" You need vision not a camera. It's a mind game. Keep your eyes wide open and enjoy what you see. Reality has a lot to offer. Camera will only record what your mind wishes to see."
Dear Manoj, tell me how did your passion begin ? Because it's a real one. Young, I suppose, like all the contributing artists ?...
It is absolutely my passion. It all started when I was 12 years old. I use to play with my father's camera taking pictures of friends and family. It was the most happiest moment.
I was sure ! How did you learn photography to become so good ?
I enjoyed art at school. Mainly painting, sculpture, etc. I was very keen to learn photography. So after my school, I decided to enroll in an Art College (Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Arts in Mumbai, India) and to enter in the real artistic world.
The choice of a life... And a pretty good one ! As an artist, is there a message you want to express through your work ?
I don't particularly send out a message through my work.
It's mostly a self expression of time, space and reality.
Are you an obsessive photographer ? Always your camera by your side, around your neck ?
You need vision not a camera. It's a mind game. Keep your eyes wide open and enjoy what you see. Reality has a lot to offer. Camera will only records the wishes of your mind.
Tell me about your preferred fine nude artists. Who do you admire ?
I have grown up admiring many great legends and I love all their work. Some of my favourites are Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Henry Cartier Bresson, Helmut Newton, Sebastiao Salgado, Paolo Roversi. I also enjoy the work of Andy Warhol.
The great Masters. Beyond all what they teached you, where do you find your amazing creativity ?
My source of inspiration is mostly reality and what I see around. I enjoy watching people. At airport lounges, train stations, kids in buses, families on the beach, couples at cafes. Just all of them.
Normal everyday people inspire me.
During my long trip in your work, I've seen you have a wide range of activities, from advertising campaigns to cosmetics, fashion, portraits, street life, fine nude art, etc... Is there one of them you particularly like ?
I enjoy shooting people and objects of daily life.
That's a clear answer. So you're often guided by a spontaneous inspiration ?
Planning a shoot depends on the purpose of the shoot. Commercial work has its ups and downs but personal work has more freedom. I dont like planning all the details.
|I like imperfection. I'm a very spontaneous person. I shoot with my instinct. I like it that way.|
So, you don't have a favorite location ?...
Locations are very subjective. But I enjoy it more outdoors. Out of the studio, in real places and natural surroundings. A slice of life as a real backdrop.
About your so talented models, what kinds of direction do you use when working with ?
I hate the word "posing" for a picture. I always tell my models to relax and be themselves. I am interested in their personality rather than their looks.
And do you remember an anecdot ?
I really enjoyed a recent shoot for a friend of mine. She is a crazy, sexy, cool hair stylist. I wanted to create something new for her just like her personality. I decided that we drive around town and shoot at random any interesting places. This series was shot using lomo cameras. It was such a blast and pictures turned out magical.
A great moment, I'm sure. How do you feel at the end of a shooting ?
I'm always happy and elated. It's so wonderful to make something new. Difficult to explain in words.
Let's talk about your news. What are your next project ?
I am working on many projects right now. They are related with humanity and lifestyles. People on the streets and their life at work. Other one is on on the life of thai transexuals.
I have an exhibit coming up in soon in Mumbai (India), then it will go around to other countries. I am also collaborating with an italian artist on another project.
Good news ! Keep me informed. Have you published a book ? Is there a new one to come ?
My work has been published in many magazines and books worldwide.
Right now I'm working on a couple of personal books projects and they should be done in another six months to a year. These consume lot of time and travel.
A full time job indeed. And do you have a little time for another passion ?
Oh, I have many other passions. I enjoy food so I love cooking for my friends and family when ever I get time. I love watching movies of Fellini, Kubrick, Godard, Kurusawa.
I also enjoy traveling. Specially to new and unknown places. Places of no particular significance. Being with normal people and enjoying street life.
Any message you'd like to leave our readers ?
See with your own eyes and you will see the world differently. It is important that you create your own road.
Thanks a lot Manoj ! It's a tough job to answer in a foreign language, I know that.