The Artistic Photographer

It’s been a long time since we bought forward some super talented artists. There is no better way to kick-start our blog and our life-long love of meeting and collaborating with wonderful artists than with this month’s featured artist. She was a finalist in the National Geographic Covershot 4 and wowed us with her talent and fun-personality.
We loved working with her, discovering the mind behind all that great work. We hope you enjoy it just as much as we did.

Prachi Shukla, our first featured artist of TWENTY SEVENTEEN!

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Where is home?
To me, Home is where I am, what I am. I truly believe a place where you can be what you are is home because here you can let your creative juices flow and create wonders. So, wherever I am I seek a home in that place. Philosophy apart, currently my hometown is Bhopal, M.P. Although I have spent my childhood in Mandsaur where my mom and dad were posted for around 18+years. Then I moved to Pune for graduation and now here I am, in the city I love the most, in the city that has refined me the way you see me today-BANGALORE.

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What sort of work do you specialize in?
Fashion, fine art and conceptual photography is my forte and I am exploring these genres to achieve my own style and create a niche. I believe as an artist, photography is a medium. I love doing what comes to me, I am in love with the art and the freedom it gives me to bring my vision into reality. And, as photographers we keep working and exploring different techniques, different genres and keep creating wonderful images.

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Did you go to school to study photography?
I am an engineer graduate and a highly aspiring photographer filled with all the energy and enthusiasm to break all the barriers and achieve what I desire. Engineer turned photographer. With growing affordability of cameras and resources available so easily on the internet it’s very easy to term yourself as a photographer. But to rise beyond a level in terms of any art you need the right guidance, right knowledge and of course DEDICATION. As I was about to finish my engineering I had very clearly decided to take a full-time course in photography to better understand the art, widen my vision and refine myself professionally. I can’t thank my parents, family and friends  enough for all the support and positivity they showed me while taking this decision.
I then joined NICC, Bangalore for a yearlong Post Graduate in Professional Photography. The course helped me in a lot of ways but the company of one person throughout is what I cannot deny to mention. Shikhar, a friend, a companion, a visionary and a great photographer. We silently absorbed all the teachings we were giving each other. It was a silent connect that refined both of us in a way.

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How would you describe your style?
I believe a good image is one which generates an emotion in the viewer’s mind. I work on this very basic thing whenever I pick my camera. As you see in my work I experiment a lot in terms of the craft. I show a lot of variations in my whole body of work, you will see a very minimalist photograph to a dramatic frame to a very conceptualized one and so on. I do a lot of self-motivated concept shoots with an aim to add value in my work. I experiment and do varied kind of stuff so as to create a niche and open doors for almost all kind of works available in terms of photography with great artistic value. Here, I would like to give a very universal suggestion to all my aspiring photographer readers- see an image in your mind, check if everything is in place and then pick your camera to press the shutter. Give some space to your mind to think. Photography is like a painting, it’s an art of painting with light.
Let’s bring your vision into reality.

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What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I am a pure Canon shooter. I use Canon 5D Mark III. Remember. Camera doesn't matter, your eyes does.

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
One of the most memorable and spectacular assignment was to shoot KUMBH MELA, Ujjain 2016. Oh my god! I cannot explain the vibe and the energy I felt as I stepped into that plethora of spirituality, beliefs, power and what not. I was planning to shoot Kumbh Mela from a very long time but due to some reasons it was not falling in place. At last, after a lot of hassle, I got everything in place and headed to the last Shahi Snan of Ujjain Kumbh 2016 in May. As I remember it was 12:15 am, I was the only girl photographer standing amongst Naga sadhus waiting for them to start the rituals. I had mixed emotions at that moment but I then tried to reach a point of thoughtlessness and gave all my focus to the most awaited moment I had ever imagined. Apart from photography point of view this assignment gave so much clarity to life, beliefs and faith we all have. It’s a wonderful memory I took home with lots of amazing pictures.

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Where would be your dream destination assignment?
Ah! It’s such a tough question. This world is so beautiful with beautiful souls, people and faces all around. I am not kidding when I say I have a big list of places I want to travel and shoot. I would love to travel to Greece right away and do some crazy shoot in the middle of all whites and blues and Japan too, exploring places, people and culture.

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What is your favorite image you have shot recently? Can you describe its creation in regards to location, lighting, composition etc., also your thoughts when creating the image and what it means to you?
From my recent shoots I love one coming from a concept titled MAN LE GAYO, this concept is my perception of Shakuntala in the middle of the forest waiting and looking for her heart. So I am yet to come up with the series but I will share this really beautiful picture with you all. I was visualizing it was in a deep dark forest and she is wandering in a white sari, a little trouble in her mind, as her eyes constantly look for the part she is missing. It was shot under natural light at around 4 pm in the evening. Also, there is one more image I would love to mention about, it’s a shoot for an international artist. A performance for nature as it was titled. When we were sitting and deciding on the concept for his artist portfolio we wanted to represent him in his portfolio and bring out his emotion towards art. We came up with this concept where he is performing for nature. All his life he’s been performing for people but today he wanted to do a show for nature, for mother earth, sky and so on. This shot with a mask, flying up in the air with a red cloth depicts every artist and his dreams to fly high.

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A photographer who inspires you?
There are a lot of photographers coming from different periods who have done phenomenal and groundbreaking works in those times. Photographers like Richard Avedon, Edward Steichen, and Prabuddha Dasgupta in fashion keeps me up for creating more and more each day. And Raghu Rai is a gem to meet and a clear inspiration in himself.

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A website and/or blog you visit often?
fstoppers, photocontestinsider, natgeo yourshot

Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?
ShahRukh Khan, any guesses why? He is my childhood crush and I have literally dreamt of photographing him one day.

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What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Don’t run after becoming a photographer, be an artist first then photographer. Work on your vision, explore yourself and know yourself. Technicalities are things which is a simple math you can learn in a month but work on roots in terms of art and you will create wonders.

If you could be invisible for one day with your camera…
Can I modify this question a bit? Invisible with my camera with a magical power. Ha-ha I would then keep hopping to all the places I have in my list, get access to all the and peacefully make images!

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Don’t forget to check out more of Prachi’s work on :
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/prachishuklaaalekhya/?ref=br_rs

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