Battling her own demons in her early years in New Zealand to becoming one of the most sought after female photographers in the city, Parmeet Sahni's journey into a full-time photography profession is nothing short of an inspirational story.
Ms Sahni worked in a well-paid admin position at Greenlane Hospital, and after five years of untiring work there, she is now taking up photography as her full-time role in the community. Her recent trip to Nepal as a solo traveller and photographer gifting herself the trip as a birthday present turned out to be her one of the most beautiful life experiences and the turning point for her life.
Soon after coming back from the Nepal Exhibition in 2018, Ms Sahni hosted an exhibition in the city that turned out to be a massive success and received rave reviews for her work from the community.
Following her Nepal trip, she travelled to seven countries in 2019 namely, Bhutan, Malaysia, Turkey, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Morocco and each of her trips had a different and new story to tell.
Of the many notable feats that Ms Sahni has achieved in the last few years- the ones that deserve a special mention was being featured in the NZ Artist Magazine in 2019, and involvement with Excio, a platform for inspiring and talented photographers.
Ms Sahni was one of the five female photographers to sit on the panel of Excio's event at Victoria University in Wellington titled #PhotographyForWomen.
Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Ms Sahni shares her journey into the photography world, the big decision to switch her passion into a full-time job, her initial struggles with depression and anxiety and what is next on her plate.
How have these trips helped you and shaped your passion?
Every one of these trips in seven countries has made such a huge impact on my life. I've learned multiple lessons, created countless memories, and come back with a huge number of stories.
Photography has always been about capturing memories, and that's what it'll continue to be. Everyone has soul calling, and it gets you, tells you, builds you - there is this inner voice waking you up to your passion.
Tell us a little about your work in the community.
It is my goal to make a positive impact in my community with my camera, and I do this in my own little ways. All my exhibitions are charity events, I don't charge for photoshoots in which a family member has a terminal illness, and to parents who have been blessed with a rainbow baby for their newborn photoshoots.
How did you feel being featured in NZ Artist Magazine and being part of the Excio's event?
I was very honoured to have my work featured in the NZ Artist Magazine in 2019. I talked to them about my journey of how I became a Photographer and emphasised that photography is as much of an art as painting or drawing.
For being included in the panel of speakers at Excio's event at Victoria University, Wellington, I must add, it was humbling and grace, a blessing on me.
It was a very emotional moment for me, standing at one of the best universities in the country and talking about my passion for photography. What an overwhelming feeling it is to be able to influence and inspire others, especially women, to fall in love with this art and to follow your dreams and passion.
What is your concept behind travelling and exhibitions?
To put it very simply, travelling enables you to get a taste of all the vast and different cultures which surround us in the world. It opens your eyes to the countless similarities and also interesting differences. Photography is what helps me capture this beauty and bring it back to my home, to remember forever.
"I meet all sorts of people around towns, and when I approach them to ask if I can take a photo of them, a more intimate conversation follows, and a stranger from across the world becomes a friend. I love to talk and interact with people, and being a travel photographer gives me the ability to get to know them and their stories.
One of my favourite quotes is, "I see something special; I show it to the camera. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs" -Sam Abell.
About your success in the industry and battling with depression.
I am very thankful to those dreadful times of my life because they are what shaped me. I am humble about everything which I am blessed with. My struggle made me value life, relations, and everything else so much more.
When we migrated to New Zealand a decade ago the transition wasn't smooth. Coming to a new country is so much more than just geographical change. I didn't get a job for almost one year despite being ready to start from scratch. It wasn't easy!
Sometimes people see my success and call it Luck. This is completely not true. Luck favors the brave, and hard work brings luck, and I think it's the years of hard work that have paid off and made me become what I am today. It is a result of perennial work of determination, commitment, sleepless nights and tons of sacrifices on both personal and family fronts.
Tell us about your family's support and the role they play in your business"
To make these travels possible, I work double shifts, save every single penny, stay away from brands, diamonds, and that's because it's my choice to do so. To see and explore the world, to meet more and more people to make more and more memories to live and leave Along with each trip when I am away nothing takes priority than my family hence, I ensure they are all organised and looked after.
My family has been the backbone behind all my ventures and misadventures- my two daughters and my husband. as Soulful Memories Photography grew, it became not only my company but a family business. I take care of the creative aspects and clients while my life and business partner, my husband, manages the company's finances and supports like a pillar. My ten-year-old daughter helps me with making checklists, packing, penciling calendars etc. My elder daughter, who herself is a renowned young painter in Auckland, is pursuing photography as well and helps me schedule my travels, choosing destinations, hotel bookings, itineraries etc.
What is next on the plate for you and your company?
Being a people's photographer I currently do newborn, family, maternity, and portrait sessions etc. and eventually, I want to go beyond this and start working on projects which are more unique and out of the box.