Meet the woman who quit stock market to pursue photography full time.
Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?
– Well, I worked with my father in the stock market for 2 years before I decided I wanted to pursue photography. I’d always carry my point and shoot camera around when I was in college, taking pictures of the most ordinary things. So I bought a DSLR and started shooting portraits of my dad’s employees and taking pictures on my commute to work every day. I got good feedback from family and friends and decided this is what I wanted to do. At some point in 2010, I got my first commercial job which was a real eye opener because that’s when I realised that this is not easy! Then I went on to study it in Massachusetts at Hallmark institute of Photography and I think that’s where it all really started for me.
Inspiro India: Can you talk a bit about your mesmerising portraits and your way of working?
– I spend a lot of time location hunting. I think nothing inspires me more than being outside surrounded by nature. I have endless notes on my phone with pictures of things and their location, whether it’s a random tree or a strange door or a pretty staircase. I keep revisiting my notes and try to figure out what I would like to shoot there. It’s probably the most important part of the entire process for me, and also the most private. Unlike all the other aspects, I’m very used to doing this alone. Apart from that, a lot of it evolves as we go along. I try and evoke a sort of harmony between the environment and my subject, whether it’s with their gesture or expression.
Inspiro India: Did you face any problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?
– Yes of course, what is any profession without problems anyways. It was rough in the beginning. The work you get to do more often than not depends on your network rather than your actual work, which is sad. Another thing is when people will commission you to create something that has already been done have absolutely no vision of their own. I find that incredibly nerve-racking. But it’s starting to change slowly.
Inspiro India: How would you describe your photography style?
– Aaaah that’s a tough one. But I guess you could say intimate and at times, melancholic almost. Something that is more about the feeling than it is about the content.
Inspiro India: Which genre of photography interests you the most? and why? What are your top three favourite photography locations?
– I do enjoy shooting people. Whether it’s portraits or a fashion sort of setting. I think Fashion photography allows me to explore the kind of photography I like which is moody and has a narrative. No top locations but I do love shooting outdoors.
Inspiro India: Your portfolio includes quite a lot of portraiture. Walk us through your process of creating a great portrait?
– I’ve realised that for portraits, less is more. I try staying away from directing my subject too much because it can get confusing and they often lose themselves. I will just give them a very basic brief of what I’m looking for and then kind of let them get comfortable or even uncomfortable for that matter in that environment. I’m very disconnected from my subject during portrait sessions and I think a lot of the great shots, for me, happen in the awkward silences.
Inspiro India: Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in fashion photography? What gear are you looking forward to purchasing next?
– I do think that more than the gear you use, you have to have the eye for it, and you will make some amazing images if you do. It’s really not about the most expensive camera and lenses. But either way, I use the Canon 5D mark III and just invested in the Sony a7R II last week, so I’m still getting used to the switch.
Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow? Which camera do you shoot with? Tell us about your favourite lens and equipment.
– Well, it starts with taking everything into Lightroom. Shortlisting photos probably takes the most time. I go through 2-3 rounds of shortlists, the first time I look at the images and then come back to it a few days later to see if I feel differently about any of them. Once I know which ones I’m going to work on, I start colour correcting and making other adjustments after which I take it to photoshop to refine them further if need be.
My favourite lens has to be the 85mm. I shoot everything I can with that lens.
Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child? Any dream which is still on your bucket list?
– I honestly don’t even have a memory of what I wanted to be as a child. I always thought I’m going to grow up and start working with my father because that’s just how things happened in my house. But currently, my dream is to learn how to play the piano.
Inspiro India:If not this, What would Rema be doing?
-I would be a musician.
Inspiro India: Which is your favourite photograph you’ve taken till date and why?
– Hard to pick a favourite really, there are so many! But I think one of my all time favourites would be this image I shot last year for Roha. I would explain why I like it but that would just be me generating my own propaganda. I’d rather have the viewer project their own narrative onto the picture.
Photos by ©Rema Chaudhary
Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?
– I would tell them to go out and keep shooting. Don’t just look at pictures. Study them, and keep trying to get better. Don’t worry about who will or will not like it, you simply can not please everyone.
Check out his full feature in February’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#35 – Download Free.