A man who is seriously hindered by his inability to express anything worthwhile, except when it comes to expressing through his camera. Then he is a different beast. Passionate, crazy, creative, unwilling to rest till he gets the ‘perfect shot’.
Why are you a photographer?
There is no greater satisfaction than watching visual communication and visual arts come to life. An idea which is just a spark in someone’s mind, finds an expression which ignites different reactions and ways of thought in others. One may be awestruck, others may respect it, and yet others will find it a staircase to a new higher ‘thought’.
Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
I learnt to respect my own hometown as much as I learnt about my liking for this particular field in possibly the same moment. Someone I knew sent me photographs of my hometown when I was in Brazil. A photographer friend and guide (who is still one of the most inspiring photographers I know), sat down to discuss the beauty of the composition and other technicalities. Interestingly we didn’t speak each other’s language, and yet, we were in perfect sync when it came to discussing photography.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
No one in particular. I admire different styles and different traits in many kinds of people – not necessarily people who are famous.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in photography?
During my stay in Brazil with Mr. Manoel Marques (painter & fine art photographer) I was inspired to take up photography. We used to discuss photographs of masters of India and Brazil in detail and through him I learnt how photography affected culture, religion, lifestyle, fashion and entire eras.
Others who directly influenced me: Fawzan Husain, Girish Mistry & Pallavi Datta while those who indirectly influenced me are Sebastião Salgado & James Nachtwey.
How has photography changed over the course of the last couple of decades? Is execution/art direction more important than it used to be?
Photography as an art has immense potential now with new technologies and platforms. I loved the old school practices also, but I never got a chance to learn them in detail and practice them on a regular basis. I have mostly dealt with the digital medium. Most Creative Directors and Photographers these days however do not give sufficient time to the process – be it the ideation or the execution – it is sad, because I see many ideas get compromised potential-wise, due to this.
What do you think of the current state of Print Advertising photography in India? Is it at par with the work done worldwide?
I don’t think so. I think we have some brilliant creative people. Yet the only due consideration is deadlines and budgets. Television commercials invoke a lot of awe and respect among creative people, yet the same guys are willing to compromise on every level when it comes to print. Though I must admit, we are winning awards, but it is rare to win respect for photography internationally, with the kind of work coming out these days.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from other visual artists besides war and documentary photographers. It might be hard to explain exactly how, but when I see some great work by any artist it surely inspires me. The real-time need to create great work out of snippets from Life, without the luxury of time or preparation or even worrying about technicalities, and still managing to inspire, comment, draw attention to your subject is commendable, awe-inspiring if I may say so.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit photography?
Any current work in Indian Advertising that you find exciting? Especially Print?
Among recent print work, I loved what Taproot did with Mumbai Mirror (Hated by some, thankfully) & Night Kills Day campaign for Sleep Apnoea India.
What’s your dream project?
Any India-based Tourism Campaign
Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
Anyone interesting. I feed on conversation more than food.
Whats on your iPod?
Abida Parveen, Jagjit Singh
Mac or PC?
Whats your Twitter Handle?
(I am not active on twitter …you can visit my Instagram @ vinit_bhatt )