The journey within
For ace photographer Vikram Bawa, the last three years have been a process of re-discovering himself. The result is a series of pictures, titled 'The Other Side' that he's putting up for an exhibition.
When CS asked him which is this other side, he laughed, “I feel I’m on both the sides. There is one side which wants me to love the things I do, like fashion, people and celebrities. The other side, if you want to call it that, is my spiritual side; it’s my journey to re-finding myself.”
Do what you love
I went through a bad phase healthwise and workwise for nearly three years. Three or four years back I was invited to an art camp by Brinda Miller. I went to Hampi, expecting it to be an easy time. I took my camera and I didn’t know what to shoot for the next two-three hours. I realised that I'd lost myself to the commercial world so much that I couldn’t do anything that I wanted to do. A friend of mine suggested that I go back to doing what I love and see what happens. The result was the series called Fallen Angel. I didn’t go back to those pictures for three years. Then I bumped into Tarana Khubchandani who asked me to do a show. So I went back to the studio and did another series called Voyeur. The Other Side has both these series. I used to crack a joke, 'Put me in a room with four walls, and I'll come back with something'. This journey made me realise that I can do this.
Back where he belongs
In the last three years, I have probably done 30 per cent of the work compared to what I've done earlier, but I’m 300 per cent happier now. When I started out, I was someone who experimented a lot. I was the first one to do 3D photography in India. Two-and-a-half years back, I did a film that got nominated for the Dadasaheb Phalke award. This journey has taken me to a lot of beautiful places and I hope to explore all the sides now. If I start something, I don't stop until it's 100 per cent the way I want it. It's a need now.
Photography is an art
We’re not any different from international photographers in terms of quality. It’s the opportunities that we don’t have. When you go abroad, you see the respect with which photographers are treated. They’re treated as artists. Our sensibilities are not evolved towards photography as an art form. Most photographers look at foreign magazines and the first thing they do is copy it. But they need to realise that they don’t want to shoot it like that, they love the way the boundaries have been pushed. They have to learn to bring their own self to the picture.