EDITOR'S NOTE: In celebration of SAJA's 15th anniversary, we talked to senior journalists who have been with the organization since its early days. In these profiles, they share a bit of themselves and their association with SAJA. For the first profile, SAJA Blogger Sweta Vohra talked to New York-based photojournalist Jay Mandal.
Perhaps a bike and a passion for people is what you need to become a well-respected journalist. At the age of 17, Jay Mandal began exploring and communicating his view of the world with just his bike and amateur Kodak camera as his tools. Today, Mandal is a well-known photojournalist based in New York, who covers events all over the globe. While his equipment may have changed over the years he says, “my life’s passion has remained the same – I am an explorer and I tell stories.”
Mandal joined SAJA just two months after its inception. Over the years SAJA has become a force in the media world, and is a reflection of the influence India and Indians have on international issues. Mandal, a frequent contributor to SAJA Forum, recently was attacked when on assignment in India by Trinamul Congress activists in Nandigram. Mandal says that the support he received after the attack from SAJA members was overwhelming. (For excerpts from an interview with Mandal about the attack, please go to http://www.sajaforum.org/2009/05/indian-elections-new-york-photographer-jay-mandal-beaten-by-political-mob.html)
Mandal, a native of West Bengal, says there was no script for his career path. His advise to young journalists is that one learns the most from experiences, not necessarily from fancy university degrees.
As for the future, Mandal says that while he is an “old man with 384,000 kilometers on a bicycle”, his work is only half done. Perhaps, another few thousand miles won’t hurt.
E-mail Jay: jay[at]jaymandalphoto.com or post your comments below.