Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Magic of being Mandira

My first studio shoot...

If I say she is beautiful…that would be an understatement!

She is a raw bundle of energy - a divine human body blessed with an effortless smile and she seems to be growing more beautiful with each passing day…a woman loved across all generations. I would now be shooting with her after almost a year and she would, for good reasons, remain one of the most important chapters of my photography journey.

I had just moved from shooting wild life to celebs and I still had not done any studio shoots simply because I knew nothing about flash lights…

I got a call from GR8! magazine ( Shashi Ranjan –who blindly promotes me!) to shoot the cover page with Mandira Bedi. Assuming it has to be an outdoor I called her up to fix what time we can shoot...sweetly she said “tomorrow morn at 9 am”, she asked the studio add…I was zapped…forget about owning a studio-I never entered one as a photographer! I told her I will call her back n went across the street where there was a studio I had heard of. I booked it for the shoot and for that eve also…between that afternoon and next morning I had to teach myself how to use studio lights-something on which people spend years of training.

I had no clue where to put in the synchro chord and how to measure the light or use a light meter. It was too much to learn in one day…but the studio assistant was good and I practiced on him till 3am in the morning…using my eyes to judge and my instincts to decide-I booked a fog machine for the morning as I conceived a very magic-like shot…and of course didn’t sleep the whole night. I didn’t tell the magazine or Mandira that I had never been to a studio before. But I was sure they would know by morning and then hate me for wasting their time. Good, at least I could get back to wild-life!

She was punctual...dot 9am she was in the studio…I set up the light-surprisingly not too nervous- I was doing my first studio shoot-that also a cover n top of that one of the most popular faces. But then she was just another girl and it was just another picture, right? Once I look through the camera, I transform, I have realized over a period of time. As I took my first shot, Mandira very politely asked me to shoot a certain profile as she felt the other profile didn’t actually photograph well…I remember having said to her sweetly enough that she was a beautiful girl n any angle would suit her n of course I ended up shooting her 360 degree. ..
The pix came out fantastic n I learnt one of the most important lessons in photography, follow your instinct –knowledge comes later.

Too many technicalities can often spoil a picture. Often you end up missing a moment because you spend too much time getting the other elements right. Then, you have a good technical picture without really having anything to say. My first studio shoot with Mandira bedi-in one year those pix have been used for ITA awards/Gold awards Mauritius/Red FM world cup campaign and God knows where all- because nobody really ever paid me for them…!!! But I am not complaining.

My friend that evening told me how I could not know lighting –since “photography” meant ‘writing with light’!!!
He was right but then even today I shoot mostly on instincts ,though I acquired a whole lot of knowledge about the technical stuff…so much so…that I taught myself to shoot in candle lights, bulbs, tube-lights, tail lights of vehicles n even moonlight for that matter!!!

Over a period of time I have shot tons of stars but Mandira Bedi would remain a special. She gave me my confidence. I am shooting her again now…and quite excited about it...Not just because she is beautiful but there is something magical about her…only those who have met her would have experienced that…J

Thursday, October 25, 2007

When a tiger kills!

The silence before the storm
It was the 5th day of my documentary shooting at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve when I came across this scene-which a photographer just dreams of n hardly ever gets to shoot
-'a tiger going for the kill'
And as usual the dilemma-to shoot video or take pics. Since my HDV didnt really have too much of zoom-I decided to use my tele-photo lens n shoot this pic-just check out the way they are both sizing each other up.
It's a visual treat for wild-life lovers-the crouch,the anticipation, the chase n the attack! Your body goes still n a thousand indefinite thoughts block the traffic in your head...you experience a maddening rush of blood when for a few seconds everything in the jungle goes so silent that your own breathing sounds like a thunderstorm...and then you know you have witnessed something which not many people get to.
A tiger in its full glory. A tiger killing the way only a tiger can.
You don't feel bad about it either,cos you have learnt the fact by now
...in the jungle-killing is not a sport but a way of life!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I let a snake kiss the lens

