Interviews with eminent photographers in various genres, both National and International, we have published on our Facebook page is meant to learn the art from their experience and expertise.
The YODHA of Malayalam Cine World and a hit maker in Bollywood. We appreciate his spirit in sharing his vast experience and knowledge in the field of photography with all of us. Born to a LEGEND, he already proved his talent as Writer, Director, Producer, and of course a Photographer.
She got a gift from her father when she was studying in class 10 and it was a camera! That’s how the journey of India’s first woman wildlife photographer started in photography.An Engineering graduate and an MBA holder, she learnt photography by her own. When we requested for an interview, she advised us to draft questions to help budding photographers and we believe we did justice to her and all budding photographers.
We got amazed when we knew about him. BSc in Physics, BFA in Fine Arts, MFA in Graphic Arts, PhD in Design Education, Teacher, HOD, Illustrator, Painter, Professional Photographer of Fine Arts (mainly), Products, Fashion, Wildlife, Table Top, Writer, Logo Design, National and International Exhibitions, many awards, and the list is never ending. We are adding one more Tag to this great artist, a Down to Earth Human Being.
But the real challenge is today when we talk about fine art photography, it is not only about pictorialism, abstraction, technique or symbolism. It is about how you are treating a subject in today’s context. The choice of subjects has changed from “looking out” to “looking in”. The issues became more personal. Instead of pictorial beauty the content became more important. “What “ you are saying is more important than “how “ you are saying. Photographers are exploring their personal experiences to create pictures “Nan Goldin’s” was shooting her immediate surroundings. So the idea of packing your bag and going “far far away” to create a “fine Art” photograph has changed. Now it is a journey with in. If you look at current subjects of painting you can find a lot of similarity in photography too. Earlier photography was treated as a fine art only when it has a “painterly” quality. That means the aesthetics of painting used to judge photography. (Ansal Adams and his contemporaries challenged this). But we can say photography is an independent medium and it has its own aesthetics.
Today post modernism opens the possibility of thinking in a pluralistic way. It already has been 150 years since photography has come to the scene. Photography has changed the way we see the world and it has transformed itself. Photographs are no longer required as images that merely reflect the world back at us in a simple one to one translation. Rather they construct the world for us.
Now my focus is in to practices and academics, so I am not in to “social work” much. And my 100%time is devoted to photography education. So if you consider photography education as awareness campaign; then yes.
If you practice as a full time photographer especially wanting to sell your works as a piece of art then galleries are the best places to do that. In India there are galleries now dedicated to selling photographs. One needs to find out the galleries who would like to market your work. Making your work visible is very important if you are a practicing artist. Having own website or blog is very useful. Participating in group shows are a good way to make your work visible.
In case you are selling a photograph for some use the “basic usage right” is for one year and the copyright remains with the photographer. Until and unless mentioned in the agreement the buyer needs to pay for the use after one year for the same image.
If you are selling the print then the buyer retains the right on that print.
The people I met, the places I lived, the food I ate all were a big influence on my practice. I think my travels were my best teacher. In those days I was staying with whomever I met and hitch hiked on trucks etc. So I could see the raw life as it is. The elements from my travel appears indirectly in my work now.
I used to use a lot of techniques. May be because I am a self-taught photographer, I used to have a craving for mastering the techniques. And it is a process one has to go through it. Enough technical skill is required. The techniques become immaterial. Just like swimming, if you don’t have the skills of swimming; you can’t swim or float in the water. But while you are swimming if you are thinking about the hand movements and leg movements then you can’t swim.
I use both analogue and digital medium. My choice of the medium depends on the purpose.
I think soft wares likes photoshop “appears” to be easy. But to achieve good result it is as difficult as film. Technology is a good thing. It is like salt in the food. It has to be just right. Too much and too less, both are not good. The process of printing in the dark room and working on a computer; both are different experiences. Similarly painting with a torch light and painting with a digital tool is different in process and experience.
If you are a youngster and your parents are not convinced about what you want; one strategy that you can adopt is that gather all the information about it and update the parents.(If they are not convinced and if you still want to depend on them financially, then listen to them because they are funding you.)But if you are still convinced on what you want to do then just do it- follow your heart.
