Before walking you through the beautiful journey of Prashin Jagger (who is not remotely related to or a fan of Mick Jagger), I would personally like to thank Prashin for giving me the opportunity to learn, vicariously experience, and narrate this journey of a photographer.
I was speaking to Prashin Jagger for the first time. We had only exchanged a few DMs (direct messages) on Instagram. We were scheduled to speak at 8 in the night on a Tuesday. He was driving back home when I called him. He was expecting to reach home in another 10-15 minutes, and we agreed to connect then.
Prashin has a boyish, honest voice. Someone you could always talk to. Since I had never met him or seen his photo before, my mind began to paint a rough sketch of how he would look like as a person. Based on his voice, and the way he spoke, I felt he would be a lean person with a charming personality. And when he shared his photo for this interview, my visualization of his personality was not very off.
I have always believed that art has a way of manifesting itself into a person’s journey through life. Eventually, more often than not, it becomes the journey. I believe it happened with Prashin, too. His father was a naval officer, but was quite interested in photography. While Prashin grew up with a lot of cameras around him, he never tinkered with them.
An IT engineer from Chembur, Mumbai, Prashin’s journey as a photographer started over 7 years back. Prashin’s sister, Priti, gifted him a pocket camera, and which sparked his interest in photography. His sister helped him kick start his journey, but it was his friend, now wife, Deepa, who played an instrumental role in deepening his knowledge about photography with his wife.
He met Deepa during his IT engineering days. She was pursuing her bachelors in Bio-technology. Photography became the common ground there these two unique individuals met and bonded. Deepa helped Prashin build a strong foundational learning about the subject. They even worked together for a few years, but then Deepa decided to not pursue photography professionally. She is now pursuing her masters in Pali, an ancient Indo-Aryan language, and pursues photography for herself. It gives her the freedom to photograph whatever she would like to. Her work was recently featured in the ‘Habitat’ issue of the Pix Quarterly magazine. Prashin deeply believes that she is a phenomenal photographer.
Together, they are trying to figure out a way that is conducive to Deepa’s creative process and allows them to continue working together. “But I don’t know if that’s necessary, really, but it’s something we really enjoy doing together. Like we shoot a lot of family and weddings together. We still want to shoot families and weddings, I like to jump into the way I am, how I shoot, and how Deepa shoots with me.”, he shared.
They prefer to shoot weddings with a very non-intrusive, “fly on the wall” kind of an approach. They spend 2-3 days with the families involved in the wedding, when they are come together for the functions and rituals. They focus on documenting moments that highlight the value in their candid interactions.
“That is what builds memories in your later life than those static moments in your life. Those non-glamorous moments are what you remember in your life. Shooting mundane things is very important. Because that is where our life is most of the times. We are living mundanely.”, he said.
“Shooting mundane things is very important. Because that is where our life is most of the times. We are living mundanely.”
Priti and Deepa introduced Prashin to the world of photography. But it was his mentor, Zishaan Akbar Latif who helped him deepen his understanding of the medium – technically and artistically. Prashin met Zishaan in a very unexpected way. Prashin was part of the Hindi film “3 Idiots”. He played the role as one of the students in the film, like an extra. The role got him a lot of attention, which he doesn’t care much about. “For me, the most amazing part was meeting the photographer of the film (Zishaan), spending time with him, getting to know him, and which eventually led to me to meet him a lot more and learning photography from him”, said Prashin. He considers Zishaan as his mentor because he learnt a lot simply through conversations. They didn’t shoot together or discuss photography. Prashin would show his work to Zishaan for his critique and comments. Insightful conversations with Zishaan helped Prashin learn and grow as a photographer.
Prashin’s love for photography grew organically. But in every journey, there is a point, a milestone if you will, when you realise that this is what you want to do. “There’s a point when you know that you really want to get supremely serious about it. You are enjoying it, you are loving it, but typically there is that moment, that milestone, when you think that ‘This is it. This is something I need to pursue more actively’”. For him, it is was always trying to get better and learn more about photography. He is very inspired by people who are pursuing photography seriously, and it further fuels his hunger to learn more and improve.
While he has been pursuing photography professionally for more than 7 years, Prashin believes there is no such thing as doing professionally if you are serious about it. For him the love of capturing moments – whether for himself or a client – is all that matters. He has worked for mainstream media like Rolling Stone and First Post.
Professional part of Prashin’s journey roots from music which he considers core to his existence. Getting into concert photography was a natural progression for him. He had a pocket camera, people who organised gigs needed a photographer, it was that organic. He was getting free access to gigs, feed into his need for music, and take photos. It was more than a win-win situation, it was a win-all situation for him. Gig photography is technically challenging as the lighting is constantly changing. It helped sharpen his photography skills, constantly looking for a a new composition. He prefers to shoot in manual mode as it allows him to meter accurately.
He recalled an interesting perspective that Zishan shared with him once, “When you are shooting, you must shoot like a boxer. A boxer is never in one place, he is always moving, always looking for angles to capitalise on his opponent”. Prashin has taken this advice to heart. He is never satisfied with one angle because it is good. He keeps moving to find that better perspective.
“When you are shooting, you must shoot like a boxer. A boxer is never in one place, he is always moving, always looking for angles to capitalise on his opponent.”
“I think I am a dog.”, he said, and we laughed. “They move me a lot”.
He tried his hand at a concept project wherein he documented the life of street dogs. The project is a work in progress, and it will be completed when he feels it is. I feel he knows that this project will never reach that stage because he loves dogs so much and he can’t be done photographing them.
Before the interview, I was looking up Prashin online and landed on his website. I found a series called “Mistakes”. The name was intriguing, like a clickbait. I had to look. I clicked the link with a cliched mindset.
I thought the project would be about moments capturing the mistakes people might have made. But, each photo appeared to be absolutely fine. Most them were rather very captivating. For Prashin, it is a collection of photos he shot on film and have some technical mistake that may not be visible to an average viewer. The imperfection of those photos is appealing to him. “But, I like the result of it. There is some sense of cohesion in the whole collection of images, so I put them together as ‘mistake in photography’ or something to that effect”.
My conversation with Prashin went on longer than what I have documented here. We talked about his musical background (he was part of a fusion rock band during his college days), love for film photography (he has a very convincing argument against film photography being expensive!), social media and his expansion into video. But somehow, this journey of a photographer is more compelling to me than anything else.
Prashin’s love for music, photography, and basketball are a few elements of his multi-faceted, limitless personality. Rarely do I encounter a person who is so open and liberated, for whom anything less than natural progression is mediocre. I wish I had the opportunity to meet Prashin in person, and experiencing his photographic journey would have been more exciting.
P.S. : This conversation was held long back, and has taken more than the expected time to get published. I won’t dilute its beauty with excuses. However, I shall remain forever grateful to Prashin for investing faith and patience in me.