Shutterbug in Tinsel Town

Anwesha Mandal — Fashion Photographer

She never got formally trained in photography, but today works with the who’s who of Bollywood and the fashion world (the list includes Bollywood film stars Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Saif Ali Khan, Ayushman Khuranna and so on!!). Anwesha Mandal — fashion photographer, model, blogger — somebody who can be an absolutely strict boss on her sets while wearing pretty heels and pink lipstick!

A Mumbai-based girl, Anwesha studied Journalism at the prestigious St. Xavier’s College. She was introduced to photography as a creative medium and that’s where she realised the beauty & potential of a camera beyond just taking pictures at parties. She was always great with the words, so photography became an additional extension. Somebody who belives that creative arts – writing, dancing, photography, modelling — are a great way to express oneself, . she aims for self-expression. Creating a picture, building it from scratch is an exciting prospect to her. Anwesha has earlier exhibited her work at a few photography exhibitions in India as well as in London. Her works can be viewed at https://www.behance.net/anweshamandal

She also owns www.lemonchutney.com with a partner where they do a lot of brand associations, promotions and content as well.

High point in career

“Probably shooting the cover of actress Sonakshi Sinha would be one; post which I have shot candids of Ranveer Singh, Saif Ali Khan and Ayushman Khuranna. But actually I feel every year there is something new, something challenging that excites me. I am not someone who sets targets for each year as I don’t think we human beings are machines but I am extremely hardworking and focused. I take up each day as a challenge and try to give it my best. I guess every time I do a good shoot and when I look back at it and see I have done a fairly good job, it makes me happy. I would call those high points in my career and they come & go often.”

Most challenging assignment so far

“Once there was a bike shoot and not much preparation had gone into it in terms of location and lighting so yes, that was a tough one. Other than that, every assignment I take up is a challenge because I never learned photography. I shoot instinctively and intuitively plus I prepare before every shoot. So every assignment in a way is a new process which I love by the way. I love such challenges.”

Greatest inspiration

“Definitely David LaChapelle. I think he is a creative genius and I say this over & over again. I don’t really follow too many photographers at all but sometimes discover work of new artists. I love how he particularly plays with colors, concepts & celebrity profiles in his shoots. It is just terrific! Beyond that I think my life and belief system probably inspire me.”

Most important milestone in life

“I think photography is a booming industry and with new cameras people are taking up photography very easily. I am a picky photographer. I don’t do all kinds of shoots so there have been points earlier in my career where I thought I will do something else. I am glad I have been able to pick myself up, pull it together and get back at it with full confidence. These small things are like milestones to me as these help you persevere. Jobs will come and go, good or bad but the earnest desire to pursue something year after year is the trick. I am also happy that I do so many other things so my creative juices are not just restricted to photography.”

Women are the better halves. Have we moved beyond this?

“Well that statement kind of bothers me because as much as I am all about woman power I don’t believe any further than the fact that men and women are a duality and should be equal.  For me it’s always been a human thing and about equality so I don’t believe a woman is better than a man or vice versa. Having said that I do agree that there are situations when things are easier for men and when women integrate them self in that scenario, it is brilliant! It’s not even about the social structure, physically both men and women are made differently so somethings will be easier for the opposite sex. That’s just nature. I just wish we were all not differentiated on the basis of gender and equal opportunities were given everywhere to both men and women. Till day, sometimes when I enter a shoot a lot of people don’t expect me to be the photographer. I have been confused as the stylist or the model but very often not a photographer because there are aren’t many women photographers. Well, I hope that changes.”