His world is not just black & white;
it is grey, pink, red, yellow....
Photograph by Gautam Narang
look at Gautam Narang, ignore his beard. It gives him that
brooding look and you would assume he only spews philosophy
and the minutiae of photography. But he has a funny bone
the size of a watermelon and when he rattles off his favourite
George Bush bloopers, the world suddenly seems such a hilarious,
happy, cheery place. If he is still in that mood and you
ask him what would Gautam Narang be doing if he wasn't a
photographer, he would grin and say, "Peddling drugs!!!"
But don't take that seriously; remember the behemoth of
a funny bone that resides in his petite frame.
can be deceptive. If you look at Gautam Narang, ignore his
beard. It gives him that brooding look and you would assume
he only spews philosophy and the minutiae of photography.
But he has a funny bone the size of a watermelon and when
he rattles off his favourite George Bush bloopers, the world
suddenly seems such a hilarious, happy, cheery place. If he
is still in that mood and you ask him what would Gautam Narang
be doing if he wasn't a photographer, he would grin and say,
"Peddling drugs!!!" But don't take that seriously;
remember the behemoth of a funny bone that resides in his
Gautam Narang lives in London. He is a
photographer who goes anywhere where there is a possibility
of finding an interesting subject to shoot. And these casual
peregrinations have brought him awards and slotted his pictures
in magazines worldwide. He just turned 21 and lives by a
self-proclaimed edict, "Everybody will laugh at you
when you start out. And they are going to hate you no matter
what you do, so why bother listening! Get on and shoot."
Perhaps he would know a word or two about people laughing;
he is dyslexic and mentions the glitch without a grimace.
At Collingham High School, Narang found
it hard to string words or do the complicated mathematical
equations and found solace in history. "I love history.
In many ways history got me into photography, I used to
stare at the pictures for ages, they were stories in themselves,"
says Narang about his first itch to not follow the beaten
track. There were other things falling his way - while doing
his GCSE he stumbled upon a photography course and that
is how the journey began. The casual interest turned into
a passion and that passion soon translated into the chosen
career. All along there was an inspiration that walked by
him - National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.
So smitten is Narang with McCurry that
he can spend hours talking about his use of bold and vibrant
colours combined with flawless composition. What about the
dying art of black and white photography? Narang quotes
another photographer (he forgets the name, he says) who
said, "You use colour to capture the colour of someone's
clothes but you use black and white to capture their soul."
Between quotes and his inspiration, Narang
shatters another myth. "When I started out I used a
Centon K100. I later discovered that when it comes to photography
equipment isn't that important. I used to use a 6x6 camera,
which was more like a tin box with no automatic features.
The camera is really basic but if you have the eye you can
churn stunning pictures out of that tin box."
Out of that tin box and the Canon 10D
that he now uses, Narang has shot photographs for several
magazines (he counts "30 magazines to be precise")
- the absolute highs being the front cover for Aesthetica
and a shot picked up by Canon's official EOS magazine.
But like all similar journeys, Narang's
caper has been fraught with tentative steps, sneers, derision,
and the bruises that come with jostling for space in a tight,
competitive world. It also meant a litany of odd jobs -
of being studio assistant to Still life & Food photographer
Tim White, fashion photographer Daniel Horn's assistant
for lighting and finding locations, first assistant for
New York-based photographer Russ Flatt, and as an editorial
assistant for John Freeman's travel book.
As if these were not odd enough, he has
also worked as a sales assistant at an ethnic furniture
store, an agent for a creative agency and even a proof reader
for a website!
All this not because Narang likes drifting,
but because he knows he has to "constantly push myself
to achieve my targets." At 21, he is unwavering about
his tomorrows - to remain a photographer, capture cultures
from across the world on his Canon, publish a coffee table
book of his photographs and "do what I love doing."
He realizes that you can't go out and
fetch dreams out of thin air, that is why he is ready to
wait, to work hard, to do his best, to condone the jeers
and to move on.
Gautam Narang knows he needs to hang in
there just a little longer.
Published in Sun magazine,