State lad creates waves in international fashion photography
By Lelen Vaiphei
IMPHAL | Jun 18
A fashion photographer, Nongmaithem Suraj is building a status for himself and the state in the fashion industry of London. Who would have thought that our state’s own child would excel in fashion photography in London.
Son of Colonel Nongmaithem Nabakishwar Singh and Nongmaithem (O) Saugrakpam Saroj Devi from Kakching, the 25-year old Suraj works has been featured on UK’s independent magazines like Metal, Schon, Hunger, F***ing Young and many more.
He conveyed that since his teen age, he was interested in photography and slowly he started documenting things which got him more interested in photography, which also made him pursue bachelor degree in mass media at St. Saviers, Mumbai. There he explored his talents by going to music concerts and other public events.
Suraj has now completed M.A in Fashion Photography from London College of Fashion.
In an interview with IFP, Suraj on his visit to the state said “to make a career out of one’s hobby is difficult but strong determination and continuous experiments can make any individual achieve what he want. I never expected that I will be reaching this level today but one needs to have hope, I still have dreams and hopes which I am hoping to accomplish and this is just the beginning of my career”.
Stating that in fashion photography, a photographer can visualise ideas and create something new and unique, he said “Fashion industry is very interesting where I can get to work with lots of designers and collaborate with various artists.”
Informing that photography as a creative industry is growing even in Manipur, he also said that photography can be a new scope and a good profession for young generations even in the state.
Suraj has a vision to work with fashion designers of Manipur and explore the culture of the state and the region and show it to the world. But at present he is set to stay in Mumbai for a year to explore the Indian fashion industry.
Since fashion photography is a risky profession which is not stable at the same time, every photographs in fashion photography needs to look appealing as it is about gaining popularity which is difficult to achieve constantly, said Suraj.
Answering the doubts of many photography enthusiasts, Suraj said that the idea of photographer is important besides the gear he owns which is also equally important. Any fashion photographer should have a visual idea about what they are capturing and be creative at the same time, he added.
As one American photographer, Alfred Stielitz once said, “Wherever there is light, one can photograph”. Suraj also claimed that proper lighting of the object and a good camera is essential to produce a better quality photographs.
Giving advice to the budding photographers in the state, Suraj suggested the need of regular practice and experiments to enhance better photography skills. Stating that he sketch and read a lot, Suraj also said that a photographer can also create and visualise an idea for photography through books.
Fascinated by the works of American photographer, freelancer and photojournalist, Steve McCurry who captured the famous photo of an Afghan girl which appears on the cover of national geographic, Suraj said “Steve perception of storytelling through a photograph is really strong”.
As a student from science background, his parents were not supportive when he first step into photography but they now are supportive to what their son enjoys doing. He said, “Now my parents are happy with what I enjoy doing and what I am, that is a great factor in building my confidence”.
When Suraj father, Nabakishore was asked about the choice of his son, he said “at the end people need to be happy in life and enjoy what they do, we should be happy with the profession we choose and stand out in the society.”
He also said that any parents want their children to sustain their life and see them happy in life and continue saying that he is happy and proud to see people appreciating and recognizing Suraj’s work.
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