Thursday, December 24, 2009

pravin talan-exclusive Society magazine interview




















































Needless to mention Society magazine is one of the most reputed magazines published in India and when I got a surprise call from them for an exclusive interview for the August issue, I was genuinely happy. Many of my friends missed the interview, as somehow strangely I never talked about it. But now as I see the year 2009 going by, I just feel like reproducing it here for my friends’ n well wishers. I remember there was a time when I wished somehow to shoot for this magazine and surprisingly sooner than expected the same magazine featured me in eight pages… Thanks Society (and Ujjwala) for a wonderful interview…
It indeed has been quite a journey for me. From shooting tigers in the wild to stunning models in exotic locations around the world...
..and i know this is only the begining...
please click on each image to read the entire interview

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interview for Fashion TV India as it's 'photographer in focus'

screen shot from www.ftv.co.in


This is the interview as it appears on Fashion TV (India ) portal. Some friends have been having problems with accessing the site, so am re-producing it here as this surely is one of my favourite interviews I have given till date as a photographer.
you can read the original interview at http://www.ftv.co.in/buzz/# if its still there.

1. Your thoughts on being chosen as the Photographer In focus by FTV India?

Fashion TV is not just a brand but also a way of life, in fact for the fashion conscious around the world, its much more than just a channel. I have shot for FTV merchandise earlier, pics that have gone around the world so I anyways feel close to FTV, and now that FTV India has chosen me as ‘the photographer in focus’- it’s a special feeling to get such honor at your own home as India has no dearth of talented photographers who have been around for quite a while.

2. Tell us a little bit about Pravin Talan?

I once wrote on my blog - ‘that I really don’t know who I am and I don’t care, for I believe that God will let me know when the time is right...’

But if you moved away from philosophy of life for a while, then I feel I am a storyteller it could be via my pictures, my writings or my documentaries. My work is not about wanting to impress anyone but explore my own self- with the world I just want to share what I feel or see and when people appreciate it-the sense of recognition can be quite exhilarating.

3. What is home for you?

I am a traveler ...I move the way my thoughts do – and they never stop. I connect with people easily and as long as I am close to nature I feel I belong to that place. I am restless & curious. The child in me lives beyond the few grey hair I have picked up. Photography for me is a journey to find peace within myself- that’s why I constantly look for happiness, beauty, love & peace in whatever I shoot – and it keeps me on the move.

After traveling around the world when I come back n meet my mother, and she puts her fingers across my hair, saying that I look tired, asking me to rest- I feel I am at home.

Those few moments of warmth in her arms- -give me that sense of belonging n calm my senses- making me feel at home as that’s where I came from- her body, rest is all just temporary shelters and roofs we keep building the rest of our lives on our head.

4. If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet where would you build your dream home?

It’s the newness of a place that excites us more; very rarely I have come across a place whose beauty would continue to grow on me with time! I have come to learn one thing – it’s not the roads, buildings, concrete & glass structures that make a beautiful city-it’s the people that we meet there, that make a city worth living. If the traffic in Mumbai could be managed then I don’t see myself going anywhere else-, as this is where my heart is and this is where my friends are.

And for temporary getaways there are too many beautiful places in the world to pick up just one!

5. What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?

When I talk, I am a different me, as I have never looked for answers- they just come- as if there is another me inside me! And funnily I feel as if I am outside my own self and listening to what ‘another me is speaking and get surprised at my own words at times.

6. Did you go to school to study photography?

Which school can actually teach photography? They can teach you how to operate camera and lights and do digital manipulations but no one can be taught how to look at a certain shot. No one can teach you how to look at life. That’s why most assistants are unable to develop their own style as they keep following somebody else’s vision. You can become a good photographer only by our own vision n instinct.

Though it’s a good idea to learn the technicalities from some school as you can save a lot of time in trying to learn on your own but then eventually to be known as a good photographer, one must be on their own- and learn to rely on their own instinct, working out a combination between acquired knowledge and own impulse.

7. How long have you been a photographer?

I have looked at the world as a photographer I think as long as I remember, though took up the camera quite late in life. It’s my tenth profession!

