In our popular series 'In the Spotlight', we bring you another inspiring interview with Ishu Kler, who is an inspiring lifestyle & Documentary photographer, currently based in Canada.
Born in Vancouver, Canada. I am a lifestyle and documentary photographer. I was born in Canada, and moved to Delhi in 2011 where I studied my Diploma in Photography at the Academy of Photographic Excellence. My passion for visual arts has always led me to further my understanding in a way that always brings me some sort of life experience. Currently, I am also studying my BA in Graphic Design at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver.
2. Your photography experience: Tell us since when you've been taking pictures. When did you start taking photography seriously?
I have always had a love for photography - since I can remember. I always was the family photographer, starting at the age of five. I started pursuing photography on a higher level in 2010. After learning the basics of photography on my own through trial and error, I decided that I wanted and needed more. I then decided to pursue an education, but wanted to learn in something that would give me a brand new life experience. This marked the timing, for when I feel like my photography had become a focus for a rewarding life and career within this field.
3. What are your key areas of photography - travel/street/landscape/ wildlife/wedding/portraits/commercial? What makes you click? What have been your biggest achievements so far? What camera/lenses do you use and why?
I am a lifestyle photographer, who loves shooting a variety of work - including portraits and events. I do however, have a passion of travel and street photography. I feel like the two- lifestyle and travel, work well together. My style of photography reflects bold colours, and backgrounds - which I feel has a lot to do with the influence of my travels.
What makes me click? To be honest, my passion for photographs and capturing moments roots back to 2005. I still remember the moment, where the day after I had learned that my sister had passed away in a car accident, I was sitting in the study- with all of our family albums. One by one, I was opening them taking the photographs out, to create a slideshow in honour of her, for her funeral service. I remember as I was doing that, the thought hit me. This was all that I was left with. Pictures of her. Knowing this is what made me forever value the power of a photograph. Sometime’s that’s all we have. This frozen moment in time.
I currently am obsessed with my 50mm, prime and I also love shooting with my 18-135mm lens. My 50 mm really challenges me to move around and get as intimate or far from my subjects as I wish- so it's a lot of fun to shoot with. I love my 18-135mm because it has me covered for close ups and for wide angles - so its the perfect lens for when I am shooting lifestyle photography.
My biggest achievements, so far, have been my move to Delhi. Living in a place by myself, where I did not know anyone, and had to struggle to learn a new language and culture- was one of my life's biggest challenge. I learned so much about what I wanted out of life and about myself. Another achievement that I am very proud of is my trip to Costa Rica, with Photographers Without Borders - where again, I was travelling with people on my own, that I had never met or knew, while learning a different element of documentary photography.
4. What is so special about your city/country and its life/culture? Has photography changed your outlook/vision about your surroundings?
I feel Vancouver is filled with so many neat backdrops and landscapes - that you can never get bored of shooting! Cityscapes, mountains, blue bodies of water- we have it all! It’s also got such a diverse group of people, which is always fun. Every one of my clients brings forward a different culture, personality and life experience- that I feel like my knowledge of the world grows each day.
5. What are your sources of inspirations? Do you have some favourite photographers? How do you keep yourself motivated? How do you approach people for their pictures?
Sources of inspirations - my family. Favourite photographer at the moment definitely include Anushka Menon. Being a female in the industry, she has challenged the status quo and earned so much respect. Her style of photography also works of bold colours, which I really connect with.
The key for me, is to always make sure my subjects are comfortable. I always start off the session, with expectations but also let my clients take some time getting comfortable with the camera - while getting to now them. Making jokes is also one of the easiest ways to get your subjects smiling and comfortable- also, I tend to be a comedian when meeting new people always makes me nervous. My tendency to make jokes while nervous - works well for me in this profession.
Photography is a tool for communication. I think the biggest piece of advice I have for photographers is to always experience the world around them and to never limit their views and values. Travel! The experience of tasting different cultures, seeing different places and stepping out of your comfort zone is what defines your photography.