CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's all about being true, pure, unadulterated. That's Atish Baidya's approach to news reporting and to his art.
Baidya is a morning reporter on WCHS-TV8, where he said he strives to deliver his reports with honesty and integrity. He brings that same sense to his photography, and his photos are catching the eyes of art lovers throughout the area.
The San Diego native just closed an exhibit at Komax in South Charleston, the artist-friendly business systems company that features shows by up-and-coming as well as established artists. His next show is on April 29 at the Fifth Annual Art Expo and Sale 2012 presented by the Ladies' Auxiliary of B'nai Jacob Synagogue.
Born in 1981, Baidya took a photography class in high school and talks animatedly about working in the darkroom.
"Magic happens. Watching the images appear after applying the chemicals ... I still have the film mentality," he said, gesturing expansively. He loves that there was very little manipulation of the photos with film: Whatever the lighting and composition was when the photo was shot is what shows up on the paper.
He shoots his photos digitally with the same approach -- whatever he shoots is what he gets. He doesn't like Photoshop or any other tools for creating "art" photos. And from the looks of his photos, he doesn't need them.
"The composition is always in my head when I shoot," he said.
His Renaissance-man approach to life helps in his photo composition as well. While he holds a degree from the University of Southern California, he continues to take classes to expand his knowledge, including a current sociology course he's taking "for fun."
Baidya acknowledges, quietly, that his compassionate and vulnerable life outlook stems, in part, from having a fraternal twin who was born with cerebral palsy. He smiles while he talks of emailing and chatting on Skype with his brother, who lives near his parents in California. Family ties are important to Baidya, who said he truly loves West Virginia but is drawn to his home state.
"My dad wanted to be a newspaper reporter, and enjoyed working for the newspaper in school. But there are only two career options in Nepal," he said with a laugh, talking about where his father was raised. "Doctor or engineer. He chose engineering."
The artist concedes that in high school, he always wanted to be "blond-haired, blue-eyed and named something like 'Chris.' But the older I get, I'm more comfortable in my skin."