He’s smart, single, talented and a bundle of energy. Meet Murtaza Chass, a young lad who wears many hats. In this conversation, we found out more about his many different roles, passions and how he manages them all so effortlessly.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you discover your interest in photography?
Photography came to me accidentally. On a school trip to Munnar, one of my juniors had carried a DSLR and I wondered why my pictures never came out as well as his did. It was the first time I thought of getting a professional camera for myself and immediately ordered a basic one to try my hand at photography. Slowly and steadily, I started learning the art and kept upgrading my equipment to make myself a little better everyday. Over the years, I’ve been inclined towards travel and wildlife photography, and I’ve realised how liberating the feeling of escaping the monotonous life can be.
What made you take it up professionally?
It was never the plan. It all started when a friend asked me to join him on a trip to the forests of Central India. I did not hesitate. It was on this trip that I was offered to work for an adventure and wildlife touring company called ‘Journeys’ that is based out of Pune. I now work as their head travel photographer and take people to beautiful forests across the country.
Tell us about some of your past projects and travel?
I’ve always had the travel bug. I felt the need to travel every two months to keep myself sane. From 10,000-kilmetre road trips to backpacking across Europe, I’ve tried to get a good mix of experiences from across the globe. I’ve been fortunate enough to see different cultures and interact with people from all over the world. Let me tell you, it’s been an ecstatic journey. The content I make is for myself and it’s everything that makes me happy. Very recently, I grabbed a project in central Africa to shoot the operations and logistics of some of the most famous manganese mines. What an incredible experience it was to work with the locals and their teams!
We hear you also have a photo booth company?
Setting this up was a well-planned move in comparison to all my other decisions in life. Since my travels were getting a little out of hand, I needed something to fund them. ‘Lume Inc’ came in as a savior and was also something Hyderabadis loved. I grabbed a window of opportunity that was otherwise less explored. A one-of-its kind photo booth experience is what I provide, with instant Polaroids of the picture in seconds, and some incredible backdrops to go with the theme of the event.
I’m also currently working on a new concept, which hopefully will change the way the city takes home memories from events. The process has been slowed due to the break caused by the pandemic, but we’re ready to regain the momentum and should be good to go soon.
What genre of photography do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy landscapes, travel and wildlife photography the most. I’m also starting to get into travel films as well!
Apart from this, you’re also a part of a family business…
Yes, this is what I do for a living. I’ve been a part of the family business for the past five years and run the manufacturing department of the business. TAS Group has been a pioneer in modular, luxury furniture, and architectural and builders’ hardware for the past 60 years and growing. As a company, we provide end-to-end services from manufacturing to after-sales services of interior solutions.
How do you juggle between being part of all these businesses?
Journeys is client-based, which is planned well in advance. Lume Inc is event-oriented, which happens mostly at night. On the other hand, my factory and family business is what keeps me occupied in the day. Also, if there are times where I need to prioritise, it is the factory that wins, since that’s on a larger scale.
Where do you see yourself a few years from now?
A few years from now I’d like to be more responsible and focused as a person. With everything I do, I’d like to do it more effectively and efficiently. I’m going to take each day as it comes and try to be a better version of myself everyday and do everything that I love doing for the rest of my life.
You are also extremely passionate about your workouts. How do you squeeze in time for that?
Taking out that one hour a day isn’t asking for much, especially when it’s become a part of one’s life. It’s almost like taking a shower or brushing your teeth – something your day is incomplete without.
How different has Ramzan been this time, and how do you plan to celebrate Eid this year?
Ramzan in Hyderabad is known for its haleem, joyous festivities and ecstatic vibes. This year has been unusual. Life seems to be on a standstill with no late-night drives for kebabs, or walks in the hustling-bustling streets of the Old City. Houses have turned into mosques and greetings are being shared over video calls. Iftars have become a private affair, while shopping for Eid isn’t a priority anymore. Every prayer goes out for a better world and in the hope that all this ends soon. This Eid I’ll be learning how to make some sheer khorma and spend some quality time with family. - as told to Anahita