AJ . Tell us ABOUT yourself.
I am a New York city-based fashion, a commercial and fine art photographer. I currently split my time between commercial work, teaching and humanitarian and fine art projects. I have work published in printed and online media in Asia and the US.
I studied Visual Communication at the University of Madras and worked as a travel and lifestyle photographer for six years, shooting across the globe. This world exposure along with my multi-lingual and multi-cultural roots allows me to see things from the vantage point of an unconventional photographer.
The myriad influences from my experiences and travels mean that I have a versatile and varied styles that reflect unique characteristics and over a wide gamut just like the world we live in. What I aim at is to create high-quality imagery that draws from global characteristics and concepts adapted to the needs of each assignment.
In 2015 I had my first solo fine art gallery exhibition - Unwrapture. This body of work uses a dancer bound by seatbelts to portray a narrative about urban angst and freedom. Soon after, MOD Institute Berlin featured my second body of work on construction workers titled "Labour Narratives" as the solo photographic part of their internationally travelling exhibition "Weltstadt" (Metropolis).
I am currently available for commissions and assignments in New York City and abroad.
Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions).
Our readers would love to get to know you more AJ. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I am a multi lingual, multi cultural world traveller and photographer
AJ, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?
I love creating aesthetically strong work inspired from my travels and influences. I am a creative individual with love for the visual arts. My love for travel and new experiences got me started as a photographer.
Who is your inspiration in life AJ? How do you keep inspired?
I am constantly inspired by free thinkers - by people who choose to see things differently and in that process show a new way of looking things to the rest of us. I strive to imbibe those lessons and apply them to developing my unique vision and style.
We all make mistakes AJ, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Photographer, you like you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
When assisting on my first big fashion shoot with a Parisian photographer many years ago, I had the opportunity to take some photographs along with him, and when I got great results I thought all this was so easy and he was getting way to much credit.
It wasn't until I planned, cast, lit and shot my first photoshoot that I realized how much talent, work and decision-making goes into a shoot. After that, I had a new found respect for how easy he had made it all seem.
AJ , when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
Time management is extremely important for me. So is expectation management. I make sure I allot enough time for every part of the process from shoot discussions to answering client questions. I also take the time to understand the clients' requirements and connect with them by asking questions. This enables me to give them a clear idea of what to expect from the shoot and ensure their satisfaction.
Please tell us AJ, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?
I once had a shoot in a volcano in Indonesia followed by a beach shoot the following day on another island. I planned everything including, checking weather forecasts, star charts and travel times. When I got to the volcano, I took 2 out of my three cameras into the caldera, leaving my backup gear behind at the base just in case.
This decision turned out to be a good one as, after the volcano shoot, both my cameras were in need or a full service due to sulphur fumes entering the lenses. My backup camera allowed my be ready in time for the next shoot and deliver crisp images to my client.
AJ, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
While working with a client on a social media campaign, the client was on the fence about using a relatively new treatment for the images. While I could understand the client being unsure about cutting-edge technique, I strongly felt that the campaigns goal of having the most interaction with social media would be met by my idea. So I suggested creating a poll on social media asking the audience to choose based on a teaser shot. The response was overwhelmingly in favour for the new technique, and the poll ended up generating a lot or engagement for both the teaser and the campaign.
AJ, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
My first gallery exhibition was the accomplishment I am most proud of as a photographer. It was a fine art piece that was also a social commentary. The entire project was a self-funded ( i taught photography to pay for the prints). After six months of hard work, the exhibition opened to a great response. Upon public demand, the exhibit which was supposed to be on for a week was extended to a month.
AJ, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
As a photography student, I was part of a group workshop on journalistic photography led by National Geographic Award winning photographer Sudharak Owle. As part of the workshop, we were asked to photograph a famous large vegetable and fruit market with over a thousand vendors.
When we started to shooting, I noticed most of my colleagues shooting portraits and such shots. I immediately realized that my images would be lost in the 100s of portraits unless I was able to be unique in my approach. So I decided to instead shoot it from the perspective of the-the large and complex building itself as a quiet and string witness over these many years to these human activities. My work was singled out and commend by Mr Owle
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
Keep at it. Most people turn back when success is just around the corner. Persistence leads to success.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes. Creative shoots of any kind.
Now for the best part AJ! Please upload 5-10 photos so we can get to see your work.
Photographer: AJ Sharma