Rajendra Deshpande, CIO, Intelenet Global Services, opens up about his life’s passion—photography—and how he’s using it to make a difference. By Shweta Gandhi
Rajendra Deshpande is an industry veteran with valuable experience in transforming business through technology innovations, and has been awarded for his many achievements—he was recently recognised as an influential Mobility Icon at CIO Power List 2016. Rajendra has worked in the BPO sector for the last 15 years, and has been with Intelenet ever since its inception in 2001. His love for technology is apparent, but his love for photography is truly passionate.
Going back to basics
“It was only three years ago that I became serious about photography. I signed up for a course and my teacher’s first question to us was the most astonishing and profound one—instead of asking us to introduce ourselves we were asked why we were there, why we chose to do this and what our purpose was. If you have a purpose, you can draft a clear plan of action.”
“I started with candid photographs and moved on to abstracts, taking pictures of unique patterns, something refreshing, unknown, unseen. The first lesson I learnt at the course was to forget the first 10,000 pictures I took. Practice became the keyword. Over time, my skills improved and I kept improving my art form. Now, wherever I go, I carry my camera. I try to pull out my camera at least thrice a week. I’m thinking about the frame, the lighting conditions, what time is the best time to shoot, what elements should be part of the picture and so many other things. I even go back and take another shot if I’m not happy with the first. Sometimes, I have a storyline in my mind, and I shoot according to that.”
Turning photography into a charitable act
“I would share my artwork with friends on Facebook and show it to my clients. I’m quite well known in the CIO community for what I do. But I was surprised when someone told me that they would buy my picture—it looked so professional to them! Since then, I have been giving away my photographs in exchange for a donation to the charity of their choice. I realised I can create a ‘pay it forward’ model by just sharing a simple photograph, and it gives me immense happiness.
“Many people approach me through Facebook, or in person, asking me for my prints. Last week, during a client meeting, I shared some of my work with them. They were so impressed that they took some of it back with them and donated a sum to a charity in their country.
“Everyone who is given my work is requested to share a receipt of their donation so that I know they’re being honest. In the future, I plan to create a website with my art and a payment gateway that will be faster and traceable. I am not connected with a particular charity—I ask people to donate whatever amount they would like to whichever charity they believe in. It helps a cause they believe in and I am glad I can use my passion for a good purpose.”
Photography helps one stay relevant
“Photography has helped me in connecting the dots and understanding platform utilisation. It has helped me look at how to capture the present; you need to be there in the moment. We really get distracted and lose focus of things around us. But if you have a passion, it helps you concentrate on what’s important. You can extend this learning anywhere. The same applies to technology—you have to stay in the present to not miss out on any new trends.”
Innovation is the name of the game
“Innovation is driving IT and business, and it is only possible when you get out of your comfort zone. I compare it to photography and see both as a way of coming out with innovative results in innovative ways. Every tech person needs to have a contemporary vision; they need to come up with cost-effective solutions. Photography helps in this aspect.”
Choice of camera
“I started with the old school Kotak roll. I then upgraded to a Canon 1000D, which was a basic DSLR. Now I have Canon 6D, complete with the lens set that includes a telephoto lens, fish-eye lens, all the studio equipment and other hybrid quality items. My boss gifted me a Sony Alpha NEX-6 knowing my love of photography! I have also used the Nokia 1520 to shoot, which has quite a good camera. I now have all the professional equipment I need!”
Connecting with people
“My passion has also helped me connect and network with people. The key to a good picture is a good rapport with your subject. Many IT leaders are self-centred and they have an inability to talk to the business. I have no inhibitions about talking to anyone anymore. I can reach out to anyone—and it’s a relief, as I used to be an introvert earlier. Networking is net worth and my camera has helped me understand and establish that.”
Learning from life
“Through photography, I have understood the importance of having a point of view. We take a position based on what and how we think. Everyone takes pictures from different points of view, and you notice the stark difference in perspective when you look at different photographs of the same object shot by different people. Photography has taught me the importance of seeing things from another person’s point of view and appreciating it. After all, isn’t that the most important thing we can learn from life?”
Here are some more pictures shot by Rajendra.
All photographs courtesy: Rajendra Deshpande