Minhaj Ahmad is Photographer based in Karachi, Pakistan. Within a very short span of time he has built his portfolio to amaze the veteran photographers. It was very kind of him to do a small question and answer session with us at Pak101.com.
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: Yes, I like discussing my pictures with my mates in order to know the flaws. Sharing of knowledge is always good as it helps you to extend your boundaries.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: Professionally I am an accountant and I never aimed to become a Photographer. I started it as a hobby but with the passage of time and ratio of improvement, I realized that "Oh My GOD.. Am a Photographer too...!"
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: I am obsessed with it now and for me it is the best way of expressing ideas which circle your mind. I still have to cover miles in order to become perfect and I want to enjoy every single moment of this journey.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: I was playing with light and trying to understand the Long Time Exposure shots with my P&S (Point and shoot) which only had 4 seconds shutter delay, and after many shots i came up with an image that made me say Wow.. [Fantasy...] http://www.flickr.com/photos/minhaj/3348422365/in/photostream
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Not actually. Internet was and still is the main source of knowledge for me regarding Photography, especially youtube and offcourse E-books which helped me a lot in polishing my skills.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: Technicality goes along with your ideas. Sometimes a simple image needs a strong technical side whereas sometimes you just flick n click. For example the following image required a good technical side to come up with a best result.http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=444493816650&set=a.178956096650.133139.591391650&type=1
But when its about wedding, sports, street and wildlife photography, you don't get time to indulge yourself with technical side at the time of click. You just click click click n click and for that you've to configure everything before the release of shutter because there is no second chance in such scenarios!
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: Initially I was dependant on cropping my images but afterwards I realized that what if you compose your image in a way that it does not need cropping. That is actually a step towards Professionalism, but sometimes you've barriers due to which copping becomes essential.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: Normally photographers actually don't want to stay at a specific place for their whole life, they want to travel the world and explore it through their photographic eye and so do I want.
Q: Define the word "beauty"!
A: Any feel that composes your life to a pleasant level with attraction towards it. It is something which cannot be seen with eyes but by heart.
Q: What equipment is in your camera bag? What piece of equipment will be added to the collection next?
A: Right now I only have Nikon D60 with kit lens i.e. 18-55 mm AFX DX, I am happy with it but soon I will shift to canon. Hope everything will go in a manner in which I want. =)
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: Though my personality doesn't change when I look through camera but my mood changes, the moment I place my viewfinder in front of my eyes I am totally energized.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: Disappointed. That spell of time is like everything in me has been drained out.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: No, They are just little speed breaker in your path so they you can have a break before gearing up for the next big venture.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Some people become your influence by their whole set of work, and some by mean of a single image... My influences are Ismail Ibrahim, Zagham Islam, Ahmed W khan, G R Mughal, Yasir Nisar.
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else's or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: [Yellow Life] http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150162017456651&set=a.178956096650.133139.591391650&type=1
This picture is favorite to me and is of great Importance to me.
Numbers of people think that I’ve used an extra ordinary gear to capture this picture but it was shot with D60 plus18-55 mm lens. In fact, it is the outcome of the dedication and patience I've exercised by sitting for 50 minutes near this flower under the scorching heat of sun, and that day I realized that its not the camera that captures a moment... Its a Photographer =)
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Accountancy Classes at morning time, getting back by noon, recharging myself along with my gear, going for the shoot and having ice-cream on my way back home are some of the happenings I mostly experience. Sparing my time from this schedule for my family is something I love to do everyday =)
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Clicking every single shot better than the previous ones and to imply your creativity in order to give a best shot every time is a big challenge.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Haven’t experienced such obstacle yet and as I am still growing as a photographer, so may be I can answer this question next time.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Street Life and Conceptual.
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: There is not any specific story but people always surprise me with their reactions when I lye down on roadsides or anywhere to take photographs. They stop doing their work and start staring me. The curiosity on their faces is quite funny sometimes!
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: Yes, many times, mainly when the burden of my studies increases or when Photography becomes a barrier between me and my education. But then I tell myself that one cannot leave a part of him in any way.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Street life and Conceptual.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: Black and white photography is not an easy thing. In a colored picture, viewer can get involved in colors and thus feel attracted towards the picture. But in Black and White photography, there should be a strong communicational feel in your photo to get your viewer involved in it.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes I am, but of what level... Let others judge it through my work.
I would like to quote a few words of my colleague "Ismail Ibrahim" about the word artist, he said that knowledge of any subject/field is normal but when your knowledge exceeds a certain limit and you gain command over that subject/field to create something new, you become an artist.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Pure instinct mixed with some good framing and shallow depth of field.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: In early days the most predictable reaction used to be "Oh My GOD... Have you taken this??" but now everyone likes my photographs and appreciate it. Criticism is always welcomed by me but don't know why people avoid it for no good reason.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows ...
A: If I told it here... than it will no longer be a secret...!
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven't already?
A: Underwater Photography is always in my wish list and to shoot my city while sitting on the roof of a local mini-bus... n did I mention Seascape in this answer??
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Communicate with as more people as you can, observe them, learn from them, every single person can teach you the solution of your biggest problem.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: They have their own place and essence in photography but one should be well known that what to capture and what to now, Sometimes they push themselves across the limits and click which they shouldn’t.
Q: How do you feel about digital processing and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I go for basic adjustment like tweaking exposure, levels, contrast and colors. I don't like heavily processed photo as an "over cooked" dish looses it taste. Over-processing can easily spoil the picture.
I believe that when you are investing a bundle of bugs on camera, then why don't you click a photo in a way that it least requires processing?
One should not be dependant of Post processing. A perfect photo should be perfect even before processing.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: Always respect the art and the artist as they are someone who always seizes things which are beyond your imaginations. Be creative and be clear towards your vision.
Minhaj Ahmad on FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/minhaj.ahmad
Minhaj Ahmad on FlickR http://www.flickr.com/photos/minhaj
Some of his work...