[YS Lounge] The ‘untitled’ story of a photographer
It was just another browsing session that night until I noticed this video on my facebook wall. Though Kishor Krishnamoorthi was a name unheard to me till then, his recent work ‘Project Untitled’ is striking all the right chords to make sure that everyone recognizes this name next time they hear it. At mere 23 years of age, Kishor has over a decade of photography experience with him. Professionally he is a travel, fashion and wedding photographer whereas personally inclined more towards photojournalism. Beyond photography, Kishor is an entrepreneur at heart who has made his hobby turned passion, his profession now. Being a Politics & Economics student, it wasn’t an easy call to take but he took the leap of faith and that has truly defined him to what he is today. Below are the edited excerpts of my conversation with Kishor Krishnamoorthi, a photographer par excellence:
Q: What is the story behind Project Untitled ?
A: The concept for Project Untitled came up during a casual chat between Abhijeet Shah(my friend) and me. We toyed around with the idea initially as we really liked the concept of bringing the beautiful Chola Bronze statues to life through photography. After some more reading and research, we were hooked on the idea and thought we could actually pull it off. At this stage, we roped in our fashion designer, Shilpa Singh, to get her inputs and expertise on the wardrobe and styling. However, we didn’t actually shoot at the project at this stage since 3 of us lived in 3 different countries (Abhijeet in Germany, Shilpa in India and myself in England) and logistically, it proved impossible to get things together.
Q: So, how did it eventually happen?
A: Fast forward to three years later. I had moved back to India and was keen to doing the project since now at least two of us lived in the same city! (Shilpa and I). Abhijeet gave us his inputs through emails and Skype meetings and after we were very excited to see our 3 year old dream finally come to fruition!
Shilpa created the wardrobe from scratch while I put together a team of people who were equally excited to work on this project. After a lot of hard work and planning, we went to our chosen location, Gandikota, for one weekend and pulled off the photoshoot!
Q: Why the name ‘Untitled Project’?
A: During whole of the three years we kept on referring this project as ‘untitled’ and eventually when it kicked off, we could totally relate it to the name ‘Untitled Project’. Also, title is just a guidance whereas the photos are real essence!
Q: Partly fashion, partly heritage, how would you define this project and its impact?
A: Our initial concept itself was to recreate the heritage and beauty of Chola Bronze statues quite accurately. However. as we did more research and discussions, our concept moved into a modern interpretation of a traditional theme which I was very pleased about. Giving a contemporary touch to an ancient art and then shooting them in a traditional temple was definitely something that our friends and fans found very interesting and thought provoking.
I can say that the project definitely brought Gandikota to the limelight and also to the fact how we can artfully combine modern and traditional themes.
Q: What drives you and what has been the most important part of your journey?
A: My endeavor to become a better person than yesterday keeps me going everyday.
Having the constant support of my parents and friends when I decided to leave my job in London and move back to Hyderabad to follow my heart and become a photographer, was the most important part of my journey.
Q: From hobby to a profession, how smooth was the transition?
A: As a hobby one can chose to ignore certain things whereas a profession doesn’t let you do that. Initially, the inertia might be against taking up a task but later on it turns to be a great experience. I can totally vouch for the fact that in a profession one has to come up as more of a businessman than a hobbyist. If I’m putting 6 hrs in photography then at least 4 hrs goes in bookkeeping, customer interaction and other tasks behind the scenes.
Q: How different/similar is a photography startup as compared to any other startup?
A: Similarities: All business and legal aspects like pricing, tax management, logistics.
Differences: Once you get into clicking you forget everything, keeping your business behind you zone out completely.
In the end, Kishor suggests all budding entrepreneurs in photography to first work for other photographers before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. Check his blog or visit the facebook page of the same for more info.