Every photograph tells a story, captures a memory, every photograph is a witness in itself. Photographers are real life magicians who can transform something meek into a divine piece of art. If somebody has an expensive camera, it doesn’t make him/her a great photographer, the ability to use that expensive camera to its complete potential makes a real photographer!
According to me, photography is both an art and a science. It is a highly calculative and an experimental process which also requires a creative touch to it. Every picture is shot in a span of few seconds, this process is carried out in say, 5-10 seconds where the photographer analyzes everything, sets a frame and captures the image. It amazes me how easy it sounds but in all truthfulness, how difficult it is!
A few years back, in our country, photographers weren’t valued too much. Although, these days the photography field has expanded beautifully. Giving our country some fine photography artists! One such talented and my personal favorite photographer is Rahul Lal.
Rahul Lal is from New Delhi, India. He is extremely zealous and effervescent! His personality is magnetic and oozes of positivity! I would describe him as a modern vagabond with a camera. He definitely loves to travel and try out new things. The canvas of his imagination is directly influenced by his life experiences, he believes that one should go through every singularity of life, be it good or bad in order shape ones outlook and finally figure out oneself.
Rahul completed his bachelor’s degree from NIFT, New Delhi. He specialized in Fashion Communication. During his college life, he had discovered his curiosity and hunger for photography. Not just a photographer, Rahul has varying flairs as well, he is an exceptional musician, a veracious traveler and a reliable mentor.
We interviewed Rahul and got to know so much more about him! Here are the questions we asked him –
Q: What inspired you to be a photographer?
A: I think the first time I fell in love with the whole process of image making was during the dark room workshop I attended as a part of my curriculum in college (NIFT, New Delhi). From pressing that shutter release on the camera, to watching your photos come to life in the dark room, it was the most personal experience with an art form I’d had. Although I had been taking photographs as a hobby ever since I had a camera at home, I took up photography professionally almost five years back when I decided to quit playing music. In fact, I did not take up photography, it came naturally to me as I’d always been taking photographs while travelling. I love documenting my experiences, and because I cannot write to save my life, visual documentation is the next best thing for me.
Q: Where did you learn photography & how long have you been a photographer now?
A: As I’ve mentioned above, I was introduced to the art of photography in college. This was the first time I got a chance to go into a photography studio and work with studio lights and understand the technical aspects of photography. However, it wasn’t until late 2010 when I decided to take photography more seriously and not just as a hobby.
Q: If there were one thing you would want us to know about you, what would it be?
A: I can be very emotional! And I take that as a positive as you need that emotional connect with your art. I also happen to have a bit of an OCD, but again, I take that as a positive as that helps me bring perfection in my work.
Q: How would you describe your photography style?
A: It’s been almost five years since I began my photography career, but I don’t think I yet have a definitive style. Five years is a very short time to develop your own style in photography. If anything, I would say I shoot more like a film photographer than a digital photographer. I give each frame a thought before pressing the shutter release button. I’m not one of those digital age photographers who shoot 50 photographs at first to check if the lighting and the exposures are right. That is something I calculate with my eyes, and I believe that comes from the fact that I started on film where you had limited exposures on a film roll and you had to wait for a few days before you could see the results in print.
Q: What type of cameras do you shoot with?
A: Right now, my primary camera is a Canon 5D MarkIII, which is a digital SLR camera. However, when I was learning photography, I used to shoot on film. My father owned a Yashica Electro 35, which was the first camera I ever shot on. You just fall in love with the sound of these old analog cameras and I would love to go back to shooting on film at some point in the near future.
Q: Which photographers influenced you and in what manner did they influence your photography?
A: Being an avid traveler and a lover of mountains myself, one of the first photographers I was introduced to while studying photography was Ansel Adams. The clarity and the dynamic range he achieved in his photographs during his time was inspirational. With time, I was introduced to some modern photographers whose work I closely follow, such as: Danny Clinch (concert and musician portraits), Lara Jade (commercial fashion) and Steve McCurry (photo journalism) to name a few. The common thread between the works of all these photographers are the emotions their photographs exude.
