Abhishek Lal lives and works in New Delhi and hails from Patna. The primary focus of his work is a fashion and editorial assignments. His work has been well received and appreciated by the fashion industry.
Recently, Himalayan Buzz caught up with him. Here are some excerpts of the interview with Fashion Photographer Abhishek Lal
Tell us about your childhood, education, and family background?
I was born in Khagaul on 28th February 1995 and brought up in Patna, Bihar. I did my schooling from St Karen’s High School (ICSE Board), Patna.
I graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi from the Fashion Communication Department Batch 2014-18. I was one of the toppers in my department with 10 SGPA.
My mother Shobha Lal belongs to a small village Paliganj in Patna district. She is a housewife and a devoted mother. My father Mr. Satish Chandra Lal is an employee in Indian Railway and I have two sisters.
When & how did you decide you want to be a Photographer?
I never really planned it out, it just sort of happened during the second year of my college. One day I was going back to my room when one of my seniors (Nishtha Mishra) got hold of me and asked me to click her photos for styling assignment. I told her I don’t know how to operate a DSLR camera. She was so worried because it was her last day of submission and her photographer was absent. She has just asked me to just click the button and play with angles. It was set on auto mode. After that, I did my first male model shoot with Sagar Choudhary one of the finest male models right now. That’s how it all inspired me to start my career in fashion photography.
You are from an orthodox state Bihar, where being a photographer or an artist isn’t get consider a reputed profession, how did you convince your parents?
I was always passionate about drawing and sketching. Like others, I was also sent for preparation for IIT at Fiitjee. But I couldn’t succeed as my area of interest was not engineering. I wasted two years of life. But later with support of my sisters (Shivani Lal and Nidhi Lal), I realized Designing is what I am meant for. She persuaded my parents to allow me to apply for NIFT Entrance. And I got AIR 51 in NIFT Entrance Exam. After that, I was on my way to my future career. Thanks to my mom and sister, I was able to study fashion in a college.
At what point did you realize that photography is what you wanted to do as a career?
While I was assisting Vickram Singh Bawa, celebrity fashion photographer during my third year of college. My first break was with Shilpa Shetty Kundra for Femina Magazine Cover July Cover Shoot 2017. He was my ideal mentor to become a fashion photographer.
Talk about the biggest struggles you had when you first moved to New Delhi, and what are the biggest challenges facing you now?
I am from a mid-class family in Bihar where no one has been in the fashion industry. With no guidance, it was challenging to survive.
The biggest problem artists, models, and photographers face are that we don’t get accommodations easily these days. Most landlords don’t rent out their rooms or houses to us. It’s also very difficult for me to survive with my meager pocket money. I did a part-time job for Hotel Room shoot to earn my bread and butter. So, every day after college I used to work in the hotel throughout the night for which I was paid Rs. 500.
I also other professional challenges. Once I was told to work as a spot boy while assisting during the start of my career. I was rejected many times by my potential clients and companies. There were many instances when I was no paid for the work I did. It was also a struggle for getting the equipment and the right team.
When I was in Mumbai, a new set of challenges emerged. I had to travel on local trains from Andheri to Peddar road every day. I used to be so exhausted that I used to sleep without food many times.
I had to work for many unpaid gigs also or shoot from 6 am to 11 pm night on set.
But in the end, all these challenges and hardships made me much tougher and also enabled me to appreciate the success which I got later.
What have been some of your career highlights?
Oh..I had plenty of those also but my most cherished highlights have been Noise Magazine Cover Shoot with Bollywood Singer Jubin Nautiyal
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
I am a versatile photographer covering for magazine shoots, celebrity shoots, commercial, e-commerce, and Ad Campaign shoot. I am always experimenting with light – trying to refine my techniques and find new ways of creativity.
What kind of impact do you hope to make in the fashion world in the next 10-15 years?
I want to see myself as one of the leading fashion photographers in the world. Also, I want to make people believe no matter which sates or city you belong “ If you are born as an Artist follow your Dreams, not your Pocket”- ( my personal belief ).
What are the biggest challenges of working in New Delhi?
Working in the fashion industry may sound glamorous, but the job itself requires hard work, patience, training, and the right skills. I feel that these are the biggest challenges a photographer encounters:
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a form of expression to carry out our culture art form generation to another. It helps to protect our ancestor’s culture and to carry forward further. It gives you an individual identity to express ourselves in society.
What projects are you working on now?
I am currently working as Senior Photographer at Ustraa Brand (one of the leading men’s grooming brand) & Happily Unmarried Pvt Ltd.
Also, I am working with Mr. Kartikya Arora (Editor in Chief) at TMM Magazine and Noise Magazine as a Freelance Fashion Photographer.