“Born and brought up In bombay, I was part of the last of the generations who lived the analog life. tapes, cassettes, no cable tv, playing outdoors. growing up In the 80’s and 90’s, In chembur which was so multicultural.
I went to a convent school, had Maharashtrians, Sikh, Catholics, Gujuratis, Malyalis as neighbours, these were the times when we had a set of games for each season and time of the day/ night and almost all outdoors.”
“I graduated from St. Xavier’s Bombay, In Physics. I was already reading a lot of film books, biographys, film technique , some history. I wanted to study film making, but since I could not afford to go to film school then, I started with some odd jobs right after college, from selling Insurance to marketing ‘Colgate Total’ to dentists, to a call centre job. and In that time I had decided learning ‘on the job’ is the only way I could get closer to what I wanted to do. Thankfully, soon I got a chance to work on a movie as an AD and then after a year, started working with Suresh Natarajan. Which eventually led me to discover my love for the still Image.”
Why are you a photographer?
I got acquainted to the arts when In senior college, I remember I would sit In our beautiful library (St Xaviers Bombay) and read books on films, fimamkaing, film makers,even though I was majoring In physics.
So the shift had begun there. I was particularly drawn to the visual medium. It was the excitement of creating, the entire exchange of energies.
Each shoot day makes me happy. Meeting a whole new set of talented people each time I shoot, is exciting and stimulating.
Also the fact that I am getting to be a part of the most documented time ever (atleast till now) In ways of contributing pictures. particularly the portraits I have been shooting of Influential personalities of our times. that makes me feel like I am a part of something that will be around even after I pass. Even If It is In the smallest way possible.
Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
Not really. It was a gradual process. but I remember that I took It up as my profession only after I was convinced that I did not absolutely suck at It! 🙂
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
No person In particular, films and books were a good Influence!
Who was the most Influential personality on your career In photography?
My ex-boss ‘Suresh Natarajan’ I learned the little that I know of photography In his studio.
How has photography changed over the course of the last couple of decades? Is execution/art direction more important than it used to be?
The biggest change has of course been the firm to digital transition, It happened quite fast like most things In the last decade. I would say It was a smooth transition. Over the years, the number of photography schools/ Institutions have also risen, which has resulted in more competent photographers. Also digital photography is a lot easier In today’s online age. Its become simpler to shoot. and is not as technical as It used to be.
But creating a picture still requires the passion, the effort and the aesthetic. experience plays an Important part there.
The current state of print medium In India does not allow flourish for art directors and photographers to collaborate and create magic like they used to do earlier, So In that context execution, art direction and art directors (who are serious about print) is very Important!!
What do you think of the current state of Print Advertising photography In India? Is it at par with the work done worldwide?
I would speak from my limited experiences In India, the approach towards print is not as serious as It used to be, there are certain shifts that have taken place. While there are certain jobs that ensure a hard day’s shoot and a good night’s sleep, there are others that don’t excite you at all. I have seen and experienced the transition from creative driven work to client driven work.
Its always a pleasure to work with strong creative minds who push you/ argue with you and get the best out of the photographer. these shoots are what one looks forward to. It makes you uncomfortable and edgy and gets the whole energy rolling Into creating something worthy.
Where do you get your Inspiration?
From my memory- righty articulated by akira kurosawa In an old Interview he had done.
I used to read a lot and watch a whole lot of films. and am back to that again. It adds to the vast reservoir within your mind. Its always there.
I have maintained ‘observe, absorb, Interpret and express’ right from the beginning and this happens at a subconscious level
So one has to keep exposing oneself to stimulating material. One has to read more, see more, watch more movies, listen to more music.
I like to do my shoots without preparing too much on execution, I like to feed on my own spontaneity and of the talent, crew, music and the environment of the set / location. I try to keep It organic. You will see this In my work.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit photography?
Any current work In Indian Advertising that you find exciting? Especially Print?
Whats your dream project?
I would rather make It awake project. Write a film and make that film! Haven’t started work on It though!
Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
Am thinking dinner date here. Cate Blanchett/ Mila Jokovich.
If someone from the past.
Then a drinking session with ‘Manto Sahib’ and some of his poet contemporaries.
Whats on your iPod?
Dont have one. But been listening to a lot of Chet Faker (Nick Murphy)
Mac or PC?
Whats your Twitter Handle?
@prabhatshetty for Instagram and Twitter