The National Geographic channel is known for its ‘mission’ series, and I was totally game when Nat Geo’s season two of Mission Covershot came along. I haven’t attempted something like this before in the genre of reality TV. For the uninitiated, …Covershot is a photography contest where the contestants not only showcase their passion for photography but also learn the technicalities of the trade. It involves 10 contestants, 10 episodes and the winner’s work gets to feature on National Geographic magazine cover.
The latest season goes on air this Saturday. First up, we travel to the serene and beautiful North East and my co-passenger and also fellow judge is professional photographer, Lana Slezic. Between Lana and I, we have divided our responsibilities — Lana deals with the technicalities while I’ve been hired to heighten the drama quotient and anchor the ‘story’ as it unfolds. Although it’s my territory, and may seem like home ground, it was a challenge to shed my aggressive and hardcore Roadies rude boy image. For this show, I had to change not just my image but also the way in which I deal with the contestants. I had to break the ‘much feared’ mould I am usually seen in and adopt a more sensitive, intuitive and understanding avatar. I had to transform into someone who is more of a mentor, friend and confidant to the contestants.
Covershot is not an ordinary run of the mill reality show. It deals with the creative field of photography where one’s perceptions, thought process, body language and comprehension of the environment counts. Two people might be exposed to the same subject, but they will click diametrically opposite shots.
Personally, I quite enjoyed this show because it suits my personality. I’m curious about human psychology and am interested to know where these people come from, what are their aspirations, how do they relate to photography, and once on the show, how do they relate to each other. Will they or won’t they be able to work as a team and whether or not they will adapt to their new surroundings. As a judge, my job is to connect with the contestants and put in practice the two decades of experience I have gained working on reality entertainment industry.
Being an avid photographer myself, I also bring to the show my basic understanding of cameras. I do understand that photography is a solitary work in process, and above all, a meditative experience. To me, this is a series that entails a winning combination talent, travel, adventure, competition, camaraderie, emotion and drama.