Their power and wealth has always attracted the arc lights. However, some suit-clad business tycoons simply don’t stand out when one sees them in print. This is set to change with some corporate bigshots taking their appearance in front of the camera seriously. Corporate portraiture is in, and making it happen is a tribe of specialised photographers ensuring their clients look as good as their bucks.
“We try to give them a stylised look without taking away from their business image,” says fashion lensman Atul Kasbekar, who recently launched Corporate Image, which works on shoots with big businessmen. Most tycoons have stylists advising them on attire and put on some make-up to even out the skintone. Some pose in creations by designers like Rajesh Pratap Singh, Shahab Durazi, Ashish Soni and Arjun Khanna.
Says Mumbai-based Anchal Kejriwal, a portrait photographer and CEO of Light & Magic: “Lots of CEOs and MDs who’ve come to me say they’re dissatisfied with their appearance in print.” Her first client was Devita Saraf, ED, Zenith Computers who took charge of the company at 24. Bombarded with requests for interviews she was unhappy with how she looked on TV and in newspapers. “Those pictures were just not me. The formal attire, posing with a computer and files on the table was all wrong,” says Saraf. Kejriwal then gave Saraf’s portfolio a makeover through minimal alterations. “We made her wear well-cut suits and with a Zenith laptop as a prop, we brought out her dynamism,” she says. The outcome was a much more comfortable looking Saraf.
There are limitations, though, for the lensmen who want to dabble in corporate. “It’s essential to be able to work with time constraints. These tycoons don’t give us more than 30 minutes for a shoot,” says Jayanta Saha, in-house corporate photographer with Reliance Industries for eight years now. Atul Kasbekar, who has clients like Ratan Tata, KV Kamath, Vijay Mallya and Gautam Singhania, solves this problem by getting a stand-in for a test shoot with proper background, lighting and other details, ensuring that no time is wasted during the actual shoot.
Besides, unlike celebrities who are used to the camera, tycoons are usually shy and need to be made comfortable. “We have lengthy discussions with them to understand their preferences. I like shooting them in their natural surroundings, mostly the workplace to give an insight into their profession,” says Hemant Khandelwal, who shot Sanjeev and Ajay Bijli at Priya cinema.
But at the end of the day, the rules of photography remain universal. As Kejriwal says, “If you enjoy your work, the pictures are bound to leave a positive impact.”