8. How long have you been a Fashion photographer? What or who got you started in Fashion photography?

I started fashion photography about three years ago. I was more into wild life and street photography, when a surprise call from the editor of GR8 magazine changed everything for me. He asked me to shoot the cover for his magazine, which I did, and next week I was shooting prestigious Telenorr campaign (Pakistan) with Ali Zafar and Sonya Jahan. Next three years I don’t remember where they went by...practically living out of suitcases...

From remote corners in India such as Kerala-Ladakh –Nagaland, to heavenly places like South Africa n Norway- the world became my studio.

10. How would you describe your style?

I am a big fan of outdoor photography. I love to use natural light and play with available elements of nature. Given the choice I would shoot fashion only outdoors. In fact it’s the industry, which over a period of time categorizes you as a fashion photographer or whatever other genres- I feel I am just a photographer who mostly loves to do mood-shots – create or capture something that becomes a part of some story or a story in itself. I try to speak through my pics or at least catch some defining moment which becomes the USP of that particular pic!

It’s not a style that I have developed but something that is intrinsic to my photography.

I wouldn’t be able to state what’s my defining style as I have never tried to evaluate my work- I am learning everyday and there is no end to learning- may be eventually it would evolve into something completely different than what it is today.

I have always been a fan of RGV for his brilliant films like Satya, Shiva, Company -he once asked me how am I able to shoot women so beautifully, in spite of many a flaws in them, I told him because I don’t see any flaws in them. The camera shoots what you see in your subject. A pic is eventually your own vision statement. I look for beauty in my subjects and try to enhance it through my work –rather than spending time in covering their so-called-flaws.

11. How many shoots do you average per year?

Probably a hundred- or may be less- as I never do more than ten shoots a month. And I never repeat a concept or copy a reference (at least I try my best not to do that). Its a great challenge to continuously push your mind to come up with new things, new concepts and explore new dimensions in your models.

12. Please share 3 of the most memorable shoots you have done...

I could probably write a book on my adventures as a photographer. Life is so much fun and the world so beautiful when you look at it through a camera.

I will quickly recount three recent shoots, which I would not forget for a long time.

The first one of course was a shoot for Fashion TV at extra-ordinarily beautiful islands called Koh Panghan at Thailand. It was the second day of our photo shoot at Santhiya resort.

Visualize just the photographer n the model on a small rock formation in the middle of endless water. It does make a great shot for a video camera- but when you face fierce winds excited enough to blow you away into those swirling waves-you do end up thinking twice about defying them.

When I went for location-hunting two days prior to the shoot, I loved the idea of shooting on the rock in the middle of nowhere. The water was calm enough and winds gentle. We decided to anchor the speedboat 100 meters away n then board a kayak to the rock- and do a series of pics. The morning of the shoot it rained. Somehow it didn’t seem too right, the water was very rough and it looked dangerous. FTV video crew refused to take the kayak and it was left to me to decide whether I wanted to take my shot.

I wrapped my camera in some twenty plastic bags (as if that would have helped!) and with prayer on my lips reached the spot, with Marina( the model) following after a few minutes.

The winds were wild to say the least. N it was getting increasingly dangerous on the rocks so we took just a few shots n decided to go back to the mainland. I watched from top of the rock, the lonely kayak rider struggling to keep it in balance as he came back to fetch us. I knew he wouldn’t be able to do it for long- and next moment a strong wave just lifted him and smashed into the side of the rock. My heart missed a beat. My camera instinctively took a shot of him bobbling in water, only his headgear showing, the upturned boat lying on the rock surface and the paddle nowhere to be seen.

He picked it up eventually n signaled to get on the kayak. I put my right foot forward and even before I stepped on to the plastic surface- another wave came picking up the kayak right before my eyes, smashing it again in to the sides of the rock. I had never imagined the adventure would turn into struggle for personal safety on a lightweight kayak tortured by maddening waves.

The fact that I didn’t know how to swim didn’t help me much besides the twenty five thousand dollar equipment in my hand.

But somehow we reached back safe...

Another shoot I really enjoyed was the campaign for G-wild jewelry at Cape Town (South Africa). It was one of the most exciting weeks of my life when I got to shoot gorgeous models in all kind of settings. From white sand beaches to unbelievable rock formations, from python to the Great White Shark and Cape Fur Seal-it was nothing less than a dream project for me.

