Atul Kasbekar on photography, Sri Lanka and Jetwing

Tuesday, 6 December 2011 01:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Q: Research on you says that you were studying to be a chemical engineer. Why the change to photography?

A: The answer’s quite simple – no chicks! The ones who were there were brighter than me anyway, so I dropped out to pursue photography. Been in the industry for two decades now and loving every minute of it!

Q: Being India’s best known photographer, what inspires you when on a shoot?

A: What is inside me, all my experiences, my emotions and my feelings all come out in that click of the button, as they do with any photographer. That makes each one’s style of photography unique, and it’s important to remember that our art is for the mart. Commercial photography is all about being you, within the parameters of the brand’s requirements.


Q: What advice would you give for amateur photographers?

A: There has been no better time. For amateur photographers, people looking to get into it or even professionals since the onset of digital photography. Back in the day, the costs were prohibitively expensive, with a lot of thought needing to go into a single shot due to the use of film rolls. Post production was even worse!

With computers, it is much easier, definitely more efficient and a different level of creativity is possible. The moment a shoot ends, the images can quickly be processed, retouched and sent off with minimal fuss. As for advice, if you have an eye for photography, it doesn’t matter that every other person is in it, as talent always, always shows.


Q: The current image of a photographer is someone who covers functions, events and so on. What are your thoughts on this image?

A: In India that was definitely the image of a photographer about 20 years ago! Covering weddings, functions, line people up and then click was the standard. That was the impression that people had of a photographer, even in my case my girlfriend’s (who is my wife now) parents were quite apprehensive! But now, photography is becoming recognised as a valuable art form and a viable profession and is ever evolving in its reach and potential. Take wedding photography, now that we were on the subject. As I said earlier, it used to be people in one line, click, and done. Now, entire books are being done for weddings, using unique shots, which are candid, natural and actually bring to life the memories years later. That is what this is all about!


Q: You travel a lot for shoots, in fact being in charge of the Kingfisher Calendar for the 10th year now. Is this your first time to Sri Lanka?

A: Oh no, this is actually my fifth or sixth time here!


Q: That’s interesting!   And what do you feel are the best aspects of Sri Lanka?

A: Definitely the people. They are just so friendly, and are full of goodness and honesty, you don’t find that everywhere. The food is amazing as well, and I also am a huge fan of Geoffrey Bawa and his work, absolutely loved staying at Jetwing Lighthouse because of that.


Q: Jetwing was a partner on the Kingfisher Calendar 2012 shoot. What thoughts do you have on the properties you stayed in?

A: Very nice! The food is consistently amazing, which is very rare. The buffets were a killer, I’ve definitely put on weight and had to monitor that the girls don’t pig out. We stayed at Jetwing Lighthouse, Jetwing Beach, and Jetwing Sea, but shot all over including Jetwing Era Beach and Jetwing Sea. The Spa at Jetwing Sea is quite warm and inviting, and the rooms, especially at Jetwing Lighthouse are great.


Q: Any memories that stand out during your stay?

A: Well the whole shoot is bit of a blur, what with trying to finish off for the day! Jetwing Era Beach was definitely one to remember; it suddenly started raining and didn’t let up for the day. We were holed up inside, and ended up with our makeup artist – Kapil Bhalla and the amazing chef there, Chef Kumara making biriyani for all. Great memory.