Home / Art and Creatives / Photography / From Humble Origins to Winning International Gold, A Gardener’s Son Shines Big
Mahesh Lonkar Photo

From Humble Origins to Winning International Gold, A Gardener’s Son Shines Big

As a photographer gets to know his subject’s environment better, the photographer often sees the subjects in a different way and would photograph them looking quite differently. The people connection is what makes the photos stand out. This seems to be the philosophy of Pune based Mahesh Lonkar who loves to photograph people in their natural settings. For somebody who didn’t have money to enroll for a foundation course in art, winning GPU Gold in the 15th PSI International Salon is indeed a true reflection of his indomitable spirit. We celebrate his success story.

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Challenge for Survival
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Challenge for Survival

The humble origins

Mahesh was born in a lower middle class family. During his school days, he had won prizes in various inter-school and even state-level drawing competitions. Although he was good in art, he found studies difficult. He failed in 8th standard, barely managed to clear 10th and somehow scraped through the technical stream of 12th. He knew his calling was in the field of art, so he applied for a foundation course in a government aided art college. However, due to his not-so-good score of 10th, he didn’t get the admission. In 2005, the cost of this one year foundation course in a private college was around Rs. 10000/-. Mahesh knew this amount was beyond the reach of his family. He was left with no option.

Mahesh Lonkar Paintings
Mahesh Lonkar Paintings

Mahesh’s father worked in Bungalows as a gardener. He is also an orthopaedic patient since last 20 years. When the Bungalow owners came to know about Mahesh’s plight, they came forward to help as good Samaritans and Mahesh was able to secure admission in Bharati Vidyapeeth Art College. In return to the generosity, Mahesh’s father worked in their Bungalows without taking a penny for an entire year.

While Mahesh cleared the first hurdle, he knew the financial challenges were more than over. If he secured less marks in the foundation course and was unable to make it to the merit list of his next course in a government aided college, then he had no choice but to opt for a private college for the next four years. The fees per academic year of a private college was around Rs. 55000/- which was beyond his wildest dreams. Mahesh decided that he can’t afford to be anything short of being the best in his foundation course.

The owners of the Bungalows where my father worked as a gardener, Marathe Sir, Limaye Sir, Shah Ma’m, Jain Ma’m, who helped me in my education, I am indebted for life to all of them.
Mahesh Lonkar

Next Prev
Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Devotees at Jejuri
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Devotees at Jejuri on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Devotee at Jejuri - Somvati Amavasya
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Devotee at Jejuri on the ocassion of Somvati Amavasya
Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Devotee at Jejuri
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Devotee at Jejuri on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Colors of Work
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Colours of Work

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Camel fair Pushkar
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Camel fair, Pushkar

Next Prev

His determination and hard work bore results and Mahesh topped the course in his college. He was also able to secure his seat in the government aided Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya where the fees was only Rs. 500/- per year. He completed his four year Diploma course of Applied Art (Commercial Art) in first class with specialization in Advertising and Illustration in 2010. His family was very proud of him. Because of his great skills, he got a job soon after passing out of the college. Currently he designs Tata’s upcoming vehicles as a Senior Visual designer working for TATA Elxsi Design studio.

There was always one thing in mind while doing the job. Everybody does job but what next? Where is the uniqueness of my work as it was seen in my school and college days? I did not select this field to get a job.
Mahesh Lonkar

Next Prev
Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Palkhi Festival Talkari
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Talkari in Palkhi Festival

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Fugadi Dance Palkhi Festival
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Fugadi Dance in Palkhi Festival

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Palkhi
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Palkhi Procession

Next Prev

In the pursuit of passion

Mahesh got introduced to Photography in the Art College. During those days, he could not imagine owning a camera. He used his friend’s camera for advertising shoots and was attracted towards it. After second year of his job, he bought his first camera Canon 550D and started photography. He started searching for the composition of his paintings through his camera.

He participated in the famous Palkhi procession for the first time in 2013 and has been doing photography of Palkhi every year since last 4 years. Whatever awards he has received so far at international, national or state level, he got them for his shots of Palkhi. Other than this, he also practices Wildlife Photography. But his main focus is on Culture photography. He frequently attends famous gatherings like Palkhi, Somvati Amavasya Jejuri, Pushkar Camel Fair, and fairs of different villages, etc. to capture some awesome moments.

I have not undergone any course in photography but I understood all the technicalities practically while clicking shoots of Palkhi. I feel the rules of painting and photography are almost the same.
Mahesh Lonkar

15th PSI International Salon GPU Gold Winning Entry 

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Palkhi Varkari
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Palkhi Varkari

I clicked this photo at Velapur village in Solapur district. I love to use the wide angle lens in Street Photography. This photo is taken by the Canon 7D Mark 2 + Canon 10-18mm Kit. I have taken this photo with a lower angle to highlight the importance of the subject in my photo. I have used the concept of leading line in this photo. Leading line helps to create depth and dimensionality which draws the viewer into the image. The partly visible dholki player helps in terminating the leading line. I also like this photo because of its composition.

This award is special for me. It is my first international gold medal and for the first time, my photo was displayed at the prestigious Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

Next Prev

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - PSI International Salon
Mahesh Lonkar won GPU Gold at 15th PSI Internation Salon. His winning entry was showcased in Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Kaleidoscope 2015 - First Prize - Tulsi Mai
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Kaleidoscope 2015 – First Prize – Tulsi Mai

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Kaleidoscope 2016
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Kaleidoscope 2016

Mahesh Lonkar Photogaphy - National Geographic Recognition
Mahesh Lonkar Photogaphy – National Geographic Recognition. His photos were liked by the Editor and one of his photo was selected as the Photo of the Day on 4 May 2017 on the Nat Geo website.

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Bhimthadi Jatra
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Felicitation by Sharad Pawar during Gramin India Photography Competition, Bhimthadi Jatra, 2017.

Mahesh Lonkar Photography - Bangladesh Photography Society
Mahesh Lonkar Photography – Bangladesh Photography Society’s Honourable Mention Award

Next Prev

My parents and my better half, who believed in me, have supported me a lot to pursue my passion.
Mahesh Lonkar

His appetite for photography is taking Mahesh to new waters. Since last two years, he has been trying for the HIPA Dubai International Photography Competition. Why HIPA? Because the winner gets a hefty cash prize. If he wins, he can travel around the world for photography by giving a full stop to his corporate job. He is very much looking forward to it this year. And the success achieved in the other competitions has increased his confidence. We wish him all the best.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (11)
  • Interesting (8)
  • Useful (2)

About Team Buzzingg

The Content Creation team of Buzzingg. We add spice and life to the stories on this platform :-) Reach out to us if you need any help in sharing your stories.

Check Also

Dr Ravindra Gaikwad HoD PREC Department of Chemical Engineering Cover

Catalyst in transforming lives of rural engineering students

A great teacher can make you enjoy a topic you don't particularly like, change and expand your perspective on what you already know. Faculty members who do the best they can and make sure students are always on their feet, and confront them if they aren't doing their best, are what make great students. Meet Dr. Ravindra Gaikwad, award winning Professor and Head of Dept. of Chemistry, Pravara Rural Engineering College (PREC), who is transforming his department and the lives of his students through his outstanding academic and research work.

Comments