Ctrl+Alt+Del – Scenes that didn’t ‘make’ it!

A lot of effort goes into a shoot and when it doesn’t get approved there is a sense of lost hope at that point in time. Just when a situation seems to be a lost cause, a ray of hope emerges out of nowhere.

Likewise, there are moments when the best shots captured are termed “not so good enough” and then I begin to ponder again and get the shots redone. This rollercoaster ride is a part of the job getting done and is inevitable.

In one of my assignments, I got a renowned model for a campaign for a renowned Art Director from Paris. I willingly did the shoot and the entire shoot seemed to have gone well. We wrapped up and headed back to our respective destinations. The Art Director later realizes that the model looked too “sophisticated” for the brand.

He then gets a brilliant idea to go through all the shots captured. It happened to be one of the test shots captured by my assistant that made it to the billboard in France! What an imperfect, yet perfect scenario!

Difference in mood with lighting and right framing

When shooting for hotel groups, which have of different categories under its umbrella, it becomes important to illustrate each category uniquely to establish the distinction . This can be created with difference in mood with lighting and the right approach in framing. adding element in the frame that the hotel doesn’t offer to the guests is totally a no-no. Right perspective and avoiding distortion in a must. The lens, angle and the level at which the camera is placed becomes elementary considerations at such shoots.

A day in the life of Ritam Banerjee

During the tenure of being a photographer for over a decade and a half now, I have had the fortune of meeting and interacting and experiencing different people, places and beyond, across continents.

It is this wonderful journey that has taught me to appreciate, enjoy and absorb the simple pleasures of life. My life is simple. It revolves around simple ideas and philosophies.

When I am not working I love to read, see, write, travel, listen, imbibe, blissfully take within all that life has to offer, through fiction and facts.

As a creator of art discovering the nuances in other forms of art, both visual and performing adds to the sensibilities. I seek inspiration in those who have stories that define impossible is nothing. I seek love and beauty in everything.

For me, to find a purpose for doing anything makes the doing meaningful, and the feeling matters even more.

Metamorphosis

Change is only constant and the tonic to progress. When I started photography, I learned on a film camera as I was getting used to mastering the craft. No sooner did the camera turn digital that the mobile phones became ‘cameras’.

How foolish of me it would have been to resist change! Would it not? IIIT Allahabad had invited me for a TEDx talk on the subject of change https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo8kSKDmu7M, and it was then that I got the opportunity to share how Photography evolved from being my be all and end all of life evolved and metamorphosized into becoming another language of communication for me, to beautifully share stories and idea through my eyes sans words.

It is photography which finally made me appreciate that silence is not just golden but can sometimes say much more than words can ever do.

Challenging yet Charming

Brad Pitt was to be photographed in broad daylight and no one was supposed to know that he would be coming to get photographed. And to top it all, he was coming to Mumbai and Mumbai had to appear in the picture with him without the knowledge of the anyone, most importantly not the media. In today’s time and age when everyone has a camera on their mobile phone, it did seem like a little challenge. But, what is life without such exciting challenges!

A day prior the Netflix team and I met at the Oberoi Hotel and went about scouting locations, only to realize that at 3 in the afternoon in the scorching Mumbai heat it would be next to impossible to take Brad out of the hotel premises for a shoot. But, we had to show Mumbai in the frame. We decided to create a platform at the end of the swimming pool area for him to stand on with the Marine Drive as the backdrop.

At 3 in the afternoon the following day, Brad arrived sharp on time all the way from Japan and I made him board the stage, with diffusers cutting the burning sun from the top and flashlight balancing the bright light to get the right exposure, we shot for hardly ten minutes or so and whisked him out of sight even before anyone could get a smell of him.  For those involved, this shoot was no less than a small war of sorts. Ironically, the shoot was for the promotion of his film called ‘The War Machine’.

 

From ‘following’ to being ‘followed’   

I have been extremely blessed to have not only one but several mentors who have been kind enough to selflessly extend their guidance and support whenever I have had the fortune of interacting with them. One such legend has been none other than the dance maestro, Astad Deboo, with whom I have had the blessings of not only photographing but even collaborating on several projects across the globe.

He is 70 plus today and I saw him perform on stage for the first time when I was only about 5. It was way beyond me to even think of dreaming to work with him, but as luck would have it, not only did I get to work with him once, but got the opportunity several times over. It was during this time that I discovered the secret to his indomitable spirit to consistently create magic through his dance in over 70 odd countries over and over again. And the secret to this lies in his honestly towards his craft, his unmovable determination and focus and most importantly his rock-solid discipline without which no matter how much talent God would have been kind enough to gift you, it is impossible to keep oneself motivated to keep on aiming for higher and higher levels of excellence for over half a century.

Indeed, there isn’t any substitute to honestly and discipline, if one wishes to live his or her dreams forever.

Thank you Astad Sir.

Lights, Camera, Fog

While the beauty of the Taj Mahal is an epitome of love, the majestic structure and one of the wonders of the world, calls for a treat to the eyes. While they say – Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, all eyes fathom the beauty of the Taj Mahal irrespective of the beholder. With natural lighting at its dimmest point and fog masking the picturesque Taj Mahal; the camera lies steadily all equipped to capture “beauty”!

This picture dates back to 19th October 2008, exactly 10 years ago since this date. I was on an assignment to cover the visit of the crowned Princess Victoria of Sweden to India. She was scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal at 9 am in the morning, the same day.

I was awake by dawn, on the foggy morning. I thought it would be a good idea to shoot the Taj Mahal in all its glory from across the Yamuna river, before heading out to photograph the Princess.

To my amazement, there it was! The rising sun softly kissing the monument through a misty October morning with a murmuration of birds taking flight over the river Yamuna made the moment mystically beautiful for me to not miss catching it in my little black box.

Sometimes all we need is a little push from our own selves to experience the wonders of the world. The picture says it all!

Even Minimal Settings Can Make Maximum Impact

Corporate Photography

It is simple to be difficult and difficult to be simple. when the canvas is a large set, you are tempted to clutter the frame. in such a scenario, one needs to be focused on the purpose of shoot. And purpose in this case is to showcase the product and not the setting. Even minimal setting can make maximum impact

 

 

Patience and observation becomes the key

with metals, metals everywhere, reflections, can put even a seasoned photographer in despair. sometimes, it is these challenges that pump the profession to push the envelope. Patience and observation becomes the key and that’s what distinguishes the ordinary from the extraordinary

The rejects get accepted

Sometimes the best is not good enough and to ones surprise, rejects get accepted. Got a renowned model for a campaign for a renowned Art Director from Paris. Did the shoot. The art director went back to Paris and realized that the model looked too sophisticated for the idea. Then he got an idea. He took a picture from the test shots of one of my assistant and put it up on the billboard in France. How’s that!