Photographer Talks

Ace Lensman – Subi Samuel

Exhibit: Hi Subi, tell us when did you realise that you wanted to be a photographer? What was your family’s reaction?SUBI: I was in college when I started getting fascinated by photography. I had landed up on a book on photography and that sparked my interest in the art. Right from school time, I was charmed by all kinds of art and photography was an extension to the same. Photography was not really a popular career choice when I started. So, I did face a bit of disapproval on the home front initially. But like most parents, they gave in to my passion pretty soon.Exhibit: You never studied photography nor have you gone to an art school. How did you educate yourself for your profession?SS: I am an avid reader. Anything that interests me, consumes my time. I jump into the subject wholeheartedly and keep studying and gaining insight. That’s how I studied the basics of photography. (Unfortunately, there was no YouTube back then!). Subsequently, I also got trained under RakeshShrestha, who showed me the nuances of photography, which no text book can teach.Exhibit: What were the odds that you faced in your initial days? How did you fight those?SS: Well, like any newcomer in any industry, I had to prove myself. But you really cant complain about such matters. It’s silly to expect people to welcome you with open arms. You fight such situations only by striving and producing excellence in every opportunity you get. Slowly, but surely, people notice talent and then… well you strive harder to stay consistent.Exhibit: Tell us about your first celebrity shoot? How was the experience?SS: My first shoot was with Chandrachur Singh for Stardust magazine. It was followed by a shoot with Shah Rukh Khan for Star and Style. Needless to say, the experience and the break I got both were amazing. And that’s how my career started.Exhibit: Who, according to you, is the most photogenic celebrity that you have worked with?SS: It would be very unfair if I try to pick just one name as I personally think every person has what it takes to be photographed well. Inner beauty radiates in ways that words cannot describe, so I try to tap into the person rather than the features.Exhibit: Your style of photography – how do you summarize it?SS: Story telling. As often as I can. I hate hair flying studio shots that scream “Look at me, I am so sexy!!” I enjoy shooting images which have interest value in terms of a thought. Such images are fun and special.Exhibit: What would you say was your big break? The shoot or the image that defined your career?SS: Most of my initial shoots drew a lot of attention. That’s God’s grace! But to pinpoint one image, I think it was a shoot I did for Sushmita Sen, where she was biting a necklace. It was a black and white image with the chain in colour. That image was talked about and appreciated by many. My attempt was to stick to as many black and white images as I could. By doing so, I managed to stay away from all the images that were coming in from other studios as there weren’t too many photographers shooting monotones back then.Exhibit: How do you keep yourself updated? Are you into social media networking?SS: Like I said I read a lot. That’s where most of the information comes in from. Add to that, there are assistants who see, read stuff and keep me posted on the same. I love to study new styles. Learning is cool. It never goes out of style.Yes I am into social media. It’s a fabulous way to reach out to your followers – be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I haven’t experimented with periscope as much as I would like to, but maybe soon enough.subi_samuelQuick Q&A round:A) INDOORS OR OUTDOOR: Outdoors (outside your studio premise) even if it’s a hotel room. It will force you to think beyond ‘habit’.B) FAVSHOOTING THEME: Casual and story tellingC) MOST DEDICATED CELEBRITY: Hrithik/ Priyanka/ RanveerD) WORST SHOOTING EXPERIENCE: None, thankfullyE) COSTLIEST CAMERA THAT YOU OWN: Hassleblad

F) DREAM CAR: Mercedes GLS63G) INSPIRATION: Comic books, natureH) APPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY: Mextures, Picsart, TyporamaExhibit: Advice for young photographers – academic training or working under professionals, what could be of more help to them?SS: Academic training has its place and if you can afford it, you MUST go for it. Having said that most of the photographers who have succeeded – barring some- have not gone for any academic course. So it’s a choice you must make. If I had it my way, I would go for a professional course. You will find success if you are diligent, not here for the glamour and know your craft well enough. It’s not the first call, but the repeat call that sustains you in business. So think long term!
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