Riddhi sees frames everywhere, not just because she is a photographer, she always saw them. She see people, their expressions, gestures, the play of light and shade and a profusion of colours – slivers of magic, and she try’s to capture it all! The opportunities are endless for someone who sees an image in any situation.
Having begun as a clueless teenager Riddhi found my true calling only after having dabbled in the Ad world. Her tryst in photography began with assisting ace photographer Nrupen Madhvani and her resolve to become a name to reckon with became even strong. After which she joined Shari Academy of Digital photography where my passion grew by leaps and bounds and she went onto becoming the Master Craftsmen of the year and also bagged the Best Fashion Photography and Food Photography Award, Luxoculus.
Why are you a photographer?
I am a photographer because I am terrible at math and have an attention span of a gold fish.
Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
Yes, very vividly actually. It was my 6th month in my first proper job in an advertising agency as a brand planner and I was cribbing about how much I hate it to one of my colleagues. I was always good at arts and wanted to get into the creative side of ad making. I was trying desperately to find a way to get in to graphic designing and it seemed more and more impossible everyday. My colleague asked me a simple question: If there were no criteria or any restrictions what would you want be? I answered either a pilot or one of those cool National geographic wild life photographers. He said here you go bingo. Not sure about the pilot bit but photography seems like a good transition. And the next day I was researching about photography and within next 2 months I left my job and became a photographer.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I decided to be a photographer pretty late in life so it wasn’t a story of oh I wanted to be a photographer since I was 14.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in photography?
A lot of people and legendary photographers and artists inspire one as you move along but the most influential I would say is my mentor and my teacher Nrupen Madhvani whom I assisted before I went on to study photography. What he instilled in me as a photographer is priceless. His way of seeing the world and photographing, his passion and discipline guides me till date. I still go back to him time and again to get my work reviewed.
How has photography changed over the course of the last couple of decades? Is execution/art direction more important than it used to be?
A lot has changed and a lot is coming back. It’s like fashion you see. The transition from film to digital was huge. Photography now is so accesible and its so easy to be a photographer. Phones are promoted as camera phones and Instagram and Facebook are more impactful than magazines.
Also its more about digital image making than photography. It’s easier to creative more whimsical backdrops on photoshop than to recreate things on sets.Things have changed for sure but a lot of people are moving back to the older and simpler ways of shooting.
What do you think of the current state of Print Advertising photography in India? Is it at par with the work done worldwide?
Most of the work now is going digital. The ratio is quite staggering and I don’t think its just India its all over the world that print media is sinking. Having said that we do not lack talent in India. The artists here can create the same quality of work created abroad but the biggest difference is no one wants to spend money on good ideas and creativity. It’s all about instant gratification now. There aren’t many ads, jingles or imagery that I are iconic anymore like they used to be 10 years ago.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Photography is a visual medium and everything that I see on tv or in books, magazines, paintings, travel; all of it stimulates your visual senses and works as an inspiration. Though one thing that really gets my creative juices flowing is Travelling. I travel every year twice for 2 months to some new country or a new city. Every new place I visit is so unique and culturally rich that it automatically creates a bank of visual ideas.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit photography?
I think that happens every 2 months to me. It’s not more like I want to quit photography but I am stuck and uninspired or having a mental block. The more of commercial work you do the less you are creating something new and unique. You tend lose a sense of your photography voice fulfilling the clients needs while they use you merely as some one who operates camera and nothing more. But I always bounce back cause there is nothing more I love or enjoy doing than photography.
Any current work in Indian Advertising that you find exciting? Especially Print?
I have personally loved all the Fevicol ads Tv or print. It will always be one of my favourite.
Whats your dream project?
My dream project would be documenting amazing cultures and location all across the world and infusing an element of fashion or fine art into it.
Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
Salvador dali. Always found him to be like a mad scientist but with a heart of an artist. We would dine in a table setting in the middle of a lake filled with swans and eat eggs for dinner.
Whats on your iPod?
Randomness. I have extreme mood swings so you can find some old world charms like Sinatra to 90’s Bollywood dance numbers for the happy days.
Mac or PC?
Once a Mac always a Mac.
Whats your Twitter Handle?
@riddhiparekh but it would only say refer to my Instagram account riddhi_parekh
Riddhi can be contacted via her website here.