While doing a project where I am not the client (fashion, industrial and products etc.) I discuss in depth with the other people involved. I believe that it is a process of co creation. The designer, the model, the creative team and the photographer; all work together to create the desired image. In every genre the mindset of the photographer is more or less the same. You do all homework and be prepared to accept the accidents. And let the process drive. Many times if you are not open to accidents, then you end up on a rigid solution. So be open and at the same time allow your constraints to be in place so that it does not go haywire.
Photography is collaborative project. Both the model and the photographer has equal role in creating the image.
When you are preparing a portfolio give full attention to editing. Don’t select too many pictures from the same series at the same time it should not be too less to lose the continuity.
Work around a script. Don’t show too many images. Be what you are and focus on your strengths than simulating a good-looking portfolio.
Keep updating your portfolio. Be very critical while editing your own work.
What genre you want to specialize?
If you are not sure then try everything and slowly settle down to the ones you enjoy the most.
Have you prepared a good portfolio of work to seek job?
You can attend portfolio reviews and share work with your peers to strengthen your confidence and improve your work.
The moment your “Hobby” becomes your work it will give you tremendous pressure, because in this profession you are your “client” and you know how difficult to satisfy a difficulty client like “you”
Photography is a 24X7 job are you ready for it?
A veteran Indian photographer who is the finest in food photography and proved his CLASS in Architectural, Fashion, Products, Photo Journalism, People, Fine Art, Travel, etc. He has won awards like the bronze medal for his contribution to the symposium; ‘The World and its People’,with photographs depicting the British way of life; Beauty Photographer of the Year by L’Oreal; best Cityscapes award from Cokin; Campaign of the Year award from several Advertising Clubs.
When I asked him on his return if he had managed to get me a camera, he had replied in a manner, which was disheartening, that he was very busy in New Delhi but, “Have a look in the suitcase”. There was a neat looking box, with the word “Camera” along with other words, staring at me when I removed some of his stuff, covering the box. I think my tryst with destiny was sealed at that moment. I became the proud owner of my very own camera, an Ensign Ful Vue box camera, an elegant beauty.
Since, like most people, you have never heard of the camera I ‘googled’ it. The link below will give you a complete background to the camera, which is now a collector’s item.
Alas, I do not have it anymore as I had smashed it to smithereens by swinging it on to the floor in front of the entire family one weekend afternoon when my mother complained to my father that I was spending too much time with the camera and not my studies. It was my ‘pryaschit’ I suppose.
Hence, after graduating with B. Sc. (Hons.) from Delhi University, the time had come to choose a career discipline. I was certain by then that my career would have to be a creative one, rather than hard core science, or engineering. Architecture was the obvious choice. Photography, as an option, was not even considered.
But visiting London, meeting influential people from the British photographic scene had changed all that. Looking back I can well see that I was just destined to be a photographer. So, here I am. Truly blessed that I have never had to work for a living as both ‘work for a living’ and my passion are one and the same.
Usually, I stay away from clichéd subjects like water-falls, sunsets, etc., unless they are simply extraordinary. More graphic the image, digital manipulation of commonly seen subjects, and presentation do help. I am also fascinated by the macro world.
As for the technical quality, the prints have to be the very best. After several years I decided to go for a decent photo quality inkjet printer, so that instead of spending time at a printing house, I could print my own, which enables me to print exactly what I want. This insistence for print quality comes from my days at my first job, which was as the black & white photographic printer at a studio in London. Thereafter, I had still carried on as a freelance printer, working in the photo and design departments of advertising agencies, while trying to establish myself as a photographer.
As luck would have it (being truly blessed) due to some legal hassle between the landlord and the owner of the building I had to overnight move out of the studio. That changed my life for the better.
Ever since moving out of the studio I had decided to organize my life. A conscious decision was made not to move in to another studio. This decision meant that many studio based assignments would eventually dry out. I decided to explore architectural work (my second passion) to compensate.
Right now, I am, I think, living the best period of my life. No high overheads to fret over, saving over three hours of commuting time, having time to undertake personal projects, and the shoots I do for others are now out of choice, rather than having to do, as before.
It is vitally important to set aside quality time to do your personal projects. Such projects help you to evolve as an artist, which will then eventually reflect in your work for others. You cannot be just a ‘button pusher’ all your life!
Life in England was tough during the initial years, which, I guess, has helped me for being what I am today. The English people are efficient, honest but a bit too reserved for the Indian in me. However, once you get through the initial reservation they are some of the finest people to know.
