by Zaiceka Ahmed
Kolkata is changing, and so are its people. No longer is fashion the forte of just the cool kids from the capital, or flamboyance the staple of the home of Bollywood stars. The cultural capital is seeing a drastic upward movement in lifestyle and people are ever so enthusiastic to capture every single phase of it.
While some of us try to achieve this with an expensive DSLR camera and our inexperienced hand, others rely on the best to do it for them.
One such name in the recent years that prominent fashion brands have repeatedly sought to best depict this upward curve (highlighting their contribution to it) is Arpit Rungta. A Kolkata based photographer who started his career with wildlife photography (he has worked with team members of National Geographic and Discovery channel), has a roster with popular names like Klitchè, CHANGE (present in Quest mall), Sony India, and, has work experience with award winning stylist, Anushka Laha.
And remember the Papa CJ event which became the most talked about live performance in the city? Arpit’s skills were deployed to cover the entire show.
Amid a week packed with shoots for several lifestyle websites, this rising name in ‘People Photography’ took out a while to give us an insight into what it’s like to be in his shoes.
You have been a professional photographer since 2012… what were the projects you started your journey with like?
“Initially, I did many freelance work before collaborating with bigger names. Covering small events, doing product photography for fashion websites, creating portfolios. There are so many people who love to be photographed; one can’t run out of those assignments!”
How much time does it take to prepare for a shoot?
“Prep time depends on what type of shoot is being done. If it’s a portfolio then clothing, makeup, style, etc are decided before hand. So, regular studio shoot doesn’t require much preparation.
Event photography takes a bit of time as you need to inspect the venue to know best lighting conditions and angles for perfect photographs.
For product photography, main requirement is the exact colour and detailing of the product. Keeping that in mind, the shoot is done.”
So of the three, which category do you enjoy most?
“People photography. You can experiment and use different techniques to create different images every time. The same cannot be done for an event or product.”
What is the one thing you dread going wrong during a shoot?
“If it’s a studio shoot, then I don’t want the studio lights to stop working as it did once.
If it’s outdoor, then I don’t want the lighting conditions to be bad, and don’t want it to rain either – it ruins the shoot.”
Which has been the most enjoyable project for you till now?
“The shoot with the eye candies. Sonika Chauhan (anchor for pro kabaddi and many other shows) modelled for it; Prasenjit Biswas was the makeup artist. It was one of the biggest projects I have worked on so far, and it pushed my abilities to another level. The website for the eye candies will be launched soon.”
Do you remember your first commercial assignment? What was it like?
“My first commercial assignment was an event which was the 50th anniversary of a couple and I had to take candid shots and shoot the video of a small dance function. It was my first try in event photography and I was very nervous as I had not done any event coverage before.”
(Papa CJ show covered by Arpit Rungta)
Tell us something about a photographer’s relation with his camera.
“It’s difficult to describe a feeling in words, but I‘ll try. A camera is incomplete without a photographer and vice versa. It is the strongest asset a photographer can have, and photographers tend to be possessive about their cameras, or rather weapons (because we shoot people!) My first camera was a Yashica film camera.”
“A camera is incomplete without a photographer and vice versa. It is the strongest asset a photographer can have.”
Which camera do you use now?
“I currently use a Nikon D750 along with D5100 as a backup. Love the D750. It’s a beast!”
The subjects you shoot are often not professional models… what do you do to make them comfortable before the lens?
“Talk to them, play music of their choice, show them poses they can try from magazines. Generally the first 30 minutes is the most difficult part of the shoot for the subjects as they get acquainted with the lighting, camera and my way of working.”
You had started off as a wildlife photographer… what made you change your field of interest?
“Strangely, it wasn’t a win that encouraged me to switch styles. I participated in an online fashion photography competition where the prize money was £1000. It was organised by a magazine. I lost that competition by a slight margin which made me venture into this category full on.”
Who are some of your favourite photographers?
“There are many! Dabboo Ratnani, Atul Kasbekar, Praveen Phatt, Vick Doultani, Taras Taraporvala, Jason Harynuk, Steven Wolles, Fedor Shmidt, Kaustub Kamble, Ishaan Suri.”
Everybody is a potential photographer these days, thanks to the mobile camera. What are the basic rules to follow to click a decent selfie?
“A decent selfie… Hmm… Face opposite the light source, keep the phone slightly above the head in height and stretch out the face a bit so that it reduces double chin/face fat.”
What are the things you do to stay at the top of your game?
“Attending workshops is one of the things. Lately I participated in two workshops with Dabboo Ratnani sir, and one with Tamron India.”
(Photoshoot for Klitchè)
If you weren’t a photographer, which profession would we find you in?
“I think I would probably be a chef!”
What keeps you going in your profession?
“It’s a different experience every time a I shoot, even if the model is same. That keeps the coal burning.”