We hold the world in the palm of our hand. With a few taps of a ‘button’ behind slick, scratch resistant glass one can find himself instantly connecting with individuals around the globe. While we know this networked kinship is easy achievable, it is a rare sight to see individuals leaving the isolation of the digital world in order to venture out into reality together as strangers with the anticipation of leaving as friends. Pursuit of Portraits is one such rarity, bonding wanderers in a single common endeavor—the human story.
Within months of inception, a global community of thousands began to congregate around the hashtag #pursuitofportraits. This wildly diverse and widespread digital gathering proved an opportunity needed to be cultivated in order to nurture collaboration among portrait lovers. What began as a personal project, quickly evolved into a mission to create an accessible community and platform to share the best portraiture photography the world has to offer. Pursuit of Portraits hosts photography meet-ups in cities around the world, organizes thematic competitions through Instagram, and has plans to launch their inaugural magazine in the coming months with submissions spanning the globe.
Saunak Shah, founder of Pursuit of Portraits, is an Indian-born, New York City based photographer and designer. His work focuses on the underlying narrative of people and the environments they live in and largely surround themes around scale and sense of place, minimalism and identity. Saunak’s interest in photography started early thanks to his parents who are both photography enthusiasts. At eight years of age, he was fascinated with cameras, slides and the images all around him. As outgoing people-person, Saunak is a student of humanity. As a photographer, capturing an emotion in a moment of someone’s life is the reward and fuels his passion for the art form.
Anyone can join in by using the hashtag #pursuitofportraits. Their growing team reviews and curates featured images on the Pursuit of Portraits Instagram account and website. The upcoming magazine has six photographic categories and anyone can submit their work for consideration. The team consistently pulls together the most highly attended Instameets in New York City. Over 350 people gathered in Central Park in October to join “For the Pursuit” meet up.
When we were back home in New York, it was a privilege to connect with Saunak and learn more about his passion for photography and ambition for developing Pursuit of Portraits. The team is growing and comprised of thirteen individuals volunteering their valuable time to bootstrap this endeavor and get it off the ground. Already in the works are a few trips, domestically and internationally, as well as various growth strategies and upcoming events. As we travel and meet with talented creatives working to craft our collective future, we are never short of amazed at what will be cresting the horizon.
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