In officialdom the English are fair and transparent. The bribery culture is non-existent. In contrast, India is still in the dark ages.
What I had hated in England was the horrible gloomy and wet weather. It also affected the psyche of people, including me. It was a bit depressing. Had almost forgotten what it was like to live in a sunny climate. However, if we were lucky to have a good summer it would be simply like being in heaven. During a good summer, all of the English countryside would become the most beautiful on earth.
The spectre of latent racialism was something which used to bug me a lot. Thankfully, the times have changed for the better. We have racialism in India of a different kind. You see that in all those small advertisements for marriage proposals.
Returning to India I had realized that you had respect, and could be somebody, if you were good at what you did. I guess the most important thing of returning to India was to get back my self-respect. It was not really that bad in England if you were in the right circles but, generally it was not quite so. Again, things have changed as with the opening up of the European Union, I think there are now more non-Britishers living in U.K. nowadays, which makes the country more homogenous and thus more tolerant.
If you really think about it, people, or any other living beings, and objects, in photographic terms, consist of forms, shapes, colours and textures, which are the elements of a photograph. So, I study these before shooting. Then comes the consideration of whether it is a living being, or an inanimate object you are shooting. Accordingly you mentally prepare yourself, and then adopt the most suitable technique. A beautiful woman, or a beautiful vase, is exciting to photograph. May be the beautiful woman would be more interesting as you can converse with her while shooting. I am really a people person, and shooting portraits is like a social occasion for me. Shooting still-life, like food, gives immense satisfaction as you can arrange, rearrange compositions, lighting, etc. to your heart’s content without tiring your subject.
I simply love light and therefore, lighting. Also, I am always conscious of the laws of light, and its nature. How extra-ordinary it is that no one can see light. One sees only its effects on any solid particles, from a tiny speck of dust to a mighty mountain.
Without light there would simply be no photography. It is like a Mont Blanc pen but no ink in it, to write with. So, you see I am very much aware of light and its effects all around us. I get immense satisfaction in playing with light on a subject, be it a human face, or table spread of food, and I guess, it shows in the final result. Instead of being ‘pedantic’, and going by whether I am replicating ‘Rembrandt lighting’, or ‘Butterfly’, I just do the lighting according to the feeling I get for the subject. May be it is a gift, bestowed on me from up above!
The adage, “You are what you eat” is also a fact of my life. I simply love salads, sprouts, vegetables and, of course, lots of fish. No red meat but plenty of chicken. Keeping the mind occupied with interesting projects, creative or practical, helps to keep me on my feet.
Staying single has not been a conscious decision for I simply love and adore women for their generally compassionate nature. Being single has been a practical arrangement, because of my deep involvement with photography, which is indeed a way of life for me. It is not because I may not like the idea of being a couple. Not being a 9 to 5 regular ordinary guy it would indeed require a really determined woman to couple up with me, but if she were as ‘possessed’ with the same passion as I am it should not be that difficult. I know of dedicated husband and wife teams of wildlife photographers, and deep-sea divers, who have quite successfully made it work. However, there are recent divorcees amongst my photographer friends, who have always claimed that I am the smartest guy around. I have my doubts.
One day her unparalleled imaginations got a colourful life. Life of nature and colour of human bodies, thanks to the unlimited possibilities of the art form called Photography and her editing skills.Though she is in her late twenties, she has already created a fan base across the globe.
Most people thought it was really cool. I don’t tend to hang out with people who are scandalized by something as tame as my artwork. If I had painted myself yellow and made a video of myself running through the streets my friends probably wouldn’t have been bothered by that either. My parents, on the other hand, were somewhat nervous about it at first, but soon got over their initial fear when they saw how positive the reception to the pieces was, and how skilled I was at the artform. Even though they were nervous at first, they never told me not to do what I was doing. Now everyone is uniformly supportive.
The young, dynamic, and one of the most successful Wedding Photographer of India. Though he has chosen this NEW profession only before few years, his hard work and passion easily placed him as the most sought after Wedding Photographer.
I was into photography since my early school & college days. I started with a film camera as early as 1998. And even after engineering, I had a strong inclination towards creative works. The 4 years I spent in the field of Animation & Visual effects was another exposure which has helped me develop my photography skills much better.