Q: Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
A: Every time I make a photograph, I want it to reflect the emotions involved in making it. Be it a landscape photograph or a portrait, it should be able to connect with the audience and evoke an emotion. Light plays a very important role in my photographs. You can change the mood of a photograph just by changing the quality and/or the position of the light as compared to the subject you’re shooting. And therefore, I’m always chasing good light, natural or studio.
Q: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
A: A few years back I did a small series of photos and named it ‘The Empty Table’. I was shooting live concerts regularly at and for Hard Rock Café, New Delhi where the performing bands would have a corner table to themselves on the night. That table would mostly remain empty on the other days of the week (and thus the name of my series), apart from the gig day when the band would chill, eat and drink on that table. I began to notice that the bands were really comfortable and unassuming in that space before and after the gig, and I wanted to capture that mood. So I began to ask the bands if they were comfortable with me shooting a few photographs while they sat at the table and just let them be themselves. I ended up with a small collection of very interesting band portraits that depict the personality of the band as a whole and at the same time, of the individual band members as well.
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew before you started taking pictures?
A: I wish I knew this would become a full time career for me! I picked up the camera and started taking photographs because I liked to save a memory of my experiences. Never did I ever imagine that people would relate to my photographs, appreciate it, and on top of that, pay me to shoot photographs for them while still staying true to my style. I did not foresee this expanding into a business at all. I took things as they came and went with the flow, learning and growing all along the way. This journey has only just begun for me!
Q: When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
A: Most of the time my photographs are intuitive. Being a photographer, you have to be able to anticipate a moment that’s about to happen in order to get the perfect shot. Even if you’re 1/10th of a second late in pressing the shutter button, you miss that moment. However, that doesn’t mean there is no planning involved.
Q: What time of the day would be the best to shoot if you’re shooting in natural light? What camera and lenses would you need to carry? If your initial plan fails, what is your plan B?
A: There are so many variables that need to come together to create an ideal environment to get the perfect shot. And to get all the variables to come together, you need good planning beforehand. In simpler words, the process of getting the right shot is planned, while the shot itself is intuitive.
Q: What advice would you like to offer a new photographer?
A: The one advice I give to anyone who wants to start or has just started his/her photography career is, ‘give it time’. There are no shortcuts to achieving success as a photographer. Give yourself time to understand photography, read about the history of photography, follow other artists and photographers from across the world and be aware of the global trends. A lot of young photographers make the mistake of going to a half-decent photography school and come out having learnt only how to use their new DSLRs. To anyone who is serious about his/her photography career, I always advise them to go to a design/art college instead where they would be able to recognize and polish their artistic skills which would eventually help them build their own style in photography. Always remember – the camera is just a medium, what you create with it is your art.
Q: If you had to shoot someone special, who would that person be?
A: If there was one person I had an opportunity to photography in his environment, it would definitely be the Dalai Lama. His personality oozes peace and compassion and I would love to capture that in an environmental portrait.
Q: Which fashion brand is your favourite – Indian & International, and why?
A: Well, I am fashion conscious but I wouldn’t call myself brand conscious. I love being comfortable in whatever I wear while making sure the silhouette suits my body and style. However, if I had to name a few brands that I keep going back to, they would be H&M, Guess, GAS and Tommy Hilfiger for my every day casual wear, while for formal occasions I often step into a Louis Philippe store.
We would like our viewers to see some of his work!
It is safe to say that Rahul is honest and a wholehearted person and his traits reflect in his work as well. We wish him all the very best for his future endeavors!
You can fix up a shoot with him!
Phone – +91-9999011530.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram – @rahul003
Article Posted by Sakshi Deswal / Appy Bistro
Pictures by: Rahul Lal Photography
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