The most recent incident that warmed my heart was shooting with Lyudmyla Bikmulina (Miss Ukraine 2007) at Hong Kong couple of months back. She had undergone a serious abdomen surgery and yet went ahead with the shoot. It was unbelievable to see her walking around the treacherous rocks barefoot-the same day as her stitches were cut. I was worried for her and insisted on canceling the shoot but she was bent on doing it. It is such times that make you fall in love with your work all over again.

I was truly touched.

Hong Kong for me always is the memory of this beautiful woman who made the shoot for me so much fun and my stay there so memorable.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The FTV shoot adventure at Koh Phagan Island




Life can’t get more exciting for a photographer than shooting top fashion models from around the world in Bikinis for Fashion TV at an exotic location like Koh Phagan Island in Thailand.  

Koh Phangan Island is known as Paradise Island in the Gulf of Thailand, next door to Koh Samui, of the south east cost of Thailand. It’s encircled by charming beaches, beautiful bays, and clear waters, with an abundance of coral reefs and marine life. Ten beautiful girls in FTV merchandise at a location like that and my promised ‘photographer’s clip’ to be aired on FTV worldwide seemed too good to be true.  

I almost thanked God for making me a photographer-to experience such beauties in life. After two days- for good two hours I didn’t care about the girls or the beauty of the place- all I wanted was to be back in my bed and put the adventure behind 
me while I struggled for personal safety on a light weight kayak ( a small plastic boat) tortured by maddening waves.  

Let me recount it for you- the fun and adventure of being an outdoor photographer! Visualize just the photographer n the model on a small rock formation in the middle of endless water. It does make a great shot for a video camera- but when you face 
fierce winds excited enough to blow 
you away into those swirling waves-you do end up thinking twice about defying them and wondering whether you did the right thing.  

When I went for location-hunting two days prior to the shoot, I loved the idea of shooting on the rock in the middle of nowhere. The water was calm enough and winds gentle. 
We decided to anchor the speed boat 100 meters away n then board a kayak to the rock- and do a series of pics. The morning of the shoot it rained and I had a vague idea what we were going to face as we took Santhiya -resort speedboat to the location. It seemed to be flying rather than speeding on the water surface. 

I chose my model for the shot. It had to be Marina- the long legged gorgeous runners up in Miss Bikini World –she was a trained swimmer as against me who just had a few dips in some pools years back. Somehow it didn’t seem too right, the water was very rough and it looked dangerous. FTV crew refused to take the kayak and it was left to me to decide whether I wanted to take my shot. 

Marina was excited for some inexplicable reason while looking at those daunting waves I wasn’t too sure.
"When they make you wear a life jacket and have you sign a paper before that, which states you alone are responsible for your life-it does make you think twice about what you are going to do."
 I wrapped my camera in some twenty plastic bags (as if that would have helped!) and with prayer on my lips reached the spot, with Marina following after a few minutes. The winds were wild to say the least. While Marina braved them, I got worried about her. I can’t play with someone else’s bones like that- I repeatedly warned her, eventually forcing her to lie down on the rocks and shoot. The weather was getting increasingly worse and I signaled the crew to send back the kayak to fetch us. 

Even as I watched from top of the rock, the lonely kayak rider struggling to keep it in balance- I knew he won’t be able to do it for long- and next moment a strong wave just lifted him and smashed into the side of the rock. My heart missed a beat. My camera instinctively took a shot of him bobbling in water, only his headgear showing, the upturned boat lying on the rock surface and the paddle nowhere to be seen.  
You can look at the pic and imagine the force of water just by looking at how far the boat has been thrown from the edge of the rock-at least fifteen feet!  

He managed to get it straight and beckoned us to board on. 'Sure, that looks easy and fun',I muttered and with dismay looked at the 25,000 $ Canon camera kit in my hand. Even if the life-vest kept me afloat, how was I going to protect the equipment, if it turned again? I sent the model first and decided to pray a bit to the sea. I sure am selfish- I chose to shoot on its heart without offering a prayer before and here I was with folded hands ! 