So I don’t think I would have realized that I wanted to be a professional photographer without having gone through the path I have taken. Thus, no regrets 🙂
It’s all about learning every day. I still attend workshops, I still go out and try new things, explore new ways of taking a picture, or just put myself on self-tests.
So yes, weddings are the most challenging when it comes to capturing beautiful moments with the restrictions such as time : you don’t get a second chance, or enough time to place yourself and make the perfect frame, you need to anticipate action; space : you have to work from the little space that you get between other people, videographers & photographers, in split seconds; lighting : there is very little you can do about the lighting, especially when shooting outdoors or in tricky places like churches & temples where strobes and additional lights are restricted.
Being honest and upfront at the beginning saves me from a burn-out later. I am not one of those artists/photographers who would say ‘yes’ to the client’s demands just to grab another project.
I am blessed to have clients who come to me for my work and give me the freedom to do what I do best, without restricting me or directing me to get them something specific. This is where I feel extremely satisfied with my work and am able to deliver beautiful pictures which the clients would cherish all their life.
A photographer of many genres and more specifically, a Documentary Photographer and Photojournalist, he has been awarded with the prestigious Padma Shri award for his invaluable contributions to the field of Photography.
For me maybe it is a denial, a kind of guilt that I have not been able to do enough on a personal individual level for the people, the situation of Bhopal.
I guess my getting the award had something to do with all this guilt . And while after the World Press Photo award, suddenly I was the star! Set apart from all my peers, colleagues, seniors, to be put in the in the hall of fame at 30.
So with the fame there are also responsibilities and that’s why I chose to go back the first few years to keep the stories alive. One thing that definitely set me apart from other photographers was that my brother was getting married on the first anniversary of Bhopal and I chose to be in Bhopal rather at his wedding. I know it upset a lot of people but then choices have to be made and but then the pull was stronger to be there, after all the horrors one witnessed…
The other thing is that Indian photographers are lazy. They just don’t send their work. So how can you win?
It’s no more about putting the best shots up and about on the wall. But the process to arrange photographs in a sequence is a slow process that cannot be taught. It has to be self learnt through trial and error. Sometimes it can be referenced from how film, music and good writing are structured.
And there are financial considerations when you exhibit at a commercial gallery. You can earn money through print sales too.
We were speechless when saw his images first time and we are speechless about him too. Just read on this interview to know more about him.
Nah, I rather not think myself a social activist. What I did is basic duty of every human being. Tagging a person ‘activist’ is like making him/her ‘exceptional’. We have lot to do hands on hands. Not alone! Yes, everyone can walk through a road, not everyone can lead a road. It is important to lead but not to take spotlight by just ONE. I have some close friends who blindly trust me and my ideas, without their encouragement, involvement 20 Survivors families might not run their income so easily, or ‘Street Boy’s Dream’ might not happen, neither First Light Institute of Photography can run education of unprivileged children! I always engage my friends, fans and colleague with all activity.
I want to tell them – Please take another door, do not defame photography, and build a career as an entrepreneur with dignity, kindly do photography only on Sunday.
Totally this is freaking that poverty could be the way of making fame and name. A photographer must have to respect situation and people. If someone is intend to magnify selfishness then he/she never can go any way. Yes, there are lots of politics everywhere but at the end a true winner win hearts not just metal trophies.
Through Photography I only jot down my heart’s Language. First and at the end I am a photographer. I only treasure this tag. Then, why did I found First Light Institute of Photography? My answer is: To share my light, to give the light to the person who needs it most. I aim to make a platform which will be accessible to mass people and photography will no more be a ‘subject’ but a ‘way’. What is needed to be a student of ‘First Light institute of Photography’? A photographer who is honest, hard worker, dreamer, giver and self-believer can join us”
First Light Institute of Photography’ started its journey in August, 2013. The school has already held several workshops and free portfolio review sessions for aspiring photographers. At the school students receive a wide-range of training in the aesthetics, techniques, and business of photography through hands-on assignments. Mentors show students the way to achieve their personal vision through photography, and by giving them proper guidance mentors help students to turn their passion into a profession. Short Term Workshops are all designed for students beginning their education in photography and for those interested in improving existing skills to advance in their careers. After completing workshops/degree students of First Light establish a portfolio of impressive images and acquire technical proficiency, refined artistic sensibility, and a practical understanding of the business of photography.
Lastly, be honest, respect others, do not enter into groupism, work hard, travel near and far lastly never underestimate your inner power.