‘In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality’ – Alfred Stieglitz
A photograph has the timeless quality of capturing a moment, person or surrounding for eternity. When there is so much fleeting reality that passes by us each day, a photograph holds still the moment, withholding a slice of time within its realm. At the same time, a photograph is one of the best ways of expression for both the photographer and poser, because the one holding the camera and clicking the moment is as much of an artist as a painter with a brush or a writer with a pen. To know what, when, why and how to create into a photograph is an art itself, so is the capturing of moods, expressions, colors and cultures to deliver a message or provoke a thought.
Luckily, there are many photographers who have made their mark and elevated the scope of photography from a mere picture taking aesthetic to a nuanced and meaningful form of art. One such young photographer charting her path from a young age is Tarishi Gupta. Born and raised in Delhi, Tarishi is a freelance photographer working and living in New York who ‘loves to work with diverse people with different cultures’. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, Tarishi has a sizeable work experience under her belt, including working as, a photo intern at Collective Magazine, a first styling assistant at fashion shoots for Eryka Clayton, studio management, editing and assisting at advertising campaign photoshoots with Rebecca Handler Photography and also having worked for The Indian Watchdog, Food-dee-dum blog and many more.
When did Tarishi realize her true calling? “Art has always been an inherent part of me, and my mother recognized it when I was barely three. At the time, I showed my inclination by understanding color schemes, drawing abstract forms yet with an aesthetic sense. She encouraged my natural instincts and helped groom my visual understanding of diverse mediums. I was handed a camera in my hand at the age of five and hasn’t left my hand ever since.”
And thus began her journey where she joined the Aman Shaw School of Photography when she was still in her tenth grade. Her tryst with professional photography culminated and led her to take up the course in New York but how easy or difficult was it? “The decision of moving so far away from home to pursue photography definitely wasn’t easy. Getting top grades and being a nerd in school didn’t help my argument of wanting to pursue arts as a career. With everybody telling me that I should study something ‘more practical and more stable’, I was just glad to have the most supporting parents who didn’t pay any heed to anyone but rather took this decision with me. My mother is my biggest cheerleader and always reminds me how lucky I am to be doing what I love every single day and sustaining myself while doing it. It pushes me to never stop hustling and to hone my craft in depth every single day.”
Inspirations and technicalities
What inspires Tarishi’s art we ask? “My art is inspired by and is representative of the bustling markets in my hometown and the grandeur of the vibrant Indian culture. Through my photography work, I seek to draw upon the bold and vivid hues that ensconced my childhood and translate them into striking fashion photographs. Culturally and ritualistically, India prides itself upon the use of colors to depict tradition and values, and that is what I focus on when I create art.”
Yet, there is a whole lot of skill involved in photography. So what are some of the technical pointers that Tarishi keeps in mind while plunging into her art?
“Color and fashion dictate my story; I frame my compositions in order to accentuate the color to convey the narrative and guide my viewer through the photograph. Moreover, light plays a significant role in my photography, and I prefer to observe how it sculpts my subjects and induces mood change. I like to maintain a neat and clean aesthetic while developing stories and narratives through frames. Being notably detail-oriented, I seek to highlight movement, even as trivial as wind blowing the hair, as it endows energy to the photograph.”
For the love of the art
Every skill requires a good balance of technique and passion. But at the same time aptitude, will and the sheer happiness of creating something is one of the greatest assets of any artists. It is no different for Tarishi who exclaims the multiple facets of photography that she loves.
“The inclusivity of my upbringing reflects in my choice of casting. I love working with different kinds of people who bring different and unique stories with them. With my muses and models, I like to practice patience. I like to wait for my subject to grow comfortable in front of the camera and naturally interact with me. The cumbersome process produces beautiful results.
I also love working in teams and love being on sets of fashion and film productions, be it as a photographer or an assistant. I like to observe how all artists practice their craft and learn so much on set from everybody around me. Collaboration, creativity, and hard work are at the heart of everything I do, and the driving force behind the elaborate production of each shoot.”
Style of work
With her strong Indian roots, Tarishi has a good sense of Indian fashion. Since India is a diverse country with so many different cultures coming together, Tarishi loves working with all kinds of artists bringing unique ideas and visions to the Indian fashion space. She works mostly with young Indian fashion designers that support all communities, those who have no gender boundaries, brands that believe that fashion is more than a label and clothing, and rather view it as a movement. However, her most favorite brand to work so far with is Anaam.
“Through careful styling with a diverse and location choice, I’m able to formulate a story that consistently ties my images together. I enjoy bringing all these elements together and the process is worth paying attention to. All photos stem from the way the designer wants the customers to feel, and how they want to portray the underlying story. I want my audience to have the information, be visually pleased when they look at my work and for them to take away something and feel empowered.”
Aspirations and the future
Tarishi has definitely marked her foray in the world of photography. One of her most passionate project is The Red Project that plays around the significance of the color in different cultural backgrounds and photographs a whole range of people, practices and images that are related to it. You can check them out here (https://www.tarishigupta.com/theredproject).
But of course, there is a lot that Tarishi aspires to achieve. “I dream of creating visions of beauty and glamor for the world using my camera. I dream of giving every mundane object an artistic twist. My future plans include working with international magazines and brands to shoot editorials and advertising imagery representing a wider community. I definitely want to delve more into video production and filmmaking and bringing the beautiful and rich Indian culture to bigger screens and a wider audience.”
One of her long term goal however is to “bring a whole new avenue of photography, videography, production and event spaces to India” which she thinks is missing. “You would be surprised on how difficult it is to find a basic studio rental space with all major equipment in New Delhi for a decent price. I want these spaces to act as a one stop shop for all the artists in the country, be it event production or shooting productions. I also want to study business sometime later to understand all aspects of it and eventually execute and bring such spaces to the country. Till then, I would continue to work hard, master my craft and pursue my dreams.”