Photographer Atul Kasbekar, who brings out the iconic Kingfisher calendar every year starring female models, has often questioned why female photographers do not shoot more men. This year, Sharvee Chaturvedi has broken tradition by shifting the focus to Bollywood’s young men with her ‘Life In A Dot Series’ launched last Friday in Mumbai.
The photographer debuts into the increasingly popular calendar photography forum – this year has already seen the release of The Kingfisher Calendar and Dabboo Ratnani’s Bollywood Calendar – with 12 young actors from the industry. The professional protégé of filmmaker Shubhash Ghai and photographer Dabboo Ratnani, Chaturvedi’s first calendar is inspired by life as a complete circle and the powerful and simple lessons one can take from it. She talks to HuffPost about her annual plans for this calendar and what it’s like working with men versus women.
Would you take on Atul Kasbekar’s challenge any time soon, and start shooting men in swimsuits?
Shooting men in swimsuits in fact would be an interesting and challenging idea. Since not many female photographers have tried it yet, I believe with the changing times and views that will happen soon. It requires an understanding of aesthetics and a certain level of maturity to project those images in art as well as a glamorous format. I hope I can try this soon.
Would men in swimsuits be less popular than women?
Why not? I feel male or female doesn't matter in the end. The end result are the images. If they are beautiful and loved by viewers, gender doesn't have a role to play there.
Is it easier to shoot with men?
It was a calculated choice to shoot only men for this calendar. That said, shooting both men and women has its own different set of challenges. With women, you can experiment with hundreds of things. Shooting men is something we need to experiment with more. It involves a limited thought process (comparatively) that is begging to be broken.
Actor vs models – what’s the difference when it comes to shooting?
Each and every individual is different to shoot. You have a story to tell, which is what this calendar was about. And these actors were perfect to play those roles in the stills.
You have worked with giant names — Dabboo Ratnani and Subhash Ghai - Any pearls of wisdom they've shared with you?
Of course! Dabboo sir taught me the value of developing observational skills, and more importantly patience! I never saw him losing his cool even in the most stressful situations. Subhash sir had three simple principles: absorb, listen, and read. “Be a student of life,” he told me, something that stays with me every day.
What’s the idea behind ‘Life In A Dot’?
My interpretation of a dot is a full circle. A life comes full circle, and every act is a sphere in itself. To show this, I used this giant red chair by artist Lekha Washington. I chanced upon it when I visited her workshop and it seemed to fit as the common connect between the different messages that the actors portray.
Will the calendar become an annual affair?
Yes, my intention is to create Bollywood Tomorrow with different themes and people every year. Hopefully, I will also gather support from the industry and art lovers to help me create much richer and high conceptual images.