Can you believe a snake would let you easily shoot a hundred pics without trying to move away? Like a professional model!!!
Trust me they love to be clicked,atleast when they are hanging from a tree-thats the impression I got while shooting this one!
I had gone to shoot a documentary film to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in M.P.this year in the month of April. While taking some notes in the camp,i had this eerie feeling as if something is hovering right behind me. Looking behind twice I still couldn't figure out till my hand almost touched this one hanging from the tree and staring right at me. Startled,I dropped my coffee mug but next second I was rushing to get my camera. Now the dilemma- to shoot photos or video? I ended up shooting both till in the next half an hour both of us got bored of each other...crazily enough,I let it even kiss the lens- thats when I shot the pic when it was moving back....
Let me be honest enough to tell you that I did all this when my cousin (Deepak Talan) had told me they are not actually dangerous...but then ofcourse after I had finished with it he added with a smile-'but you never know-a snake is a snake ,is a snake!...'
Thanks for telling...:-)

Freedom Flutter

I have known Shama for almost three years now...and the matter of fact is,this pic could have been shot only with her. We shot this around Independance Day hence this choice of colors- I wanted to use the 3 colors of independance but not use a flag,n relate to her energy,beauty,sparkling smile n the sense of freedom she projected in that gesture...'wings of freedom' or 'freedom flutter' (as titled by The Times of India when they published it)...the outcome was fantastic...

A one-take shot n till date one of my most fav.. technically though its a bit difficult to capture as pigeons fly around too quickly ,making it almost impossible to focus n shoot..

Shama is actually a pure soul( n i m not trying to flatter her!),enjoys life's small little blessings n that reflects beautifully in the way she spontaneously smiles. I personally feel she wasted herself by doing TV but now that she is doing Shashiranjan's Dhoom -Dhadaka opposite Sammir Dattani,may be after the release she gets her due credit...

Personally this pic is very close to my heart...it makes me smile everytime I see it, n ofcourse, this pic got me to shoot 12 cover pages of GR8! Mag...back to back..

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mithun Chakraborty says Mumbai Tujhe Salaam

Mithun Chakraborty says Mumbai Tujhe Salaam

A year back i went to do a photoshoot for a friend at a bungalow at Madh Island-...as i walked in that bungalow which was still under construction, for the first time I saw in person-the man whom i had admired n fought for with many ppl over the years( ofcourse without him being aware of that fact)-Mithun Chakraborty - Mithun Da- a man so humble n polite that i was almost ashamed of having fought the auto-rickshaw guy outside his bungalow....

Almost a year later i shot with him for Filmfare mag-he asked me for a reference-and i told him its in my head as i hated copying a pic for a legend like him...the imp thing was that he trusted me-and luckily enough the accompanying journalist from the mag-Devesh- was quite a chilled out n non-interfering guy...

We had just about 20min to setup n get this shot n couple of other ones (which i will post soon) and quickly also took a video-shot for the promotional video of "Mumbai Tujhe Salaam'...which i have recorded with Kailash Kher and Shaan, though i still hate myself for allowing dada to walk so back on those sharp rocks where he ended up cutting his left foot n bleeding...but he just smiled at me n in that moment i knew why he is such a great man...its a different story that while trying to shoot another pic of him from deep waters,i almost got drowned with my camera..n he still smiled at me!!!---and i told him-dada u r my hero n i know you would save me if something happened!

Ever since then I have shot with him 4 times n its always a great feeling...

Friday, October 19, 2007

On a moon-lit night...

...and then even the moon paled away upon witnessing her exquisite sight...
I met Raquel at the oshiwara Barista in Mumbai...for the first time ever i felt like walking upto a stranger and say that 'i want to shoot with you'-though oddly, beautiful faces don't feel like strangers-you somehow feel connected to them...so,i did eventually ask her and just after 3 days we were shooting in Jaisalmer...
this pic is actually very important to me 'cos our generator conked out in the desert...then v brought around the jeep v had travelled in...and shot this in the headlights of the jeep...
...end result-she looks prettier than the moon...:-)..
Raquel sanchez is a top model n actress from Spain...she continues to remain one of my fav models..

being a writer and a photographer

Ever since i turned in to a photographer....i forgot how to write...!!!...I have even forgotten how to enjoy the sight of beautiful things...infact,inspite of capturing some of the most beautiful images in the world,be it women or landscapes-I have hardly been able to 'experience' their beauty simply cos i am so engrossed in capturing it...Its like a love-n-hate relationship with my camera now...I come back and look at those images n when i want to write about them,I feel miserable cos i am unable to recall how I had felt at that visual treat-just because i never actually felt-I was too busy shooting it...

You can't be a writer and a photographer...?...I am asking myself this quite often these days...

You write about a beautiful thing or you shoot it?

...I guess I will have to start all over again cos atleast for now,the words fail me...