By Neehar Mishra
Photography: Courtesy Vickram Singh Bawa
India’s ace fashion photographer Vickram Bawa talks to IAnD about his journey in the world of art and what it takes to be a successful fashion photographer.
Building a successful business out of one’s passion is no mean feat, and Vickram Bawa’s journey to becoming one of India’s most well-known fashion photographers is every bit inspiring: not only has he braved to steer clear of the conventional to pursue his passion, but has also established himself as a brand to reckon with in the world of fashion and photography.
From directing music videos and short films to writing, Vickram has successfully dabbled in a wide range of fields, but it is his trademark experimental style of photography, through which he continues to push the boundaries of the art that has earned him a spot among India’s most influential photographers. He was the first person to undertake 3D photography in India, creating 3D covers for reputed publications, before it became mainstream.
His works, be it in the field of photography, films or animation, have been showcased world over, winning him various awards and accolades like the Masters Cup, Prix de la Photographie Paris, and the absolutely recent Asian Photography Most Influential Photographer Award 2016!
In an exclusive chat with IAnD, Vickram talks about the struggles and rewards of pursuing fashion photography as a career.
What prompted you to pursue a career in fashion photography?
It was a journey I believe that brought me here. I grew up looking at beautiful photographs of my mom and dad dressed up and posing all the time. When I was young I saw my mom creating fashion garments for her boutique and exports. I guess all that filtered through my senses and even though I went on to study and work on subjects highly removed from photography, these visuals from my childhood stayed with me and steered my course towards fashion photography.
After such a rich and varied exposure in terms of "on-field" work, what is that one thing you wish you could have learnt as a student, which should have been part of your syllabus?
Hands-on training can never be substituted for the focused and planned training that is imparted to students during a fixed time. For example, what students have an opportunity to study in four years may have taken me 10 years. I wish I had someone teaching me the intrinsic nature of design sensibilities needed in photography. This took a while for me to learn.
Two do’s and don’ts that you could share with a student aspiring to pursue fashion photography ...
Don’t hesitate to experiment and push the boundaries. And do not ever copy!
What in your opinion is the better path—freelancing or employment?
Well, both have their advantages and pitfalls. Freelancing affords you the opportunity to pick and choose your job and pricing, to work at your own pace and for your own creative satisfaction. Employment brings a sense of security and better financial planning once you are settled in a job, though it may not provide you with the same amount of freedom and creativity. I always advise newcomers to have a steady job, while continuing to plan and save up enough money to branch out on their own later, if possible.