Be Uninhibited, Don't Pay Heed to the Ever So Saturated Market of Instagram Aesthetics - Rahulnath S.R.

1.  Tell us about your background and journey.

Well,  I did my Masters in liberal arts from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and subsequently found myself in the realm of editorial and travel photography. 

Having had the good fortune to intern at prestigious editorial platforms such as The Hindu and The Caravan, I have also had the chance to balance whatever I have shot with assignments from Condé Nast Traveller and Little Black Book, Goa during my short stint there.  

My formal education has really aided my visual endeavours in helping me understand what really happens behind an image; the nuances of it and the way we consume it.

2. How and when did you realize your passion for photography?

​I have been extremely privileged to be under the tutelage of visionary mentors with all the institutions I have worked with. While interning with The Hindu, I was made to photograph assignments pertaining to both reportage and lifestyle projects and this really made me pick my brain regarding the differentiated nature of images I had to produce with varying assignments; at a time when I was a little too naive to understand the politics behind images. 

During my time at The Caravan, my mentor skimming through my then-nascent portfolio, looking at one of my images told me, “If I go to this particular location in your image, I would be able to see the same thing right? what is it that you see differently? That’s what you should capture”. 

Those words resonate with me every time I am locking in on a frame. Both my mentors who’d hired me at Condé Nast have been ever so kind at introducing me to all sorts of interesting projects people around the world were involved in, and they still continue to be my source of perseverance and professionalism.

Realising my passion for the craft has always been a work in progress through all the inspiring people I have met.

3. What are some tips you would like to share with amateur photographers?

I do believe I am amateur myself, but I will be more than happy to pass on a few things I have picked up myself - Be uninhibited, don't pay heed to the ever so saturated market of Instagram aesthetics, look up to your favourite photographers for references and inspiration without aping their style, always be sensitive and respectful of people, cultures and events that you are trying to document - the ethics behind the craft is just as important as the craft itself. 

All of this while shooting trial and error in generous quantities.

4. What are the important skills one should have to be a successful photographer?

A little sheepish typing out the response to this question, but trying to tweak and optimise the setting/environment you are in always yield fruitful results; whether it be through research or improvisation on the go. 

Being present and aware while on duty is something I have always tried to take away while working with the best in the business.

5. What are various opportunities available for aspiring photographers?

As the avenues and the market demand for images have increased, so has the talent pool. Apart from internship openings in editorial and commercial platforms, assisting a photographer could also prove to be a steep mark on one’s learning curve. 

The kind of hands of experience you can absorb is unlike any other. Developing your own personal projects is also just as important (if not more) as commercial freelance projects. Working on personal projects can really help mould a character for your images, which may/may not end up being your style, and that could prove to be your cutting edge.

6. Which is your favourite book and why?

Can’t zero in on one, but if I have to, the last work of fiction I’d read ‘A Man called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman would definitely be up there; solely for its poignancy and attention to detail. I strive to bring in the same elements in my images ; might be a reason why this book has stayed with me.

Interview by - Shamayla

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