Sunday, November 25, 2007

Magic of being Mandira

My first studio shoot...

If I say she is beautiful…that would be an understatement!

She is a raw bundle of energy - a divine human body blessed with an effortless smile and she seems to be growing more beautiful with each passing day…a woman loved across all generations. I would now be shooting with her after almost a year and she would, for good reasons, remain one of the most important chapters of my photography journey.

I had just moved from shooting wild life to celebs and I still had not done any studio shoots simply because I knew nothing about flash lights…

I got a call from GR8! magazine ( Shashi Ranjan –who blindly promotes me!) to shoot the cover page with Mandira Bedi. Assuming it has to be an outdoor I called her up to fix what time we can shoot...sweetly she said “tomorrow morn at 9 am”, she asked the studio add…I was zapped…forget about owning a studio-I never entered one as a photographer! I told her I will call her back n went across the street where there was a studio I had heard of. I booked it for the shoot and for that eve also…between that afternoon and next morning I had to teach myself how to use studio lights-something on which people spend years of training.

I had no clue where to put in the synchro chord and how to measure the light or use a light meter. It was too much to learn in one day…but the studio assistant was good and I practiced on him till 3am in the morning…using my eyes to judge and my instincts to decide-I booked a fog machine for the morning as I conceived a very magic-like shot…and of course didn’t sleep the whole night. I didn’t tell the magazine or Mandira that I had never been to a studio before. But I was sure they would know by morning and then hate me for wasting their time. Good, at least I could get back to wild-life!

She was 9am she was in the studio…I set up the light-surprisingly not too nervous- I was doing my first studio shoot-that also a cover n top of that one of the most popular faces. But then she was just another girl and it was just another picture, right? Once I look through the camera, I transform, I have realized over a period of time. As I took my first shot, Mandira very politely asked me to shoot a certain profile as she felt the other profile didn’t actually photograph well…I remember having said to her sweetly enough that she was a beautiful girl n any angle would suit her n of course I ended up shooting her 360 degree. ..
The pix came out fantastic n I learnt one of the most important lessons in photography, follow your instinct –knowledge comes later.

Too many technicalities can often spoil a picture. Often you end up missing a moment because you spend too much time getting the other elements right. Then, you have a good technical picture without really having anything to say. My first studio shoot with Mandira bedi-in one year those pix have been used for ITA awards/Gold awards Mauritius/Red FM world cup campaign and God knows where all- because nobody really ever paid me for them…!!! But I am not complaining.

My friend that evening told me how I could not know lighting –since “photography” meant ‘writing with light’!!!
He was right but then even today I shoot mostly on instincts ,though I acquired a whole lot of knowledge about the technical stuff…so much so…that I taught myself to shoot in candle lights, bulbs, tube-lights, tail lights of vehicles n even moonlight for that matter!!!

Over a period of time I have shot tons of stars but Mandira Bedi would remain a special. She gave me my confidence. I am shooting her again now…and quite excited about it...Not just because she is beautiful but there is something magical about her…only those who have met her would have experienced that…J