When I speak to Morvi Kumari, she has just got back home to Delhi from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government had invited a select group of wedding planners and photographers to promote the country as a choice for destination weddings. What follows is a lovely conversation about photography, travel, life, and love. Founder of Morvi Images, Morvi can best be described as an artpreneur — her passion for photography led her to her business, and doing good work remains her first priority; making money just an offshoot.
Won’t converting a hobby into work lead to disenchantment? I quiz her. Says Morvi, “Many ask me the same, and I do not feel so. Each client and each wedding is different, so the experience of the shoot is never repetitive. Besides, I am learning something new every day, experimenting with cameras and lenses. During off-season, I also take up other types of projects, say interiors or a bakery shoot, so I have not felt a sense of tedium till date.”
Having covered more than 140 weddings, 32-year-old Morvi has a team of eight people who have been assisting her on shoots for the past four years. “My team knows my style so well that I don’t even have to instruct them. If I am using a 60mm lens, they know they have to take a wide angle shot. So we work beautifully now.” She has covered weddings across India — including Amritsar, Kollam, Mumbai, Goa, and of course Delhi — and has also journeyed to international locations like Detroit and Rayon (Thailand) in the course of her work. The cost for a wedding depends on the number of functions, the location, and other variables, and usually starts from a range of Rs 3.5 lakh.
Growing up in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, Morvi used to find sitting in a classroom and studying very tedious. She had a natural flair for dancing, painting, fashion, sports, and of course, photography. “I came up with every excuse under the sun to skip going to school, or just not have to read any books,” laughs Morvi.
Her father is a self-made businessman who started from scratch and worked hard to establish his chain of hotels and sweet shops. Morvi credits her father for nurturing her independent streak while also instilling in her the right values and ethics. Her parents neither forced her into the engineering stream as often happens in India, nor did they push her into getting married.
After completing her schooling, she pursued a BA degree at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), after which she worked for two years as costume designer for a few films in Mumbai. She then pursued a postgraduate degree in communication design from the Winchester School of Art in the UK. It was during this course that she could master the technical side of photography and zero in on her choice of career.
After completing her course, when Morvi had returned to Delhi and was undecided about what she would do, she attended a cousin’s wedding. She photographed the entire event in black and white, as she wanted to see how something as colourful as a wedding looked in monochrome. Surprisingly enough, the result was gorgeous. That night, she uploaded a folder consisting of select images on Facebook. When she woke up the next morning, her inbox held quite a few enquiries about whether she offered wedding photography services. Her initial work was restricted to friends and acquaintances, but a few weddings later, as more and more enquiries kept flooding in, she launched Morvi Images.
“I remember flipping through my parents’ wedding album a few years ago. I went through a roller coaster of emotions as I saw each picture. They were timeless! It was that day that I decided I wanted to give the same feeling to all the brides that I work with. I feel that wedding pictures should be able to take the couple back in time irrespective of the number of years that have passed. It’s like a family heirloom, memories that can be kept alive across generations.”
Apart from the emotional high of a wedding, Morvi is a people’s person and loves to meet new people during her shoots. “I love to see people in love and am honoured to be chosen to document some of the most special moments in a person’s life,” she explains. “I would also like to tell people to marry for the right reasons. I have seen people marrying for all the wrong reasons and it is quite painful, even for an observer.”
Quality wedding photography doesn’t have to be exorbitant. According to Morvi, there are a lot of talented players in the market now, and if a bride is smart, she can choose a talented fresher to suit her budget and it would also help the photographer by giving him or her a chance. The proliferation of smartphones with cameras and filters is not any competition for the professionals. “A photograph also shows a bit of the person BEHIND the camera, and as a professional I have to let a part of myself seep into the frame.”
Her advice to newcomers in this space would be, “There are a lot of players now, so don’t follow the trend, but work towards developing your own style. It is also important to invest in good equipment.”
She met her husband during the first year of college and is blessed that the love of her life is also her best friend. I am curious about the significance of her tattoos. She explains, “The tattoo on my arm means ‘take more pictures, make more art, be more free’. My husband Rakul and I have a tradition of getting tattoos every year on his birthday. We find something meaningful individually or together and get it documented on our bodies.”
Morvi feels for an artist, inspiration is everywhere, in all the little moments that make up a life. She feels she is especially lucky to have deep meaningful relationships with her parents, siblings, and husband, and she channelises the positivity she gets from them into her work. “From nature, to travel, to people, the list is never-ending. Inspiration is all around us. Inspiration is in knowing that I am alive, and I have another day to do what I love to do.”
Morvi plans to break into the international market and hopes to take up more projects in Europe and other Asian countries in the next few years. She is planning an exhibition of her work in Delhi soon.