Bollywood Couch In Coversation with Ace Photographer Dabboo Ratnani
Ace Fashion Photographer of India -Dabboo Ratnani shares about his journey, learning, calendar and North East Talent.
- We all know you as an Icon, inspiration to thousands, but you too had your share of struggle …what’s your turning point in life ?
I was an assistant during those days when Aatish happened. I was assisting my boss Sumeet Chopra and was still learning. My friend Sanjay Gupta was doing the film and entire cast and crew were travelling to Mauritius for a 40 days schedule. I told Sanjay that I too would come to Mauritius and for free. Those days extra expenses were matter of big concern for producers. Sanjay convinced his producers that Dabboowould be an asset for the film campaign & they had to only bear the cost of film & processing.
I went and shot Sanjay Dutt and the other Stars like they had never been seen before, That was my first break… and rest is history…
To be honest, my work was appreciated by one & all so the struggle was not as much as I was prepared for. I think the way I shot the Stars was different from the way that they had been shot before. I created a signature style & one job led to another. I’m grateful to God for making my journey beautiful in this industry.
- With smart phone, everyone turned to be a photographer. Do you perceive it as positive sign? Or you see any ill effect on it?
I consider it rather a positive sign. Photography is an art and its good that more and more people are taking interest into it.
So there is nothing wrong in it.
Photography is and will always remain as profession and every professional photographer will get their share of work.
Its true that every one started considering themselves as photographer with a smart mobile in hand, but there will be a difference between a regular photographer and a professional one: be it fashion photography, or any other shoot.
Mobile photography can never replace professional photography.
- Do you think method study/training is required to be a good photographer?
Yeah it’s good to get started with theories in Institute where one can learn all basic guidelines, specially the technical know-how.
I feel post institute its good to assist someone to learn the real facts, to know the business, to understand client- and its requirement, it gives you the practical exposure and helps you to grow further.
Although I myself didn’t go to any Institute, I assisted for 4 years before working independently. In early 90s there were hardly any Institute in India,when only handful of people wanted to be photographer.
Photography has evolved as profession and people started respecting this profession unlike earlier days when it was not perceived as source to earn bread and butter.
However, now there are many good Institutes in India.
- What’s matter the most- your thoughts behind the click or the face ? Combination of both.
Even if it’s a great face, but as photographer you will have to give him the direction to your theme or thought process!
And the face must convert your vision.
- So both go hand in hand and with combination of both a photograph come alive.With Social Media, everything becomes ‘viral’ instantly, do you think it’s killing the exclusivity?
World is progressing so as we.
And that’s the way things have been evolved. You will have to be the part of change. There is no point cribbing about it and Social Media cannot kill an art.
Contra-posed to it, its giving more scope, more views, followers to a photographer. Earlier an image published in magazine was restricted only to its buyers, but with Social Media its going viral. A photograph can instantly reach up-to lacs these days.So Social media is a positive change when it comes to photography.
- Technologically advanced camera is enough to be a photographer? What are the pre-requisite?
Technology keeps on changing, so as all accessories, be it lenses, lights, modifier etc. Even graphic softwares is something that a photographer needs to aware about.
One has to be constantly updating oneself at par with latest trends.
Other than owning the equipment, the photographer needs to have the knowledge to use it too.
- The scenario is changing, with kids parents are also accepting Photography as career choice. What would be your piece of advise for the upcoming generation?
Photography is a great profession to be in. As long as you have fire in you to produce better work, you can do wonders.
You need to be creatively inclined to try out new things. It should be a continuous process, you can’t get away by doing one great shoot.
To be a good Photographer, you will have to out perform everytime, must carry your fire with every frame.
It’s important to keep on evolving to sustain: keep on reinventing oneself!
Similarly one must be updated on every front, you must know what is trending globally and locally- latest technology for each equipment, current style and fashion.
- Your calendars are known for being the exclusive one? Do you have any plan to make it available for your fans in future?
My Calendars are completely non-commercial piece of Art, so not sold anywhere.
I print limited copies for my clients, friends, well-wishers.
I will not commercialize it ever.
Once I do so, it will loose its value. It will rather kill the true essence of it.
- We all know that Quality comes with a price tag, but how about the aspiring one? Is there any way they can afford you?
I personally believe in Quality over quantity. When I do it, I do it with my 100% into it.
I chargea certain priceas a professional,but I put my labour, my time, my energy behind it and hence I deserve it.
At the same time when I do it, I do it with my best team: make –up artist, hair stylist, costume, stylist etc and they all come with a price tag.
I will rather choose to remain selective and do less quality work.
- North East is a diversed land with different tribes and beauties, North Eastern carry different features and look. Do you consider it as challenge or advantage?
It’s indeed an advantage. North Eastern are blessed to have exotic look.
When I was judging “India’s Next Top Model”- Season I, there was a girl from North east who made it to Top 3, credit may be given to her unique look and features.
It of course works in your favor.