Some photographers document life – Arvind Chenji creates it. Something of a celebrity in his own right, Chenji has made a career capturing the vigour of life in his wedding, lifestyle, advertising, and fashion photography. The people in his pictures seem to be engaged in lively, sprawling conversations with loved ones they’ve known for years – his ability to unwind and erase any barrier or artifice is uncanny.
What appeals to you about photography?
Everything! The ability to stop a viewer in his/her tracks, the ability to convey an emotion, the ability to sell a person or a product and the ability to launch a thousand ships in the absence of Helen.
What have been the turning points of your career? Was there a moment when you thought to yourself “Now I’ve made it”?
I never ever thought ”I’ve made it” nor do I think I ever will. When it ceases to excite me, I will quietly hang up my camera and do something else.
Contrasts are one of your trademarks. Can you tell us what other elements are typical for your pictures?
A picture, for sure, needs to have a certain contrast to set off the subject against the background. I believe, most importantly, it is the emotion that the picture evokes in a viewer.
Do you think artists have a responsibility towards what they present?
I don’t think so. I think artists ought to be able to present what is in their minds. The choice of the audience that will view it later, is the prerogative of the artist and they should work on it.
Why do you think there has been an increased interest in photography in the last few years?
Pretty obvious! One doesn’t need to load a film, shoot the frames, process the film while keeping the fingers crossed that the chemistry hasn’t let them down and hope for the best anymore. Whatever you shoot is ready for you to see in the fraction of a second. Instant gratification. And, even if you have messed it up, there are a few Gods in the computer that could salvage the image in a few minutes.
You have a very striking and diverse body of work. Is there a particular genre you’re drawn to the most?
I love shooting people and food! The interaction with the people during the shoot is such an intense thing. You know the person from inside their mind. But Hyderabad isn’t a market for specialisation. That’s why I do a lot of diverse shoots from product to places to Industries.
Where do you prefer to shoot – in a studio, or on location, and why?
It has to be the location. I don’t need to tweak the lighting every so often. I can get into the subject’s head and get my pictures