Typing Test


In the well-crafted studio of Goregaon West, Gaurav Sethi sits talking to me about his journey as an artist who expresses through camera and about the place we grace, which demanded his blood and sweat while setting it up. It is probably one of the biggest studios in market, close to 2000sq feet which takes from his pocket a six figure rental every month. "Had it been Andheri or Versova, I would have paid double this price for half the area." He tells me. "I wanted my own place to work hasslefree, chasing my pursuits. Otherwise it gets very messy when you keep hiring places for your shoots. You may have booked a place for four hours in the morning and next six hours are booked in another studio because of unavailability of slots! And if you don't finish in those six hours, you have to book again and wait if that is not available immediately. Your time management goes for a toss and you are miserably running around trying for your ends to meet. And I am not even talking about getting the art directors to install everything and prepare the ground for my exclusive job to finally start! Having your own studio means you are much in peace and aren't hitting your head on the wall before those 14 or 16 hours schedules actually start." Most of you haven't heard of Sethi. But you have certainly heard about Jaqueline Fernandes or Zarine Khan or Esha Deol or Soha Ali Khan and many such models, the photographs of whom you can't stop staring at and some of those may have been shot by Gaurav. His list of clients also include Irrfan Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Emraan Hashmi, Pavan Raj Malhotra, Amyra Dastur, Neetu Chandra, Minisha Lamba, Pulkit Samrat, Urvashi Rautela, Shama Sikander and others. The plunge into photography of course didn't happen overnight. The passion grew over time. Coming from a family where the father has been a well-known producer of films, brother is an actor in television, sister is a fashion designer, it was perhaps natural for Gaurav to step into the media industry and pick up his career from the myriad options available there. He started with brief stints with production teams and even worked as an assistant director, his job description ranging from all technical requirements of the profiles to serving tea or cleaning actors' shoes on the sets. Soon though, cinematography caught his attention and he stopped at photography. Initially he trained with Rakesh Shrestha. But photography still remains for him, an unique learning experience where he trains every day with each new assignment; this, even after years of dedicated professional contributions to the fashion industry! "Take for example, the models who come to me for portfolio shoot. At times I have to educate them on the body carves and help them explore their own beauty. Those who have been there for a while and are professional, are of course easier to work with because then I concentrate only on my expertise. But for newcomers who trusted you with their dreams, time and money, you have a bigger responsibility. Maybe a shot from me will get them their first break! I am being paid to give the best and I can't compromise on my output, even if that means I have to invest some extra efforts on them." Says Gaurav. The photographs displayed on his walls talk about a world of talent. The interplay of lights and shades, the props, the planning signify not just a random shot but a few special moments of beauty which would have disappeared, had the shutter not been pressed at that perfect time. But yes, there is a long prelude to attaining that level perfection with expressions, angles, light and lenses. Explains Gaurav, "Props are usually rented but planning and set up is mine. From behind the camera you have to bond with the lenses. While training with Rakesh Shrestha, I learnt a lot. He made me do almost 90% of his work and constantly supervised from beside. He would be guiding me on the length and breadth of the lens; he would teach me how to understand and adjust the eye l