CHENNAI: When you think of fashion and celebrity photography, for some reason, people think it’s easy work, and that all that you have to focus on is the pretty face and the perfect dress. Most experts from the field would tell you it’s a lot more than that. Chennai-based photographer Kunal Daswani, who recently won the Best Fashion and Celebrity Award at the International Camera Fair, talks to us about how he challenges the norms of regular photography.
“I love the unpredictability of fashion photography – the way styling, clothes, hair, make-up, the model and lighting come together for that one perfect shot. Even if one thing is off, you won’t get it right. So a lot of creative thinking and planning goes into fashion photography,” says the photographer who loves to go wild with the angles, techniques and concepts.
Fashion can mean different things to different people. It can be provocative, comfortable, bold, edgy or exciting. For Kunal, it’s about bringing out these different moods and the designer’s creative expression is through clothes and fabrics. He found his calling six years ago.
Like most things in life, it was serendipitous. He dabbled in music, banking and finally with a little help from his then girlfriend (now wife), photography came into the picture. “She loved taking photos to document all our experiences. Since she wanted to be in some (read, most) of the photos, I ended up taking them. Soon I realised this was something I really enjoyed and I began to spend more and more time honing what I later discovered was a life skill,” recalls Kunal.
What should you remember before the craziness begins? “As a photographer it’s important to keep pushing yourself and pushing boundaries and not get stuck in a comfort zone. But more importantly, it’s all about capturing the raw emotion behind the lens and translating that into a memorable image,” Kunal says, “It’s your job to make sure everything and everyone come together perfectly.
Carrying his Canon 5DS and the medium format Mamiya with a Phase One along with 10 different lenses, Kunal’s goal is to showcase clothes in all their glory and also make celebrities look their best or profile a side to them like never before. “Honestly, I’m living the dream. Doing what I love for a living, travelling to exotic locations, meeting interesting people, telling stories with my camera... If anything, I would like to travel more on work and eventually set up a base in New York as well as Chennai,” he says. Inspired by international photographer Mario Testino, Kunal offers aspirants a word of caution: “Never get carried away with owning the best equipment or the best camera. Fashion is more visceral…it’s about capturing the right moment, the right emotion, the right energy. Be passionate about what you do and always be open to experimentation.”
To check out his photography, visit www.kunaldaswani.com