In a candid discussion with Photographer of the Month, we discovered some unknown facts about photographer Ashish Chawla – well-known Fashion, Beauty, Advertising and FineArt photographer. He revealed his preferences in tech and some more on his love for photography. Read further to know some more about the talented photographer.
Exhibit: How did photography happen?
Ashish Chawla: My visual journey began early in life starting from painting my first canvas in class second, to representing my school in painting competitions and eventually ending up in College of Art in Delhi. Photography was not really something on my mind as I was more attracted to becoming an artist or an illustrator. But soon I realized that photography was a faster and more accurate medium to create visuals while I was still in College. I apprenticed under Mr. Pradeep DasGupta after college for nearly 3 years before starting my own studio. The journey seems to begin every day as I wake up blank each day to look forward to learn and to look for something new while creating images.
Exhibit: Tell us about the challenges or ease with which you were able to get that one big break.
Ashish Chawla: There is nothing called one big break in photography as every new job is an opportunity to create something fresh and prove yourself. It’s a journey so there are many breaks; luck is opportunity and you need to be ready for it as you go along.
Exhibit: What draws you to photography?
Ashish Chawla: Visual arts have always been my strength and weakness. The idea of being able to create something in a split second draws me to photography. My own photography style is to follow the context of the subject and to keep it simple.
Exhibit: Which is the one photo shoot that’s closest to your heart?
Ashish Chawla: There are a few from my past exhibition that I relate to even now and find special.
Exhibit: Where do you see the field of photography heading in the next 5 years?
Ashish Chawla: Like any other art form, photography keeps looking into the past to create the future. I see cameras and technology taking over the mainstream photography and a lot of photographers going out of business. I see the industry saturating beyond a point and then filtering up in distinguishing different genres of photography more precisely again. Photographers can also end up like typists till computers became desktops for the masses.
Exhibit: Ashish Chawla and Tech – what is the relationship like?
Ashish Chawla: I normally use tech to accentuate the visuals. I’m not very tech savvy. It’s a bit of an oxymoron but my relationship with tech is quite organic 😉
Exhibit: How is technology shaping the field of photography?
Ashish Chawla: Technology has definitely elevated the control of a photographer over the process of image making. A lot can be done while processing and in postproduction. It’s amazing what technology has offered us and all we need now is imagination and originality.
Exhibit: How is social media shaping the course of photography?
Ashish Chawla: The attention span of an image has gone down drastically as we are bombarded with zillions of images through the social media. The social media has taken over as the main media for any visual release, though unfortunately it does not always do justice to experiencing an image as it has its limitation in size scale and dimension. Having said that, it has definitely democratized the release platform for images and created a global audience to reach out to. Maybe it’s all for good and it does empower a photographer to reach out to the world without really needing a publisher or gallery.
Exhibit: Which is the one indispensable photography equipment for you?
Ashish Chawla: A camera, I guess, and then a tripod. Also, lenses are sure very important followed by the light systems.
Exhibit: What inspires you the most?
Ashish Chawla: People and history.
Exhibit: What gadgets do you carry around with you all the time?
Ashish Chawla: My cellphone mostly and DSLR with a 24- 105mm; it’s a great lens for most of the shoots. Although I have been shooting all my assignments with my Pentax 645z for over 2 years now.
Exhibit: What’s your go-to photography trick that you know will never fail?
Ashish Chawla: Know your light and connect with your subject.
Exhibit: Seeing in hindsight, what would you have done differently in your career?
Ashish Chawla: Maybe studied a bit of styling and business.
“ Technology has definitely elevated the control of a photographer over the process of image making. ”
- One photography cliché you keep yourself away from: Instant posts on social media.
- A gadget you swear by other than your laptop and smartphone: Good headphones.
- Advice to budding photographers: Educate yourself, be patient.
- Your inspiration: Life.
- Most costliest buy: My studio/Hasselblad.
- If not photography, then what: Painter or Chef.
- One classic or contemporary photograph that speaks to you: Classic is Irving Penn Girl in Bed and Contemporary is Gregory Crewdson In a lonely space.