Of late, we had been interviewing a photographer every month whose work pushes the boundaries of our profession to create images that are emotional, edgy, original, and most of all capture a unique moment in time. This time we bring to you - Saurabh Subham - a young photographer whose work may inspire you to stamp your own imprint and become the most innovative photographer you possibly can be.
Talking to Saurabh Subham, he says travelling with his camera is the perfect form of therapy. When not shooting, he is busy pursuing his studies, watching films, and adding more films to his massive film collection. He also collects film cameras, photo books and comics. The photography addiction began when he ventured out in college and was on way to Delhi from Darbhanga – a small sleepy town in Bihar. That laid the foundation! Today, he talks about his passion and the urge to do good quality work.
Films & TV World: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Saurabh Subham: I’m just a normal, somewhat silly guy that loves to take photos and is lucky enough to also make it a part of my career. Someone who loves taking photos and can describe the difference between aperture and shutter speed. Colorful, vibrant, fun, dynamic, and just a little humorous is what describes me better. But on the whole, I am always excited and ready to try new things! Apart from my studies and photography, I am also an active committee member of the Darbhanga International Film Festival, which we started at home to bring Darbhanga on the world map of cinema lovers.
FTV: What first drew you to photography? How did you find your calling in fashion photography?
SS: I was in my graduation 1st year when I got to know about the term commercial photography. From then on, the next thing I did is to have my tool which is my camera and start exploring. I started with the basic study of nature and object then drew towards other. I usually experiment a lot in my work. Around that same time when I began pursuing photography professionally working on the models, I was earning money for the first time in my life. Before that, I had never really had an actual “normal” job that allowed me to save and put money towards my passion in photography. This in a way you can say how the personal side of my portfolio developed.
As for finding my calling in fashion, I was always mesmerized and attracted to all the beautiful figurines of the models. When I earlier used to see them walking on the ramps on television, I always felt the urge to capture them in my camera for posterity, but could never reach. After 2 years of my hard work, patience and perseverance, I got my first break in a fashion show and for a catalogue shot. This was the start of my career towards Fashion Photography. It all happened all of a sudden and I was able to do what I always wanted to. This is the best part of the job.
FTV: What do you think are some clichés in fashion photography you steer away from yourself?
SS: I usually believe in capturing moments so that it looks natural. I also work on my concept and then try to execute it the shoot. In my work, I like to stylize seemingly “ancient” subjects with contemporary flavours. For example, a lot of my photographs are about modern influences with a “stylistic date-stamp”.
FTV: How important is it that your models share the same narrative when you are clicking them?
SS: It is quite important that my model should also share the same narrative as mine while clicking them. They should also have the same mind set and a vision about the theme to a certain extent. The struggle is always finding a happy balance between stylized and tasteful. As photographers, we only have one sense to guide a viewing experience: sight. Therefore, we are absolutely dependent on visuals to narrate the story as well as the image should also reveal something about the subject, and as well about the photographer. I love when I see a photographer’s vision reflects in the images so strongly that even their personal touch slightly glimmers through the image, and transcends being just another picture of someone.
FTV: Do you give your models purely physical instructions, or do you let them be lost in their own mood?
SS: Not exactly. It depends on models. When I work with a completely new model I share with them my concepts and what is expected out of them. However, at times, they fail not only in projecting the right mood and the balance but are also at times not able to deliver what is expected out of them. At such times, I just let them be in their own lost world and then capture their own mood to the best. This does not however happen with highly professional models as they are well aware and keen to deliver their best. With them, I just share my whole concept and idea and they easily execute.
FTV: How much of your photo shoots are instinctual versus planned?
SS: As I mentioned that I plan my concept and try to execute it in my shoot. If this doesn't work then I go for instinctual and try to figure out best possible way. I keep learning more experimenting in the field. Frankly speaking, the actual event of taking a picture is the shortest. But before that, I try understand the culture, the location, and the light. And as I keep evolving each day, you can see a noticeable difference in the images of mine in the past to recent - you will find how my models appear more comfortable, more involved in the image. The more trustworthy they find of me in creating their image, the better the image will appear to be.
FTV: These days it’s a fad amongst models to pose nude? What's the difference between beauty and vulgarity?
SS: Yes I have done it twice. As for differing between beauty and vulgarity, I’d like to say that the picture itself is art or junk always lies in the eye of the beholder. It can be defined by the subjective moral view of the individual and the generally accepted cultural confines of "customs and tradition". It’s a very thin dividing line as what may be art to one maybe vulgar to another.
FTV: Who are some of your favorite fashion photographers, and how did they influence you?
SS: Tarun Khiwal, Raghu Rai are one of my favorite fashion photographers. Their photographs contain emotion, or a story to tell combined in a mood and an atmosphere making it an interesting composition. Moreso, the photographs have a soul.
FTV: What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
SS: I want viewers to notice and take interest in my Work so that they will pause to learn more about my work and i will need the photographs to present my work in a way that is easy for those viewers to make easy sense of it.
FTV: What are some tips/advices you would give to yourself if you started photography all over again?
SS: I’ve found that when dedicating myself to one task, I can often be distracted by new projects and ideas that come my way. Over the years I’ve learned to choose a project and stick to it until the end, but I will admit that I am constantly tempted to jump ship when things get tough. However, I would suggest all: Having a direct focus is very important when pursuing any career, and especially true when it comes to photography. I suggest working in one focused path that you are passionate about. And yea, do remember - Photographers who shoot environmental portraits or wild life or fashion photography are often different than those who shoot architecture. So focus on your calling. But yes! Never Stop. Explore more and more till you get what you are actually striving for. All the best.
Some of his best works are featured herebelow: