okay Talha, I might have glorified you a bit too much, please introduce yourself to our readers.
“Hello Everyone, It’s me Talha Azhar or you would probably know me as ‘Isloographer’. I’m 24. I’ve done my bachelor of Civil Engineering from NUST H-12 in 2018.
“I’ve been based here in Islamabad since I was born. Right now I’m a Professional Wedding and Portrait Photographer. Besides Photography, I like to Skate and Hike.
“I love mountains and traversing them.”
Coming towards your passion, did you always love photography or did you get excited after seeing a camera?
“Well to be very honest I never saw or had the chance to use any digital camera, let alone a professional one (DSLRs at that time lol).
“I remember I didn’t even have access to a smartphone back then (part of being a millennial).
“I used to borrow my elder brother’s phone sometimes to take pictures of plants, editing them on applications that I don’t think even exist these days.
“Then when I was in 9th I guess.
“I got a Samsung Galaxy Star which had this 2-megapixel camera and I was so happy about it. I used to take pictures everywhere. I made an Instagram account in 2013 and started posting pictures.
“I did not get a DSLR till my 3rd Semester in university (which was 2015 I think).
“After that, I started practicing and experimenting with all the different techniques of photography.
“I tried it all.
“Be it Portraiture, Landscapes, Street Photography, Product photography, Astro, Night Photography, Long exposures n all. I loved to see my work being appreciated by friends and everyone.
“My passion for it only grew bigger and bigger and I started freelancing and earning through my photography and videography skills by the end of my degree.”
Why engineering then?
“Well, when you’re just 17 you don’t know the potential of your passion, maybe because your passion and your skills are not yet polished or maybe because you don’t fully trust yourself.
“The same happened to me after my Intermediate. I never knew that photography can be a full-time profession.
“I always wanted to be an Electrical Engineer like my elder brother. But it was my Father’s wish that I pursued CIvil engineering and so I did. And it wasn’t that bad tbh. I was always a bright student in University. Securing Scholarships and a 3.5+ Gpa wasn’t hard for me IDK why :D”
Did you do a job after graduating or just grabbed a camera and went about shooting models?
“Uh yes, after graduation my passion for photography just went down I guess because of my job responsibilities. I never got the time to get back to it. I was always in the office or just too tired for it.
“I worked as a Civil Engineer for 3 years before I turned back to photography.
“That too very slowly and steadily.
“After 2 years of graduation and working in the private sector, I noticed that I wasn’t satisfied with the life I was living.
“That was my moment I think, I started taking time out and once again I started freelancing and I started saving up for my investments and upgrading of my equipment.”
What was the reaction of your parents when you quit a ‘stable job’ for photography?
“I remember it was so difficult at first when I opened up about quitting my job.
“But you have to prove yourself. I saved up for myself in the last few months of my job life (just to be on the safe side).
“My only goal was to be self-sufficient from the start.
“And I’m proud to say that I never took any money from my parents ever again. I proved to them that I can do it and I can earn through my passion too.
“But you know about desi parents, they don’t stop. They’re always like “Beta Sarkari naukri secure karlo. Beta CSS karlo”.
“And I think there’s no problem with that. After all, they want the best for us, right?”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Hahhhhh *Sigh*. I don’t know guys. I honestly don’t know where I would be in 10 years.
“I don’t even know where I would be in 5 years. I’m just following my dreams and I’m loving my life.
“Maybe I’d be sitting in a studio editing videos and photos or maybe I’d be sitting in a nice office. You never know man. You never know.
“And I think that’s the beauty of life. Its unexpectedness”
What is the best way to start a career in photography?
“First, you need to figure out what part of photography you have a knack for.
“If it’s portraits; you can start by doing collaborations with Fashion brands, Bloggers, Professional models. If it’s product photography, you can approach different brands online and work with them.
“In short, there’s no shortcut to being a professional.
“It will take its time. You need to be steadfast. I still don’t have a very huge fan following but Alhamdolillah I’m satisfied with the life I’m living.
“I don’t have to ask for holidays or leaves. I work when I want to work. I meet friends when I like to. I stay up late.
“I can sleep whenever I want to. These are some of the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone and getting out there and face the world.”
What do you suggest to people who do not have a ‘mainstream’ passion?
“I would like to be specific in this matter. People living in Pakistan need to be very clear about the society before stepping into something that is not mainstream.
Photo Credit: Talha Azhar
“You would be mocked, made fun of, belittled and not taken serious.
“But you’d be unique, you’d be independent, you’d learn things that you would never have learnt by doing a mainstream job.
“And trust me doing something new is so freaking exciting.”
Anything you’d like to add?
“Back in 2013, I read somewhere, “Do it today or regret it tomorrow”. Consider yourself very very lucky if you have a passion and you know about it.
“Most of your peers either don’t have any passion or are too afraid to recognize it in its true spirit.
“Just find what you love and run after it blindly. You’ll get somewhere trust me. And when you don’t forget to thank ALLAH and treat yourself. Cheers!”
Meet Talha here: https://www.facebook.com/talha.azhar.96
Read More: Meet NUST Grad Haseeb Taj: An Engineer, Lawyer, Blogger, Techie, Athlete & Businessman
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A civil engineer by education, a writer by profession. A bit too much interested in cars. When I am not writing, I am researching cars or planning a trip.