Capturing moments – with love and candor
Gayathri Pramod is a photographer – but she is a mother first. And being a mother is what made her pick up that wonderful contraption which someone referred to as a “SAVE button for the mind’s eye” and begin a journey down a road which she never planned or anticipated.
Growing up in Mysore, a town not too far from Bangalore, Gayathri always had an inclination for the arts. Her mother encouraged her to dabble in creative pursuits like painting and singing. She even trained under a professional to hone her skills in classical singing while at school. However, she also had an interest in science, particularly electronics, courtesy her father who worked as a telecommunications engineer. She found her father’s passion for his field inspiring and riveting which is why she decided to study electronics in college. During this period of studying and finding one’s way (or growing up!) the camera never really featured in her life. In fact she would have probably found it amusing and surprising if she was told then that her professional life would consist of wielding a camera. But then the decisions she took in her professional life were always fueled by interest rather than suitability. Like she opted to start off in sales (rather than marketing which was what she specialized in during her management) and then moved to a fragrance company where she learnt how to identify various “notes” in perfumes. Having acquired this skill in a shorter time frame than others, she soon found herself making recommendations on fragrances that were popular on the global scene and would suit Indian olfactory senses.
During this period, Gayathri had her first child and had also moved to the USA on account of her husband’s job. As she worked from home, she found herself picking up the camera ( a point and shoot) a lot more to capture spontaneous moments in her son’s life. Inspiration is often derived from love. Perhaps it was at this time, that her artistic instincts inspired by her love for her child began to come to the surface. Those with whom she shared her pictures were complimentary about her photographic skills but she self effacingly dismissed compliments from friends and family on her talent behind the lens. By this time, Gayathri had also moved to a more sophisticated device, a DSLR camera and had begun to understand better the nuances of capturing better pictures.
When Gayathri and her family moved back to India, her sister in law who was an avid admirer of her work and had chosen to share it with friends, asked her if she would be interested in taking up a non family project. A friend was looking to capture some candid moments with her child and was keen that the project be undertaken by Gayathri. Well, Gayathri did not jump at this opportunity immediately. She ruminated over this for a while.
Serendipitiously, that one project heralded the beginning of a beautiful professional journey for Gayathri. To date she has done over 70 shoots in the Candid Photography space. From babies, to couples to families, weddings to engagements to birthdays – Gayathri has done them all. Working on her own “project” made Gayathri realize that taking pictures of private moments and events is more than just about setting up equipment and getting the right light and angle. Her working MO has as much to do with the emotions behind a project as with the technicalities it entails. Which is why Gayathri’s prep begins much before the actual event when she meets or talks to a potential client. At the end of a conversation they reach a level of comfort akin to that shared between close friends and family. Understanding that pictures are more than just gifs or jpegs to those who reach out to her, Gayathri takes the time to understand the why and what behind a client’s request. For eg, what does it mean to them have a picture taken with a fiance or a spouse or a child? Why do they want a particular setting? Why do they need to have her at a wedding even though a photographer has already been hired? It is these details which help her plan the entire shoot. With meticulous preparation – right down to the client’s attire and overall appearance to the location and the correct props, if required – Gayathri makes sure that the building blocks needed to create the right ambience for the shoot is in place.
On the day of the shoot, she first makes sure her clients are at ease. The rapport created beforehand helps in taking away any unease and helps her clients relax and allow their natural self to take the forefront. If you were to speak to any of Gayathri’s clients, they would say that her ability to relate to their emotions and feelings in a situation creates a comfort that helps them react spontaneously – and forget the existence of the camera.
Gayathri works hard at creating the best possible images. She does this by trying as much as possible to experience that moment with her client. Her emotions often overwhelm her like at weddings where the mix of happiness and anguish that a parent feels for a child is something that she relives having experienced the same at her own wedding! Her ability to live the moment almost as if it were her own child in her arms or her own father giving her away in marriage or her own spouse looking into her eyes is what makes her a chronicler of memories rather than a photographer.
Gayathri took to candid photography because she wanted to create for others the same joy that she experienced when she when she took pictures of her children. But she does not take her skill for granted. Constantly upgrading her knowledge (she has done workshops under reputed photographers) she works hard at the technical aspects of her profession, as much as the artistic. She is always true to her vision, choosing to work only with those who believe in her artistic ability.
If there is one thing that every successful woman professional does it is to choose the right partner. And Gayathri has done exactly that. With long hours, overnight trips and time spent preparing, she often relies on the support of her husband to manage her children and home. And the endearing bit, is that her husband does this because he believes in her art. Gayathri says that the independence she gets to work and create is largely if not solely dependent on her husband’s support.
Gayathri is also adapting to the needs of a growing business. She has arrangements with other professionals for events like weddings where they work together as a team. Her long term goals are to take workshops on photography, but before that ensure that her brand Gayathri Pramod Photography is the go to place for the best Candid Photography.
To many of us, photography may seem like the simplest thing in the world to do. But take a look at the work that Gayathri has done and you will realize that creating magic is way more complex than one could imagine! As someone once said the biggest cliche in photography is sunrise and sunset!
Gayathri is currently working on a few projects, but to date her best ongoing project remains taking pictures of her children – after all a labour of love never ends!
To view Gayathri’s portfolio of work and to get in touch with her, go to http://on.fb.me/19mJvXh
All images courtesy Gayathri Pramod Photography
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