Rahul Deshpande is a freelance photographer based in Pune (originally from Belgaum), doing commercial and advertising work. He follows his passion of music by creating edgy promotional photos for established and upcoming bands and artists in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore.
He is also actively involved in Pune’s live music scene, playing the guitar with his band, NH4 as often as his schedule will allow.
Other passions include actively seeking and documenting fast disappearing arts and crafts through his private project – Rare Earth Media. His most recent initiative, “Detritus” is the exploration of colonial bungalows in the city of Belgaum some of which are in a state of dilapidation. It is both a study of nature reclaiming what it gave up over a century ago and the possibility of conserving a slice of colonial history.
Educated in Belgaum and the US, he has worked as an engineer on merchant ships, a teacher in inner-city schools, a project manager in investment banks and now as a photographer in India. An extremely well traveled photographer, Rahul has experienced life on the streets of New York City, Tokyo, Amsterdam and in a village in Kenya.
Though having received no formal training in his craft, he has attended numerous workshops under highly experienced photographers in New York.
He relies on his natural gift of connecting with people through photography, so a lot of his work will feature portraits and character studies.
Rahul is also active in the community of new media artists and shares his process of creation through his blog. His work is inspired and woven together by cinema, music and the sights and sounds of the street.
Rahul did his schooling from St.Pauls high School, his Pre University from GSS College, Bachelor of Engineering from GIT and Master of Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
His Solo photo exhibition is organized at
The Global Tree Cafe Art Wall, in Bangalore
Saturday 12th September 2009.
Brief Background of projects:
Rahul traveled to Kenya earlier this year and spent time on the safari circuit in the Masai Mara and in the beach resort of Mombasa. This series is the result of an active effort to connect with ethnic communities and doing exactly what a tourist is advised NOT to do while in Africa. On the “do not do” list were warnings against wandering off alone, traveling on the local “Matatu” buses and not socializing with the locals beyond small talk. Rahul did wander off alone, traveled extensively on matatus and even visited remote villages, sharing meals, performing in ritual dances and of course taking photographs.
The first part of this series was created in Masai and Samburu villages bordering the Masai Mara National Park, where he was witness to the daily life of the people and spent time trying to converse with them using hand gestures and the most powerful currency in the world – a smile! The portraits he created are a result of those interactions.
The second part of the series was created in the village of Bombo, some 35 km north of the city of Mombasa. After the usual jetski rides and snorkeling trip, the instinct to wander eventually got the better of him. Accompanied by a local “beach boy”, he visited the village of Bombo where he spent the day interacting with the children and adults, even helping them repair a hut which had collapsed in the recent rain, all the while observing and taking photographs.
Rahul is currently involved in a project to explore the process of nature reclaiming what it gave up when the colonial-style bungalows of the Belgaum Cantonment were built to house the officers of the British Army. Some of these bungalows are about a hundred years old and have not been regularly occupied or maintained. This has brought them to a state of dilapidation, reducing them to only vestiges of a once glorious past. These photographs are the first installment of the Detritus project.
A question to muse on while viewing this series is “Will glass, concrete and steel structures be as graceful in their twilight years?” The photographer hopes these photographs will plant the seeds of recyclable architecture.
An interview with the budding eye behind the lens:
1.What sparked your interest in photography?
Rahul —> Dad’s old camera was lying unused for a number of years. I put a roll of film and shot it, nothing came out cause I had not loaded it properly. Therefore, I looked up the right way (thank you, Internet) to load film into that particular camera model and saw a bunch of links to photography resources. Read up and got addicted to the craft!
2.Have you taken any professional training?
Rahul —> None whatsoever, but I have taken numerous workshops with very senior and experienced photographers in New York.
3.You are a MS in Information science then what made you turn to photography?
Rahul —> As the addiction got deeper; I began to think about doing photography full time.
4.Which was your first ever photo or photo shoot on a commercial basis?
Rahul —> Catalog for Quest LLC, an alcohol and spirits bottle printing and decorating firm based in New Jersey.
5.How many exhibitions have you done of your photos?(details)
Rahul —> This will be my first exhibition in India. I have done two exhibitions so far, both in Greensboro in the US.
6.What do you like photograph models, original facets etc?
Rahul —> Live models in a concept style set is my favorite thing to shoot. I specialize in music promotional photography, which means shooting pictures for musicians and bands that can be used for advertising and promotion.
I also like to shoot street life, which was my first passion when I began shooting.
7.Narrate one good and one bad experience during your photography career? Rahul —> The best experience so far has been shooting Agnee, India’s premier Indi-rock band, they are superb musicians as well as extremely warm and friendly people. We were laughing and joking throughout the shoot.
The worst experience was when the boyfriend of a model I was shooting showed up and started offering advice to me and generally distracting me. I had to pack up and cancel the shoot altogether.
8.Your favourite place for a photo shoot?
Rahul —> Anywhere I can bring a camera and a subject together!
9.What do you prefer out door or indoors?
Rahul —> Outdoor, definitely.
10.You love music and also perform in band and teach in school, how do u manage all these things at a time? Rahul —> All the above are what I am passionate about, so it does not seem like too much effort.
11.Do you like B&W photography or color is best?
Rahul —> Depends on the concept and subject, I like both but I am a tiny bit partial to B&W.
12.What sort of equipment and software do you use?
Rahul —> I use digital SLRs and also a nice digital point and shoot. I use Adobe Creative Suite software for processing.
13.What is your opinion on post-processing, especially enhancing pictures?
Rahul —> There’s a saying in Marathi, “Thodkyaat godi”. I live by that principle. I prefer to get the effect and feel I am looking for while shooting, so I can reduce the amount of time required to post-process. That way I can spend more time behind a camera and less time in front of a computer.
14.Any idols that you admire?
Rahul —> I admire Steve McCurry, David LaChappelle, Annie Leibovitz, Mike Peters among many others. Some of my friends are also awesome photographers; Nitin Joshi is one of them.
15.You settled in Pune, why did not you think Belgaum as a option?
Rahul —> Ultimately I want to be a full-time advertising photographer and Mumbai is the center of that activity. Pune is within a 2-hour drive and removed from the crazy life and weather in Mumbai.
16.One dream location you want to shoot and whom?
Rahul —> I dream of shooting Dream Theater in Ladakh, Porcupine Tree in Patagonia and Symphony X in Pompeii.
17.What do you love the most about your job?
Rahul —> I can go to work in shorts and slippers! Going on a shoot is like a picnic and I can stay at home the rest of the time, working on the pictures.
18.What would you say to other enthusiast photographers out there who aspire to what you have achieved?
Rahul —> See the final photograph in your mind’s eye before you shoot it.
19.Do u think Belgaum has good quality labs for printing of commercial photos. Your thoughts?
Rahul —> I have not yet found a better printing lab than Subhash Photos. They work with minimum fuss and quality is top-notch.
20.Your favourite place in Belgaum?
Rahul —> Ramdev Galli, my home; I enjoy wandering around Camp and Nanawadi as well.
21.In your view is this website doing good for Belgaumites?
Rahul —> AllaboutBelgaum is the only site I go to when I want to get news about my hometown.
See Rahul’s Photos:
Kenya Unplugged: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rahuldeshpande/sets/72157619400689539/