Being a wedding photographer, or any photographer for that matter, comes with its share of burdens. You find yourself doing the dance between staying inspired, earning a living and making sure that you meet client expectations… after all, you have been hired to photograph a wedding because of your expertise. These burdens are no stranger to Juya Gentil, who gave one of the most insightful talks at SILK INSPIRE 2017. How do you keep going without running the risk of getting bored? How do you deal with the inevitable fears that go with the creatively challenging profession that photography is? These are questions that go through any photographer’s mind at some stage or the other.
Emotion, Connection & Fun
When you look at Juya’s photography, you see a fearless go-getter who is unafraid to get his shot. At 28, he had a decade’s worth of photography experience behind him. He uses ambient, available light, and strives to be creative no matter what the situation is. “One moment can change anything. My work is all natural light. And the light may not be great, but suddenly there’s light and you need to take advantage of the moment. You may get one or two minutes of good light and you have an idea and you just have to push it and try to get it!”
Juya’s fearlessness translated on stage too, where he showed entire sets of images in the sequences that led to the final shots, all the while talking about his process. These included his mistakes, his on-the-spot experiments, basically his entire thought process as he tried to find the best possible frame in that moment. His photographic process involves three important things: Emotion, Connection & Fun. If a photograph conveys any one or a combination, he considers it good. This triad is the essence of his photographs, but, what does he do in situations where they may not be present? “I get nervous and anxious even, but that doesn’t help me get creative with my shots. The most important thing at that time is to change my perspective and try to make it aesthetically beautiful. I may do portraits that are beautiful but may not have the concept… a photograph should ideally have it all.”
His go-getter attitude and drive to produce quality work, translated into a creatively intense workshop for the attendees of SILK INSPIRE 2017. As Prashaunth Jagannathan, a business analyst turned photographer put it, “He made me see the beauty that can come through the play of light. After his workshop, which was so incredibly informative, I’ve become less reliant on flash and more aware of the environment that I’m shooting in. He didn’t hold back on his critique either, and very clearly told me what I need to improve in my photogaphy.”
Anupa Shah, who has been a photographer for the last three years found a big change in her photography after attending Juya’s workshop. “Juya showed us how to see light. My head was bursting with everything I’d learnt and my work began changing for the better. I was a part of Susaana Barbera’s masterclass at SILK INSPIRE 2016 and I was blown away. Attending Juya’s this year just tied all the learning in beautifully. I was always safe with my photography, but now I’m unafraid to push the creative limits of what I do.”
Being unafraid is key to this profession, and it is interesting to understand how someone as young and simultaneously experienced as Juya, keeps the demons at bay. “Being obsessed with photography is okay, but if that’s all I’m going to be thinking about and doing, then it’s going to be a problem and I won’t have a balanced life.. My solution to that is to keep pursuing other interests… normal interests. I want to be consistently inspired and energetic about photography and to make my living off it.
Reposting from @busybeestudio : This eccentric pic was a part of an assignment that I had to complete while learning with @juyaphoto . It’s a self potrait. It’s colours and craziness is a perfect time reflection of me and has been beautifully brought out during this wonderful learning experience in Goa at @silkphotos. So grateful to Juya & @silkphotos for such a life transforming workshop! These few days were priceless and will forever be etched in my heart. Truly brought out the best within me that I didn’t know existed.
Stagnation and boredom is another concern that comes up. “ Because I started so young, I fear I may get bored. And I don’t want that, so I find inspiration from my ‘everyday’ as well. I flew a kite this year. I did it a lot as a child and I stopped. We have a kite festival in September, and I did it this year and that moment was really amazing and gave me a lot of energy. Small things can inspire me a lot. It doesn’t have to be a gallery or internet images.”
Along with finding ways to stay inspired, Juya urges a more practical approach to your photography, “Look for new things to do in your photography. I can’t imagine taking pictures with the same ideas for the next 10 years. Quite simply, one must change and evolve.”
SILK INSPIRE 2017 was an incredible experience, and SILK INSPIRE 2018 in Bangalore promises even more excitement.
If you have thoughts to share about Juya’s talk and masterclass, let us know in the comments.