Meet Ashveen Ram – A talented Mauritian photographer and a passionate visual storyteller. Recently his work was featured in the Porlwi festival of contemporary culture.
Let’s learn more about him and his creative passion…
So who is Ashveen ? I mean the person and not the photographer ?
Well, I’m a rather calm and introvert guy born in the early 1980s and lived a rather normal childhood life of those years. I became passionate about computers and informatics during my early 20s and studied Computer Science at tertiary level. I got a job in an engineering company in Port Louis which helped me expand my knowledge in Accountancy and applied computer programming as well. It’s been nearly 20 years now that I am still working at the same company and got interesting opportunities as well. During my free time I love to roam the island and discover places I haven’t been before; be it rural life, cultural voyages or even nature discoveries.
What first sparked your interest in photography ?
I started photography when I was still at primary school, around the age of ten or so but at that time it wasn’t yet of a passion. It was still a new thing and it was a luxury. With time and evolution, and with the influence of the digital world I got more interested about the artistic aspect of photography and thereon the flame kept on burning. I was also fortunate enough to meet real professional photographers who advised me a lot about photography.
How would you describe yourself as a photographer ?
Well, I am first of all a self-taught photographer and learned many things by myself through experimentation. From time to time the internet also helped. As a photographer I would rather be described as a photo-journalist in the sense that I favor images that tell a story.
If you could go on assignment anywhere in the world to shoot whatever you wanted; where and what would it be, and why?
I would choose India and it would be the lifestyle or street photography. I haven’t been to India yet but through others eyes and media I know that India is a very photographic country; the people, the colors, the busy urban life contrasting with the simple village life.
What is your creative process like? What are your start, middle and end points ?
My process is rather simple. Before I do anything the image is already captured in my mind as to how I want it, and the rest is only executed to get the results. The starting point in this case would be the conceptualization which involves an analysis of the environment including lights and shades, and the middle process would require experimenting with different possibilities towards the same aim and the end points would probably end up on my computer for the final touches.
Can you share with the audience the gear you use and your process for getting that great shot ?
According to me, the gear is only a tool to ease the process, and the rest depends on the eye. I say so because my gear certainly evolved with time but the better pictures weren’t with any specific gear. I still love images I did with my pocket camera during the early days (a Canon Ixus), or even my smartphone. My current gear includes: 3 Nikon SLR bodies (D5300, D7200 & D750) and quite a handful of lenses depending on the situation (2 ultra-wides, 3 primes, 1 tele lens and 1 general lens). A drone, the DJI Phantom 3, is also involved.
Speaking of drones…Your drone images are sublime. What advice and tips would you have for people embarking on aerial photography?
Thank you very much. Aerial photography is not necessarily a complex or difficult field of photography and the fact that it is of a different perspective most of the time automatically creates the wow factor because the normal eye isn’t used to see things from that point of view. The only drawback of such method is the investment on equipment and the high risk factor of losing that investment in the sense that you can pay a high price for a drone and out of inattention you can crash the drone on the first flight without obtaining any results. So just be careful about that. Concerning the aerial photography tips I would say avoid harsh sunny days and opt for diffused lighting (morning and afternoon lights) for better results and plan your flights; before flying, decide would you want to capture to maximize autonomy.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I mostly experiment a lot and practice helps a lot. If I see something interesting another photography did, I’ll try to understand the process behind.
What is the picture you are most proud of ? Why ?
That is quite difficult to tell since I’m proud of all my images, and at the same time I cannot control the taste of my audience… meaning that, one image that I love might not necessary please someone else and weirdly, images that I did which I didn’t necessarily enjoyed that much could be the audience choice. But if I have to choose one for the current time that would be a drone shot; that of the pyramid of Plaine Magnien. (picture below)
Where do you find inspiration?
I would say from everywhere. Details matter and I observe a lot. Sometimes it can be from the places I visit and sometimes from fellow photographers who trigger other possibilities in my mind.
What would be your top tips for the aspiring photographers?
Be yourself and experiment/practice as much as possible. We all have our own way of seeing things and expressing oneself is the most satisfying achievement.