Exploring Diaries, is an adventure journal of visual storytelling that has set its journey in the creative universe. Their aim is to explore the horizon of arts and artists who are passionate about photography, writing, film making, music and more.
Speaking with Amyth Banerjee (Co-Founder of ED) here's what he has to say about this fresh new initiative;
Rescue Radio (Unofficial Music Video) | Image by Bhaskar Sengupta
What is Exploring Diaries all about?
I believe most of us have been explorers in different walks of life. It is an expression that defines us. Exploring Diaries respects that expression & redefines it with visual storytelling to connect people over arts, music, travel, culture, sports & adventure. A community of explorers who prefer to see the world with a renewed & inspiring vision that is non-conforming of the societal norms. We would rather not restrict ourselves by creating a categorized identity of who we are. For the world we happen to be a Visual Storytelling Agency, a seemingly new wave approach as far as India is concerned.
Cinematography Project | Image by Amyth Banerjee
Tell us about the wonderful people filling in for Exploring Diaries?
We are all good at several things & I have always believed in distributing the work to the right person who was made for the task. As for the main team it is Me (Amyth Banerjee) who conceptualizes, directs,& induces the vibe aesthetics for any project and my younger brother (Ankur Banerjee) who takes care of the technical aspects, design, VFX & aligns with the requirement of the project. Then we have Nishant Sharma who is a skilled photographer & sometimes doubles up as a cinematographer for some of our projects. Apart from that we have a number of collaborators ranging from cinematographers, indie music producer who come on board when a project specifically demands.
Cinematography Project | Image by Ankur Banerjee
What is the adventure/ underground culture experience you have within the team?
Before the inception of Exploring Diaries, we were majorly into photography. And travel was something we all loved, so we (as in our team or rather group of friends) would often hunt for events within the city or outside. Events that had a heady mix of culture, art, people & a story that would widen perspectives. We would scout these places, make new alliances, learn about something new & at the end of the day have a great time bonding over common interests. It is fascinating to know how much positive energy one gets to experience in all of these trips. We still look out for places to go, as explorers I guess it is necessary to have a hunger for these distinct experiences. This is what we live for.
Taste The Ambience (Farmhouse Restaurant Shoot) | Image by Ankur Banerjee
How'd this idea come about?
I have always enjoyed the process of creating films. Just the thought of converting an idea to a visual form excites me. It is almost as if you imagined something with an exclusivity that drives you crazy, but you are able to bring the same conviction with your visual storytelling that drives the world crazy too. Videos created with that conviction has the power to move people beyond words & they have also known to inspire action among people. I wanted to work upon this approach (I’m still evolving with each video we make) & apply it to the projects we took on. And had a startling discovery, if you induce a sense of personal connect in your visual work, it has the ability to perform better than more than half of the TVC’s ever produced. That’s when I knew that we don’t create ads, we create stories! Stories that leads to conversation where people express. So after having able to achieve a bit of this with minimum support, I knew where we were heading. So initially Exploring Diaries just happened to be a name, but while in the journey we developed the idea & now it is just about refining it to the best iteration.
Concept Photography (Mystiferescence) | Concept: Amyth Banerjee | Image by Ankur Banerjee
Who or what was your inspiration for this initiative?
I would like to mention two people in particular who have a great influence around the kind of work I would love to do. One of them is Devin Graham (He is known as Devin Super Tramp on YouTube) & Caleb Slain. Both of them helped shape up my understanding of visual storytelling, though I always feel I have just started off. But learning is a very thrilling part of my job & then applying it. I believe that this style of film making is still an unexplored territory in the world & it would be great if I could have my very own derivative out of it.
Concept Art Photography | Concept: Ankur Banerjee | Image by Nishant Sharma
Tell us a little about your first project
My first project was way back in October 2012, it was my first short film where I wrote the story, screenplay, dialogues, produced, directed & also had to act in it. Though I did all of that we still had a team of supporting members who took care of the remaining aspects of the work. None of us had any proper experience of creating a film, we were happy to be doing some experiments. This is where I learnt a lot about the process, the team work. I remember I would always treat my entire crew after we wrap up the shoots & who would say no to free beers & tasty food. I couldn’t pay them for their effort, but I did my best to ensure that they were having a great time. It was great to bring people together & work upon an exciting project, it was an inspired take on one of my favorite films of all time: Fight Club. By the end of the project we earned the trust and respect of many who started believing in our ability. I believe that was the starting point.
Levitation Photography | Image by Ankur Banerjee
The best experience you’ve had so far with this initiative
Exploring Diaries is about to complete a year this October. Every moment of being involved with this initiative has been amazing. When people started taking note of our work, there were many who expressed their interest in working with us & we still get requests. Somewhere down the line, I thought it might take some time to strike a chord with the people. But from the response we noticed that our idea was getting conveyed just the way it should be. We enjoy the complete process of creating & give a special emphasis on the right kind of music in each of our videos with shots that flow as a story with a positive vibe. This initiative has allowed us to meet many interesting people & their willingness to trust in us & become a part of the next exploring diaries video. We wish to continue that streak & connect with more people. So if I had to put it this way, the best experience for us is the best experience that people connected to us, have.
Go Skateboarding Day, Pune 2016 Video
Image by Navin Devnani | Image Editing: Ankur Banerjee.
What is the vision for Exploring Dairies?
We want to build a culturally independent & diverse community that believes in making a difference by exploring what they love the most. We would like to achieve that with our visual stories across different spectrums, breathing a new life into them.
Light Experiment Photography | Image by Ankur Banerjee
What can we expect to see in the next 5 years?
We would love to create an Annual Exploring Diaries bus tour where indie artists & travelers can join us. We film the whole journey, a road trip to a mutually decided destination. This film documents the whole essence of exploring diaries & every single person in the journey will be given a diary to take notes of their exploration & learnings which they all can share once the journey is over. To make this special we would want to sponsor this whole journey for them. So all people need to do is, live the journey, come back with tales to tell & inspirations for many. We then hope to showcase this film in major film festivals. This and many other surprises that builds up to it, you may say I’m a dreamer but we are not the only ones!
A Moment with the Team during the Khar Social Shoot
A message for the alternative art & culture scene in India
India has been a late bloomer when compared to the world in its approach towards the alternative scene. Just like the aftermath of the Rio Olympics, Gymnastics will now be a serious business in India (Hopefully), because Dipa Karmakar proved her mettle against all odds. But I’m glad to see the hustle that has started to develop & the growing participation. I just want to reach out to them & say just keep doing the interesting stuff you guys do. It is what makes you unique & trust your instinct it will take you places, if not now then believe it is happening for sure. Half the battle is won when you have the confidence alone. So I would just say, guys hang in there… The scene is about to change. It is on us to make the transition of ‘alternative’ to mainstream happen in India.
Digital Concept Art | By Ankur Banerjee
Anything else you would like to share with our readers
No matter what you do in life, inspire yourself first with every act, then let the energy rub onto others.