Pankaj Anand is a lifestyle and travel photographer based out of India, and regularly contributes to global editions of Conde Nast Traveller magazine.
His decade-long career has seen him capturing awe-inspiring imagery across four continents on a variety of assignments. With a versatile eye, he’s also shot international features in the fields of architecture, fashion and more, in publications such as Architectural Digest and GQ.
What do you love about this particular image?
I love the composition. It’s only when you travel far away from the city that you get to capture landscapes like this.
What does the photograph capture?
The photograph captures the serenity of a sunrise at one the best beaches in the whole world – Radhanagar Beach, Havelock, Andamans, India.
What did you have to do to get this specific shot?
I was on an assignment for Taj Exotica Resort & Spa when the team further requested me to shoot some location shots to showcase the destination better. The challenge was to avoid shooting the typical “blue sky and blue waters” imagery similar to the iconic images of any such world-famous beach.
What was the most memorable moment of the assignment?
It was the moment I went into the open waters – for the first time in my life – for snorkelling. I am afraid of deep water, and I don’t know how to swim, but despite that, I had an out–of–this–world experience when two huge turtles decided to come by and swim close for several minutes. They eventually disappeared into the beautiful blue hues illuminated by the sunlight.
What’s your one piece of advice for budding photographers?
The advice I got when I was starting out was that if you want to be a travel photographer, you don’t necessarily have to travel far and wide. You can even shoot your own home – city, state or country – in the best way possible, and create a travel portfolio from there. Your home is somebody else’s destination!
What’s your favourite place to photograph in the world and why?
I have yet to find that out, as I haven’t travelled the whole world!
What’s been your most memorable travel experience for work or pleasure?
Out of the many, there’s one that I remember well. When I fly out of Hong Kong to Jeju Island, I always specifically book a window seat, as I like capturing the view from above to get some extra perspective. On this particular flight, a lady was already sitting in my window seat, and she requested me to shift to her place instead, which was the aisle seat in the same row. I politely refused, but she continued to insist. I then had to explain to her my situation of being a travel photographer and the importance the seat had for me. She was unhappy about this, but she went back to her assigned seat while her husband, sitting in the middle, witnessed the discussion.
Later, it turned out that we were all seated together and in the same arrangement again! We recognised each other, and were speechless for a few seconds, as the lady had again taken my window seat. This time, I let her be, as my assignment was over and I had taken the necessary aerial shots.
This coincidence actually led us to become friends – we talked about our trips and shared our surprising experiences. I got a chance to clear the lady’s doubts about visiting India alone, since she had read a lot of news about my country not being safe for solo women travellers and not having enough luxurious facilities. To date, we are connected on Facebook and share greetings once in a while. She also invited me to Hong Kong to catch up someday – which I would love to when it’s possible.
Where would you love to photograph that you haven’t yet?
I’d love to go to Japan.
What are your three travel essentials?
Camera, phone, laptop. I have this issue called CSD – Compulsive Shooting Disorder!
Where do you dream of travelling next?
I am not sure, but post-Covid-19, I believe any location would be quite refreshing to explore and look at.
See more of Pankaj’s work here.
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