The kayak came back to fetch me. I looked at the guy in the eyes- he seemed to be smiling a bit. 'I think I am losing my mind- why the hell would he smile at such times'. I put my right foot forward and even before I stepped on to the plastic surface- another wave came picking up the kayak right before my eyes, smashing it again in to the sides of the rock. When the guy came out splattering water-he wasn’t smiling anymore. And I had not smiled in last many minutes.  

I wished at least FTV crew would be shooting all this- so I could claim my insurance money! Let the positive in you never die Talan- it’s just hundred odd meters- I gave myself a wry smile! The rider smiled back- ‘shut up, stop smiling and take me back’- I almost told him.  

I sat on the boat clutching onto my camera. To my dismay the winds took the kayak to another direction- away from the speed boat almost unbalancing me and the boat in the process. But somehow the guy managed to maneuver it around and after almost an eternity we reached safely the boat.  

It wasn’t too scary-I was fine except for the abnormally accelerated heart beats.I was more worried about my equipment. I think the spirit of adventure hits you mostly after you been through it.  

I loved the pics and so did everybody else. But then I asked myself yet again, " How far would I go to get a good shot ?" I actually got no clue ! 

After all, what's outdoor photography without a little adventure !

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Winner- a beautiful mind contest' :"... And love lives in the hush of trees...'


A photographer shoots the pic with something in mind- or just happens to shoot something interesting he sees purely on an impulse.

Whatever might be the reason,some small detail in the pic changes the whole meaning of what he tried to capture.

For example when I took this shot, I just noticed the two deer, probably taking a walk back home; I loved the sunlight filtering through the trees casting interesting pattern on the dirt road- but the fact that at very moment the small deer happened to sense my presence and turned slightly-changed the meaning of the pic.

It added anxiety to the whole otherwise, calm feel of the photo.

This week we had some beautiful poems n lines written on the pic, but many missed the most significant detail of the pic- the little one looking away- (actually he was looking behind)- it could be an element of fear, nervousness or plain curiosity as he must have sensed my presence behind.

If we had ignored that little detail it would have been difficult to choose the winner as this week’s entries are really amazing, but keeping the over all mood of the pic in mind- the deserving winner is Shuchika Sahay for her beautiful words summing up the feel of the pic in its entirety.

Her poem talks about the forest, fear, sunlight and faith- almost everything that I would notice in this photo as the guy who shot it.


Winner

In the forest, fear reigns
But faith grows
Sedulously.
Like streaming sunlight
on the pathways....
And love lives,
In the hush
Of trees
And in the crunch
Of dry leaves
Beneath our nimble feet


Shuchika wins the metallic print of this pic with her caption and name printed on it and also I offer to shoot a pic of hers with any one of her loved ones if she is based in Mumbai or visiting the city in the near future.


Congrats Shuchika- pls get in touch with details about yourself.

And do check out the new entry in couple of days on 'pravin talan photography' page on Facebook. You can reach the page by clicking on the link on left hand side or the title of this article.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WIN a Poster-shot with your 'loved one' this week -A Beautiful Mind contest

How  often have you missed the fact that you didn’t have your 'own' beautiful poster shot on your wall -something which has ‘you’ in it and not a piece of paper bought from a gift shop!


A beautiful pic with your mother/ son/daughter/sister /girl friend or perhaps with your adorable pet?

 

'pravin talan photography' offers a unique gift to this week's winner-

- a poster shot featuring you and your loved one- a life time memory on photo paper !

....and you get this just for having ‘ a beautiful mind ‘ and sharing that with the world ! Of course only the winner gets it !

 

Participate in ‘ a beautiful mind contest ‘ on ‘pravin talan photography’ page on Facebook-the wining caption /poem or short story would fetch you an exclusive photo shoot...

 Participation guidelines

 The entries have to be on the pic itself in the " A Beautiful Mind contest" album

1.            Only three entries per person would be considered as entries

2.            The entries would be judged in co-relation to the pic

3.            Originality in thought and approach is a must

4.            We might shoot more than one pic to get the best results but only one                          enlarged pic  would be   gifted to the winner

5.            If the winner is from outside India- this gift is valid for six months from                         announcement – in case  the winner is traveling to Mumbai or ‘pravin talan                  photography’ travels to that country...

