The eyes see what the mind accepts; the camera sees what the eyes catch a glimpse of. Combined, the camera and fashion combined opens up a new world altogether.
In this world’s huge platter of creative arts to choose from, fashion photography has become a formidable mistress only a handful of photographers are able to dance with. A genre generated by the rise of the first fashion magazines in history, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue in the early 20th century, fashion photography evolved and was molded to be defined as a genre devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items; but it’s more than that. It’s an artistic focus on a subject, crafted with love and care by the photographer and perceived with wonder by each viewer. Though photography started in Nepal a couple hundred years ago, fashion photography came into play just some decades ago. It has however, advanced into being one of the most sought after genres of photography in the country.
Kishor Kayastha: A man with true passion and fierce vision, Kayastha’s name cannot be left out while talking about evolution in fashion photography in Nepal, as he is one of the few who have shaped and molded the fate of this sector. Since the age of nine, he used to experiment with the family camera, going around his old artistic town of Bhaktapur, capturing its timeless beauty, thus began Kishor’s journey as an art photographer. However, fashion photography presented a new and vast field for Kayastha to bring out his creativity. His desire to excel in his field was apparent and he surged forth with passion and gave us phenomenal artwork with each shoot he undertook, learning as he went. He takes motivation from international photographers and still considers himself a novice, claiming he has yet to learn so much more in the area of fashion photography; and he does his best to learn something new each time.
For Kishor, fashion photography is a difficult task and has more than one objective; it is an art to present a visual concept, empower the subject and create a stunning piece of art through a fashion perspective. “Fashion photography is not that different from other types of photography. But, it takes a high level of creativity to make it art. Blending the artistic concept to the contemporary subject is always challenging,” he says. His inspiration has always been his mother; what drove him were his family and a dream of taking photography to new heights.
Kishor Kayastha has the utmost regard for womankind, and thinks that women, in comparison to men, have many sides to them. He counts himself lucky to be able to bring forth these sides though his lenses, as in his field, most of the subjects he has to work with are women. He tends to glorify his subjects; he portrays women in a demure, softer light and presents them in a decorous and chaste manner. His experience in the world of photography has had its highs and lows but he tends to focus on the journey instead. The hardships he’s had to face have become overshadowed by the people he’s met, the places he’s visited, the memories he’s made, and the lessons he’s learned.
Kayastha believes evolution of fashion photography doesn’t just depend on the photographical aspects; fashion trends need to evolve first and so must the models. Scrutinizing over the progressive timeline of the evolution of fashion and its photography in Nepal, he takes positive vibes from it all and asserts that fashion photography will definitely reach greater heights in Nepal in the future. He just hopes that the audience now will decide on his work, and it will bring forth creativity and inspiration in the younger generation of photographers. He wishes to see Nepal’s photography to be competent and good enough to be featured in any international magazine, but surmises that the obstacles and hurdles that one must face is vast, and that the trends and logic of fashion must take a higher stand; that the concept of fashion in Nepal must be redefined.
Avishesh Raj Maskey
It has been five years since he ventured into fashion photography and Avishesh Maskey is still keen to put forth his ideas, imagination and vision out into the world via his works. Even though he has done many projects till date, he believes he has yet to learn more, think beyond and work harder to achieve his goal of becoming an internationally recognized photographer. Fashion photography for Avishesh is all about glamour and beauty, but he surmises that the crude and brash works of some photographers in the industry bring shame to this field. His experience so far has taught him that Nepal has yet to evolve in fashion and its photography, but he has higher hopes for the upcoming generation, who are more in touch with the outside world, and are showing engrossment making giant advancements in this sector. Even though quality models and budgets are two major obstacles in the way of progression, Avishesh claims that the rich, cultural diversity that Nepal has to offer cannot be competed with, and many can use these to inspire themselves and push their limits, work harder and come up with an out of the box concept.
His works are clearly an illustration of his originality and inventiveness; and many of his works like the Victorian era shoot, the mermaid shoot or tribal pictures just show how far fashion photography has come in Nepal.
At the age of 24, Kiroj Manadhar has already started to create a buzz in the field of fashion photography in Nepal with five years of experience and numerous projects under his belt. Following the works of internationally recognized photographers like Manny Librodo and Mario Testino, and local artist Kishor Kayastha, Kiroj draws inspiration from them and looks forward to finding his signature style; something that will make people recognize his pictures by a pattern rather than from his watermark. When asked if he sees fashion photography as a long-term profession, Kiroj says this has been his obsession for long and that he is serious about obtaining a degree in photography and wishes there was more photography workshops in Nepal that could train young enthusiasts. Fashion photography for him is a form of art; it’s a hundred minute details. It is not just about the model; it’s about the attire she carries off, the location, the story it tries to tell. “Fashion photography has changed drastically in the past few years,” he says, “Even though it has not reached its peak in Nepal, the results that we see these days is quite remarkable.” He believes that more and more youths are recognizing photography as a career path and with the internet being such a blessing, there is no stopping young photographers from exploring fashion photography.
Sanjog Rai burst into the Nepali photography scene when his pictures got published in the Vogue Italia webzine. He describes himself as a modern day dilettante photographer exploring the artistic and creative ability of his own existence. After returning from Milan with a vast amount of experience tucked under his belt, Sanjog Rai was eager to push his limits in the Nepali market. He dived into fashion photography when he realized that Nepal wasn’t quite ready for his preferred genres of art and nude photography. He has been four years in the business and as he forges through, has found a fondness for fashion photography and wishes to push it to greater heights.
Fashion photography for Sanjog is not just showcasing clothes; he feels it has evolved to a genre that flirts with beauty, products and even social issues. He likes to infuse art with fashion in his works, and pours a little of himself into each of his projects. In his perspective, for fashion photography to reach greater heights in Nepal, many young photographers, who are showing great interest in the field, should get international exposure and bring that experience back to Nepal. He stresses that greater competition, media houses and advertisement agencies being strict in hiring the right people for their job instead of looking for cheaper services is exactly what Nepal needs right now in order to develop this sector.