Gold Award holder goes on a mission for National Geographic

Published: 1 Oct 2013

Young child in India working on the railways: C: Vicky Roy

An Award holder from India has been selected to take part in National Geographic’s Mission Cover Shoot competition.

Gold Award holder Vicky Roy joined seven other young people on a mission to capture the best cover shot for the international magazine’s Traveller India edition. To celebrate its 125th year, National Geographic is dedicating the anniversary to the ‘power of photography’, to highlight the importance of images in documenting historical events but also as a medium to inspire people.

Mission Cover Shoot is one of many events planned by National Geographic to mark the occasion and for Vicky, taking part in the project is both poignant and a huge honour.

Where the streets have no name

Now an international photographer himself, Vicky didn’t have the easiest start in life. Born into abject poverty in rural India, Vicky left home at 11 and lived and worked on a railway platform. A chance meeting with an Award unit led him to the Salaam Baalak Trust – an organisation helping to rehabilitate street children. Here Vicky completed his Award and took up photography for his Skills section. His talents were soon spotted and he was offered a place at the Triveni Kala Sangam for training. Here he studied under British photographer Dixie Benjamin.

In 2007, he held his first solo show in India and in 2009 he was chosen for a mentorship programme by the US based Maybach Foundation to photograph the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre (WTC). His work is still on display at the WTC in New York and at the American Center in New Delhi.

Vicky credits the Award for leading him to a better future. “Without the challenge of the Award, I would still be washing dishes. Today, my eyes are open to the endless possibilities that life offers. The Award has given me the confidence to grab my opportunities,” he says.

The next star of photography

As part of the project, Vicky was required to take photographs of wildlife, sporting events, people and remote communities and his work was judged by some of the world’s most celebrated photographers, including award-winning National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale.

“I decided to take part in Mission Cover Shoot because I am always looking for great new talent – I’m looking for the next star,” said Ami, speaking during an interview for HCT productions.

Top achievement

Vicky’s work has been displayed in several international exhibitions, including at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and the Foto Museum, Switzerland. He has received many awards and accolades including Time Out Magazine recognizsing him among the ‘Top 25 achievers under 30’ in 2009.

Home.Street.Home, his current solo show, opens in New Delhi in October. It is based on the monograph Home.Street.Home. published by Nazar Foundation, edited by Sanjeev Saith.

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