Last year he approached me on Facebook just wanting to seek a collaboration with me. The conversation quickly turn very friendly, his tone was a bit too friendly, sprinkling his conversation with some ‘baby’ and ‘darling’ – at this point I assumed it was like that at this level of the profession. He then asked me for my number to be able to communicate through ‘what’s app’. It is from this moment that his way of communicating became totally inappropriate. From sexual propositions to graphically describing sexual acts, his vocabulary was very trashy and raw. He also quickly propose to have skype sessions, which I refused. Manik has definitely an issue concerning his vision of women and sex, but he has also an issue with authority, I have been told by him ‘who are you to talk to me like that’, he admitted being under the influence of alcohol and weed but I could sense that it was his vision of his ‘place’ in the photographic world. He then blocked me from Facebook because it was not going the way he wanted. At the same time I was learning that he had approached in the same way other of my female photographer friends but they quickly send him off. He is not the only photographer or editor who was more interested by seeing flesh than photographs and not be the last. We should not let the pseudo or real status/influence of a man taking over basic rules of respect. Of course we should not be impressed by any professional status at the point to let someone crossing the limits of decency. But first of all, men of this profession have the right to comment or appreciate only our creative production. Too many allow themselves to cross limits with which you have to be ok because otherwise ‘you are not cool’…
I started interning with EMAHO, back in 2012. It seemed like such an interesting platform since I had wanted to get into photography, and after speaking to Manik Katyal on the phone, after connecting with him on Facebook, I thought that I am in for something that is going to help me build my plans better. And Katyal promised a lot.
Little did I know what he was up to, most of the times: “Hey, you free? Why don’t you come over to my place. There is beer in the fridge, and I am all alone.” Okay, it happened once, and I refused. Twice, I refused. Thrice, I refused. Fourth time, I had to make an imaginary boyfriend to lay him off. I thought he’d diminish my name in the industry before I could even make a name, since I thought he was very well connected to so many photographers, artists and musicians. So I just kept quiet and denied his advances. All this was via Facebook.
I met him once, in the company of a friend, and that friend himself told me that he felt the strangest vibes from Katyal. I did too. And I knew he was a disgusting man. I had to intern from home, thank God for that, but that never stopped Manik from saying things like: “So what if you have a boyfriend? I am just asking you to have sex. He doesn’t have to know.” Of course, my boyfriend was imaginary. But Manik Katyal wasn’t, unfortunately. He crossed the line when he asked me this. And I denied, as usual.
And I left EMAHO for good. I haven’t told people about this, ever. Always told them to stay away from this man. He deleted me off of his list on Facebook because I know, and he knows too, that he said stuff and wanted to do things that could land him in the bloody JAIL, but he’s still as disgusting, prune and a downright asshole. The only thing I learnt from EMAHO is to stay away from EMAHO and Manik Katyal. For good.