Emotion in Pictures - V. V. Ramana

V. V. Ramana of Villart Studio captures the kind of images that make you whisper “wow” under your breath. A groundbreaking photographer throughout his illustrious career, Ramana continues to push boundaries and innovate after decades of professional work. His wedding photography inspires and his cityscapes are confident and crisp. Unafraid to get up close and personal, his shots never fail to capture and encapsulate a moment.

Starting photography in 1990, you have a wide-ranging collection of work; do you have a preferred subject for your photograph?
Although we shoot portraits, families, products, tabletop, jewellery, modelling etc., I particularly love wedding because Indian weddings are full of emotions, exciting, colourful, and the celebrations are at its peak. I also enjoy taking pictures of kids as my approach is minimalistic, simple, and organic. There is originality in their postures, innocence in their smile, and their ever joyful nature makes their portraits stand out.

What are your creative influences?
Honestly, I have not looked to any photographer for inspiration. Instead, I ensure to attend international workshops and exhibitions like Photokina to update ourselves with the latest trends, types of equipment, and technology. The evolution of the internet and rampant social media sharing of photos has made it easy for one to share their art. We just have to keep our mind open to observe a different perspective, appreciate it, and accept the changing world and presentation styles.

I also get inspired from the weddings we cover. Each client is unique and their stories and different customs fascinates me. Every wedding poses challenges; each day unfolds differently and gives you different subjects to work with, but, one thing that stays constant is the imagery and the art that we are creating.

When someone looks at your photography, what do you want them to know about you?
I want people to look at a picture and say ‘Wow!’ I usually look for that more than the technical perfection. Others should appreciate no matter how good you are in your art. I want people to feel the excitement and have feelings looking at my photos.

Hyderabad is the backdrop for many of your photography series, which highlight the profound change it has undergone in the recent year. Do you still see the beauty in today’s Hyderabad and will it always remain home to you despite these changes?
Yes, because development has never destroyed the historical monuments of the city. Moreover, many of the barren lands are now a well-developed shooting spot, giving us more opportunities to take remarkable pictures.

Black tones in photographs are sometimes hard to depict detail from, how do you get the effect you wanted?
In good old days, a photographer had to be a master of reading lights. Once you are strong in that, you can experiment with black tones. But, these days, handling shadows has become much easier with highly advanced cameras as they come with greater dynamic range.

What’s the best way to get started with portrait photography?
People try to buy an expensive camera, but the right portrait lens is more important than a high-end DSLR. The widest aperture lens will also give great portraits even in combination with a cropped frame DSLR.

What is your go-to gear?
For most events, I shoot with Sony 7RM3 with 50mm / 24-70mm lens.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I want to open a world-class photography university. Yes, that’s my dream. When we started the studio, we had to do the job of an assistant for years to learn the tricks of the trade. This generation is trying to learn photography through social media. Though plenty of tutorials are available, it is only in bits and pieces. Youth needs an organised learning process to master the art of photography.