“Stepping into a new career domain that you are passionate about is not easy”
says Rakesh Shelar to Priyanka Singhal, Editors Delight
ED: When did you first start photography? Was it a childhood hobby or something you picked up later on?
Rakesh: I had my first stint with photography a little more than 2 years back as a hobby during my stay in London, UK. I had been there for professional purpose while I was working with the IT sector. I started by clicking nature and the different architectural marvel in the amazing city of London. At night the city becomes a photographer’s paradise and I used to click all kid of pictures. Gradually, my hobby got converted into my passion and then I decided to take it up as a profession in the fashion industry.
ED: Who gave you your first camera?
Rakesh: My first camera was Nikon D40.It is the entry level camera for photographers and I had purchased it on my own at the beginning of my career as a photographer. I won an international award for the images clicked by the same camera in year 2010. I believe strongly that it is not the camera that clicks great pictures, it is your skills that do
ED: Is it easy to break into the photography industry? How did you follow the path to become professional?
Rakesh: Stepping into a new career domain that you are passionate about is not easy. One has to work hard to reach his goals. The fashion industry is a very dynamic industry. The competition in the fields of Art and Creativity is endless. Being a fresher I had to toil hard to reach where I am today. Initially I used to click fine, abstract and artistic pictures. I added a creative touch to the usage of the camera. Because I was just beginning my career as a photographer none of the models were ready to be clicked by me. I took it up as a challenge to understand the creativity that is used by other fashion photographers. I began studying their pictures and got a deep knowledge about how they use their cameras. I incorporated the same kind of technique to click the pictures of some fresh models. I even did a lot of free shoots in India, USA and UK and made my fashion folio with those pictures. Once the folio was ready I promoted and marketed myself to begin my journey as a professional photographer.
ED: Is Photography as glamorous a job as it is said to be? What are the hardships involved?
Rakesh: For me photography has always been something to do with creativity. I believe it is being artistic and creative with ideas in your mind and then using the right play of light and shadows to render those ideas on photographs. The object of photography can be anything. It can be a fashion model or just a simple product. I click glamour but I do not let glamour be a deciding element in the quality of work that I deliver. It is true that getting the desired result is hard because one has to blend light and shadows aptly to get the best in each picture. A photographer’s perspective towards the image also plays an important role.
ED: What kind of shoots are you most comfortable with? Any funny anecdotes from them?
Rakesh: I normally click Fashion folios, creative fashion shoots, catalogs, prints, and commercial for products. I enjoy all my shoots with my team. I always try to keep my team motivated. Sometimes, we also have to shoot for 10 hours a day and it needs a lot of motivation.
ED: What do you feel is your USP when it comes to photography,that sets you apart from the others?
Rakesh: I have never believed in comparing myself with others. The definition of photography and creativity is different for different people. I am not content with whatever I have achieved so far. My best is still to come. But I am improving each day. I believe in myself.
ED: You have been consistently winning award for two years. How does it feel to achieve such recognition?
Rakesh: Awards are always good. They they add feathers in your career cap. Because of the many awards that I bagged I earned recognition. It feels glad to be appreciated for your work. I have taken part in most of the online competitions and social media sites and it brings a smile on my face when people praise my pictures.
ED: Who are your favorite contemporary photographers, those you would like to collaborate with?
Rakesh: I consider some seniors in the field as my Gurus. There are different things that I have learnt from different photographers so it would be wrong to take a single name. In this industry I am always open to learning and this learning may come from even a fresher.
ED: How has the field of photography changed in the past few years? Is there any advice you’d like to give to upcoming photographer?
Rakesh: Life has become much easier for today’s generation of photographers because everything is digitalized; from camera to post processing. But I love the old and conventional kind of photography. I love taking pictures with film-based cameras even today, because with such a camera you can gauge your own talent without making use of the advanced technology of digital cameras or the photoshop. I would like to tell the aspiring photographers that it is vital to develop your unique style of clicking pictures. Your creativity should be such that just a glance at the picture and one would know it is clicked by you. Learn from others but do not imitate them.
ED: How important is it to have a wide range of equipment when working as a professional? Can one make do with a smaller range as well?
Rakesh: It is very important to have professional equipments when you are putting your first steps into the professional industry as serious photographer. This helps a lot while you are talking to your client. A budding photographer has to boast of equipments in front of the clients even if the client does not understand it. But it somehow earns the photographer trust and the client is sure he knows his job. The quality od equipments you have with you is also important .
ED: Does the Indian photography industry match up to those in the US or UK?
Rakesh: Well, that is very specific to style and culture of photography. I have done shoots in both the cultures but I am sure Indian photography industry expects international results and vouches for a fusion style as well. My experience so far tells me that people from UK and USA love to be clicked in Indian attire. They simply enjoy a saree draped around their body. They find it amazing how a single piece of cloth can be made to look so beautiful on the body.
ED: Would you suggest moving to professional photography after studying it in a school or simply freelancing?
Rakesh: I have done my basic course from National Institute of Photography Mumbai. But I have begun freelancing so that I can be on my own. 🙂
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