6.            In case the winner is from out side India- they can choose the contest                          pic/another pic and we would create a poster for them and courier or send                    hi-res file with permission to print!

7.            Winning this contest doesn’t in any way entitle you to own the pic

8.            Judges decision is final

Please remember this contest isn’t actually a contest in its true sense but an effort to put together some beautiful creative expressions – all for the love and fun of photography....

 

Njoy...

Life is beautiful...

 

 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

pravin talan photography- a beautiful mind contest

To see more details of this contest pls click on the link above to reach the photography page...

Winner -"My love grows its clipped wings...for, I can't fly to you..."


It’s all for the fun and love of photography…

A Beautiful Mind Contest

Everybody has got thoughts in their mind and many want to write, win and own such exclusive pics but very few are able to post comments/captions as not everyone likes to be judged.

A person’s thoughts can’t really be measured or judged- but here we are trying to see them in relation to the pic and we value everything that you write .

All I want to say is that everyone who comes forward to share their lovely thoughts are as special to me as the pic itself. And it’s an honor for me to have your lovely words written on my work.

Hope you continue with it !

A Beautiful Mind contest keeps getting more exciting every week. The winner for this week – Suvarnika Sharma not only gets a metallic poster with her poem printed on it but also gets an exclusive G-wild desktop calendar n the winning captions to be printed in latest issue of Mega Modelz magazine

"On a moonlit night in a starry sky...
Your faint whispers reach my soul.
I yearn for your touch that creates mystical...magical illusions...
...And ripples in my heart for all to see !
My love grows its clipped wings.. for, I can't fly to you...
And how I wish you were here..."

------------- SUVARNIKA SHARMA


I think ‘my love grows its clipped wings for I can’t fly to you’ is a great line!

This week's contest was judged by Atul Pandey
(publisher of Mega Modelz magazine) & Vlada ( the beautiful Russian model in the pic)

This pic was edited by Paul for pravin talan photography....

Atul Pandey- the editor of Mega Modelz magazine said-" it was really difficult to choose the winner as there were fabulous entries from many people, but I loved Suvarnika's poem more as it went completely on the picture...! Congrats! "

Other top three captions

Dimple Toor at 12:59am May 27

"Testing the whimsical waters of midnight blue, creating ripples of hope"

Trisha Saha at 11:03pm June 1

"Ethereal Serenity...."

Rajesh Buhecha at 12:21pm May 31

Color of the “Delicate Touch"


This contest is open to all on pravin talan photography page on Facebook, you can participate simply by joining that page. Enjoy...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

'A beautiful mind contest' every week...


 

Winner of the first in the series of 'A Beautiful Mind ' contest by pravin talan photography on Facebook

winning caption for this week

WALLED WITHIN- Baber Baloch

Every week a new pic for the contest- if you have 

'a beautiful mind', then share it with the world !

winner will get '8x12' metallic print of this exclusive pic and all top five captions would also be published in the latest issue of Mega Modelz magazine.

The amazing model in this pic is spanish actress Raquel Sanchez


The other top contenders for this pic were-

Krupa Rajguru

Autumn in her heart and winter in her soul,

She searched for her sanity which slyly he stole;

She found it in his clutches, prisoner for life,

All she can do now is get slaughtered under his love barren knife..

Shweta Kulkarni 


Wings have been slashed

But not hopes

Though trapped n tarnished

Know I’ll break free...

Kapil Kant Kaul

The veil of stone 

Sweta Ramdewar 

Hardened Desires...


Another caption which I felt was one of the best was by Darshika Saxena - "Catharsis" which for some reason was removed by her from the page.

This contest was judged by noted film maker Sangeeth Sivan & me, based on what I had in mind when I shot this pic and what Mr. Sivan felt about the captions in relation to the mood of the pic itself. It was a great experience and I hope we are going to live it every week.

 What Mr. Sivan had to say was...

"sometimes words far outweigh the weight of the picture as visualised by the artist...it was really tough to pick up the five best as each caption is stronger than the other"

The winner would have the print delivered to them in next ten days.