An ace photographer, Samantha da Cunha encapsulates transitory memories and immortalises them with the aid of breathtaking photography
Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French street photographer who went on to become a master of candid photography. His humane approach to his subjects and the spontaneous photographs that he captured helped establish photojournalism as an art form while also influencing the photography world in numerous ways. In The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers, he writes, “Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant. We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again…for photographers, what has gone is gone forever.”
Espousing the ideas of Cartier-Bresson, Samantha da Cunha seeks to capture the transient moments in her subjects’ lives and provide them a sense of permanence. Hailing from Panjim, Samantha began showing interest in photography while she was a student at St Xavier’s College, Mapusa. In 2007, she was amongst the first few individuals who enrolled in the first batch for professional photography training at Prasad Pankar’s CMYK Academy of Photography.
The institution provided the correct mixture of training and inspiration to its budding young photographers including Samantha. After learning the preliminary tricks of the trade, Samantha went on to do her Masters in Photography at Shari Academy of Professional Photography under the guidance of the famed photographer, Girish Mistry in Mumbai. At Shari Academy, she was exposed to the science and technology that was applied to different kinds of photography and graduated with the top scorer of the year award in 2010. Subsequently, Samantha went on to work as a staff photographer at a publishing house for a few years.
Samantha admired photography as a young girl. She reminisces, “When I was young, I always admired advertisement campaigns – whether in the magazines or on the hoardings. I frequently wondered: how does one achieve such results? My curiosity gave me a sense of direction as to the kind of career path I must follow. By 2007, I had already purchased my first camera, did a small course in Goa, and started assisting photographers post college hours to gain experience.” Consequently, she launched her very own photography studio, Studio Grey, in 2011.
Although Samantha has an experience in most genres of photography, she was inherently drawn towards wedding photography, one of the prime focuses of Studio Grey. She explains, “I believe that it is the raw emotions and stolen glances, which couples share on their special day that drew me in that direction. The idea of creating a romantic story with little or no background of the couple entices me.” In keeping with Samantha’s words, wedding photography is the creation of memories that couples can relive forever.
Initially specialising in wedding photography, Studio Grey has expanded its work portfolio to include architecture, commercial, corporate, food, individual, landscape, maternity, newborn, and product photography. The photographers use a combination of techniques and focus on capturing emotions. When it comes to weddings, their approach is candid and intimate with a flair for romance. Maternity and new born photography is all about capturing the gentleness of motherhood and the innocence of newborns. With food, landscape, product, and architectural photography, their focus lies on creativity, composition, and attention to the finest of details while preserving the essence of each element.
With an assortment of clients, her photography studio has undertaken several notable projects that have become a marvelous part of their work portfolio. With offices in Mumbai and Panaji, the team has covered the weddings of various Indian celebrities like the Hindi television actress, Drashti Dhami; an actress in the Marathi entertainment industry, Anuja Sathe Gokhale; and Binay Pradhan, assistant director of the movie Devdas. Many mouthwatering culinary displays have been filmed by Samantha for a number of well-known restaurants, including Bademiya, Salt Water Café, and Yauatcha (a Michelin star rated restaurant). Besides this, they have also captured commercial projects for Orra Jewellers, Podar Group of Schools, and ITC Hotels.
Taking up a career in photography as she believed that it was a platform which would aptly express her art, Samantha affirms that she has never found herself to be in a disadvantaged position due to her identity as a female photographer. She feels that a photographer’s identity and background only strengthens and adds on to their voice.
Being unique – whether in terms of gender, race, or experience – further enriches and diversifies their photographs. Conclusively, Samantha mentions, “I see the world the way I see it, not because I am a woman, but because I am my own unique individual.”