Embedding the laws of physics into fashion photography perhaps resonates an echo of the unconventional, but for this engineer turned photographer, his transition from one end of a spectrum to one quite another, only needed a catalyst to let open the floodgates of uncalculable prospects through the prism of a pastime sidelined a long time ago, whilst seeking exactitude blending art with science. His metamorphosis transpired via an escapade to Ladakh in 2010, an unscheduled getaway from the frenzy of a nine-to-five career. Serene splendor and wide open gloriously crafted scenery of the mystic Ladakh was all it took to sway this once budding engineer to take the plunge into the exotic yet unfamiliar world of photography. He hasn’t looked back since.
Ranadeva is a portrait and fashion photographer currently based in Paris. Born in Imphal, Manipur to a Registrar in Manipur University (father) and a Lecturer of Modern College Imphal (mother), this 31 year old broke away from his traditional background of the time-honored education towards the twilight of his twenties only to make bigger strides with destiny itself.
Even with an impressive catalogue of swanky clients and publications that includes: L’Officiel Hommes ME, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Fiercive Japan, Der Spiegel, Eyescream Japan, Studioforma Architects – Zurich and Universal Music etc under his kitty, Ranadeva humbly asserts he has only just begun to scratch the surface.
I guess it’s the quickest way to materialize a dream or an idea, I feel. With photography, I create and live in a Universe of my own, with my own rules and aesthetics.
Tell us about your very first camera. I believe that’s where it all started.
My first camera would be my dad’s, he always had one. But I had never taken a photo with the real intent of making a photograph with this one. Still, in a way this will be my very first introduction to photography.
The camera with which I started as a photographer was a Canon 1000D. I had borrowed it from my cousin for a trip to Ladakh. This is where it all started.
What are the gears that you use?
Nikon D800 with a 24-70mm mostly. And I like shooting wide at 28mm or 35mm.And I always carry my Fujifilm X100 all the time, it is quite convenient.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I would say mood-wise, “Exaggerated eccentricity”. I constantly play with contrasting ideas to keep things interesting.
Photographers that inspire you
Inez and Vinoodh, Tim Walker, Deborah Turbeville to name a few.
In a place swarmed with talented aspiring photographers, it must have been a struggle to break into the industry and create a niche for yourself. Tell us about your first big break?
Oh, I have just started to scratch the surface.
From an imaginative point of view, if you could live anywhere on this planet, where would you build your dream home?
I have always wanted to have an island of my own. But, I haven’t found it yet.
Something that is overrated to you?
Right now I don’t see anything or maybe it’s that we talk too much about celebrities but again they are celebrities for a reason, so I’ll just have to live with that.
A motto that you swear by?
The Best and only the Best.
Many love your works because they have an artistic streak. Where do you think this impulse comes from?
I am always intrigued by the notion of time and space.
Why certain space (location) has a mood attached – a sense of time attached ? Is strangeness the key to timeless longevity ?
The search to these questions is the source I guess.
What else do you do when you’re not working with the lens?
When I’m not working, cycling around in the city usually helps me unwind. But the only real break I can have is while I am cooking. I enjoy cooking and most of the time I cook to relax. Otherwise I am thinking about my work all the time.
Any projects you’re working on right now?
I am working on a series of fashion portraits – Portraits of people who have a distinct aura, for example, a music lover who looks exactly like Einstein.