After publishing two male photographers (Carlo Mollino & Steven Lyon), our new guest for "Photography Without Words" series is a woman, and what a woman! Anushka Menon, a New Delhi based beauty & fashion photographer, is not just another talented photographer. Her humanistic, versatile & colourful touch makes her work both modern & fresh, her aesthetics combine Indian culture and Western fashion codes.
As she puts it (see her biography below), "her portfolio now has almost everything to offer, from beauty & fashion, to people, places, spaces and products."
We have also decided to include an interview given her incredible position as a woman photographer to learn more about her and about contemporary India.
But before you can read the interview, as usual, the pictures will speak for themselves, with no comment or context provided, open your eyes...
A Special Tribute to Anoushka Shankar & Her Divine Music Thanks to Anushka Menon
Rolex has selected one of her images for their 2012-2013 World Wide Campaign with Brand Ambassador Anoushka Shankar. The ads are out in magazines, billboards and of course on the Rolex Site!
Who are you?
I’d like to think I am many people all in one body. I have differently personalities which guide me through different phases in my life.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Their love, respect and honesty towards me.
What is your favourite food, drink and/or restaurant?
Molecular gastronomy cuisine. Red Wine or Dirty Martinis! Shroom Restaurant New Delhi!
How do you
wish to feel the day you die?
What is your
present state of mind?
What is your favourite motto or quotation?
What goes around….comes around!
What is photography for you?
My bread and butter.
Who are the photographers, artists or people whom you find most inspiring in life?
I have many people who inspire me… But mostly it’s my friends…
How do you feel that being an Indian woman influence your work as a photographer?
India to me is a second home. I love the country and its culture and richness and sometimes it reflects in my work, but mostly I am influenced by the West as we all are – but I honestly feel I shoot Western better than I shoot Indian!
How do you perceive India today? Are traditions strongly preserved? How does women’s role evolve?
India is a scary place to be. As a woman it’s not the easiest of countries to live and work in. Things have become better over the years but we still have a long way to go before the majority of women are treated as equals. But it is my home and I have had many opportunities here I may not have had being abroad so it has its advantages and disadvantages
How do young Indian artists and professionals look at the rest of the world: an opportunity or a threat?
Opportunity for sure! It’s a way of expanding and growing. India is amazing but sometimes can be very suffocating.
How do you choose the brands you work for as a photographer? How do you pick & coach your models?
Now I choose my brands according to what inspires me. If I can connect to the brand and its vision then I take on the job!
Casting models is always a difficult process; we have a dearth of really good models in India. There are a handful only. Coaching them comes with practice, everyone needs a different approach. Sometimes it works, sometimes is does not!
Where is Indian fashion heading to? Which brands are your favourite?
Indian fashion is progressing really fast. We have such talent brewing
from all across the country!
My favourite brands are Manish Arora and Anaikka.
Which projects are in the pipe?
Just money making jobs at the moment!
How is Instagram affecting professional photography as so many people now use it for their blogs, facebook & social media in general?
I don’t think it affects professional photography at all! Professional photographers love using the app as I do but would never be able to use it for a commercial job!
What do you do and where are you when you do not work?
I love being in my space at home with my dogs. I also love working out so I go for personal training and just started with Arial Silks.
What would you do if you were not a photographer?
I have wanted to be many things… but most of all a musician!
What is your piece of advice to aspiring photographers?
Photography is not an easy way of life or making money, so try and develop your own style and make it original! Shoot what inspires you, make it speak for itself and stay true to your ideals.
TO GO FURTHER
"I live in a crazy city with beautiful people... and I love to take photographs! Just over 7 years ago I began my career as one of India's youngest female photographers to have worked in the beauty & fashion industry.
Since then, I have been able to work with some incredible people, both in front of and behind the camera, to create a portfolio that I am proud of. I have been lucky enough to have photographed a diverse set of people from film stars such as ShahRukh Khan & Gabriela Wright to the Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes to musicians such as Anoushka Shankar, Midival Punditz & Karsh Kale just to name a few!
My photography education began in 2002 when I moved to Australia and did a course in Art Design and Communication at RMIT Melbourne after which I decided to focus entirely on photography. I then moved to India and completed a 2-year photography course in Delhi.
My portfolio now has almost everything to offer, from beauty & fashion, to people, places, spaces and products.
Highlights in my career:
- Rolex Watches 2012/2013 Campaign with Brand Ambassador Anoushka Shankar
- Fashion Photographer of the Year at the Marie Claire Fashion Awards 2011
- Rated one of the top six young emerging photographers in 2007 by The Fuji Film Company.
- Award for Excellence at the "NOKIA EYE ON FASHION" contest 2006 for the best New Photographer in a professional category.
- Trained under one of my icons, Beauty & Fashion Photographer, Gavin O Neill."