”Heroines might have a problem with unedited photographs, but actors usually don’t” – Rohit Sabu
If you happened to find simple yet striking images of actresses Shraddha Srinath and Aishwarya Lekshmi in your social media feed, then you must know who shot them. Photographer Rohit Sabu takes the credits of capturing these women in their most natural looks. Be it the picture that shows the smooth duskiness of Shraddha complexion or the one that captures Aishwarya’s interesting expressions – these pictures distinctly show these beautiful heroines in their non-glamorous avatars. We spoke to Rohit about his passion for photography, and the idea behind each picture.
1. To start off with, Rohit please tell me about your passion for photography, your education and how it has helped your profession.
I started off as a fine-art photographer. I have a Master of Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. I bring a lot of those sensibilities to my professional work. I also have a lot of energy and enthusiasm to learn and acquire technical knowledge. I also feel like a lot of theory that comes with learning photography as an analogue medium helps me be a better photographer. But no matter how prepared you are or how right everything looks, in the end the kind of photographs I like only happen when it “feels” right.
2. Rohit, your pictures of Shraddha Srinath have seemed to become viral with media publications even using your image. What are your thoughts on this?
I don’t really think they’ve gone viral as such. Also, virality is not something that I think about. Things go viral for all kinds of reasons and there is no good predictor of what can go viral or why. I have a deep dislike for content created simply with the intention of going viral. However, I do enjoy a lot of viral content- ridiculous things that have gained popularity for no discernible reason.
3. Your pictures have caught these glamours heroines in simple yet striking looks, What is your idea/concept behind this?
It depends on what we’re after. I have nothing against glamour and we do shoot glamorous looks ever so often. The images you’ve seen lately have just been simpler by virtue of the fact that it can be created impromptu and without much planning. It can also be done without a team– just myself and the model and sometimes maybe a make-up artist. I like such images- honesty is something I consider a lot in my work.
4. There was a particular photograph of Aishwarya Lekshmi, where she looked her natural best. Her eyes seemed puffed, and yet she conveyed a sensual look. It seemed like an unedited photograph. Don’t heroines have problems with it?
Heroines might, but actors usually don’t. The distinction is important. I feel like the industry is seeing more and more actors who care about the craft more than how “perfect” they look. Men and women alike. During every shoot there comes a moment when your subject has exhausted every idea for who they thought they were going to be during the shoot. There is only a finite amount of time where you can appear the way you want to be seen, once that time passes you’re just left with being yourself. It’s easy to create an honest, authentic portrait during those moments.
5. How are Shraddha, Pragathi and Aishwarya on a photoshoot? Fun? Cool? Or are they tough to work with? Tell us more.
These are all real, regular people. I can work with anybody if they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a sense of humour. Shraddha I’ve known a long time and she’s a friend of mine so she’s both the easiest and hardest to work with. Easiest because we’re very comfortable with each other, and hardest because of the same reason. We’re both brutally honest with each other about likes, dislikes and if things are working or not. Aishwarya is a sweetheart and she’s super easy to work with. She’s zero drama, and knows who she is. She’s naturally beautiful so it’s hard to make a bad picture of her. She also doesn’t take anything too seriously and has a great sense of humour- just my kind of person. Pragathi I’ve not spent too much time with but she’s amazing in how multi-talented she is. She’s studying to become a lawyer and being a thoughtful, intelligent human being goes a long way. She’s also very natural in front of the camera. I don’t think I gave her ANY direction, which is very rare.
6. What is that one thing stars tell you when they want you to take a picture of them.
Nothing much, I like being equal parts prepared and unprepared so we don’t really discuss what the photographs are going to be. We talk about looks and if we want to do things in-studio or on-location and that’s about it.