Monday, November 29, 2010


Possibly the most talented person we know firsthand, Shivya Kochar was always an intellectual. I have known her practically her entire life. Someone who started out as an awkward silent child has today, grown to be an adroit photographer/writer/graphic artist/creative wizard. She isn't an exhibitionist, which is why we interviewed her to put her in the spotlight for once.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Shivya. 
I like to draw/paint and space out..but mostly I take photos.
I dream every night and I never get bored.

When did you start?
Taking photos? Its been a while.

What got you interested in photography?
I've always kind of had an OCD driven necessity to record my life. I've kept diaries since 4th grade, pages and stacks of journals all piled up with every silly feeling to life transformational changes. My interest in photographs developed from that need, to support my writing as visual aid. Eventually, somehow though, my writer's block lasted too long and I grew more and more interested in photography. Soon it became the other way around, words became limited to captioning photos. I guess I realized just a photograph can say a million things, sometimes even that which we cannot express in words. Life changed.

What does your camera equipment consist of?
At the moment, my equipment is shamefully limited. I have my canon DSLR ♥, EoS 500 D to be precise. Lenses a few (well two), 10-20 mm (f4-5.6 ) EX DC Wide-angle Sigma, EFS 15-55mm macro. My extremely heavy, yet trusty, local tripod. I carry a point and shoot around on casual occasions, Sony Cybershot (The one with that automatically detects a smile and takes a photo. Fascinating.) I also love to experiment with different filters, the IR filter is my current obsession. My awesome new Sony camorder takes some pretty decent shots as well, not to mention 164 minutes of high-definition video.

What do you like shooting? And what time of the day do you prefer to shoot?
I'm a big candid junkie. I guess because I'm principally a lazy person I like to take photos of things as they pass by in its natural form. I'm really into street photography, portraits to be precise. Also, if I can improve I'd love to further experiment with High-speed photography. The results are always gasp-worthy. 
Time of the day that I prefer, hm..that really depends on what I want to shoot, right. I've never really had a masterpiece in a low light setting, so thats an incentive kill. Yet I know better than to limit myself due to preference. I take photos whenever my finger feels an itch towards the shutter button, could be anytime of the day really. No preference. 

What's your biggest photography pet peeve(s)?
I wouldn't call it a pet peeve, but there's something about the repetitive close-up shots of flowers and leaves with dewdrops etc. that tend to put me off. Don't get me wrong, I love nature. But I personally won't find myself peering down a plant with a bumble-bee sucking nectar to get a shot that looks just the bazillion other close-ups of plants. There's nothing original or dominantly expressive about such shots. Not being opinionated though, I might change my fickle mind about that.. but at the moment, yes.

Favorite photographer(s) and why?
My all time favorite photographer, photojournalist rather, is Steve McCurry. Not just for his portrait of the "Afghan girl" but because I closely follow his career and aspire to be just like him. My other more artsy photographic inspirations are Martin Stranka and the collective works of Robert and Shana Parkeharrison. I've also been inspired a great deal by my mentor Gilad Hamid Ahuri.

What/who are your inspirations? 
Well, people do inspire me a great deal but more than that, I get inspired by life. I think the word inspiration itself is so intangible that mostly (for me, atleast) its hard to place where it hits you from. It comes to me as a jolt of distraction at any moment, if I'm lucky I hold onto it and build upon it. Most of time though, it leaves sooner than it comes.

Favorite musician/artists/authors?
I've never been decisive enough to have constant all time favorite music artists.. I like the clarity that the Beatles bring with their songs, I like the dark twisted-ness of MCR, recently I've been largely inspired by the pretty,dreamy lyrics of Adam Young's Owl City project paired with techno sounds. I had a huge phase with Japanese visual kei music, but I don't think I'm into all that anymore. Oh I like John Mayer too.
As for visual artists, I like the works of Taro Yamamoto. I love Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Modern art, predominantly. I also have a great respect for manga artists such as Masashi Kishimoto.
As for authors.. hmm,I read a large diverse amount of books. Harry Potter is my all time favorite. J.K Rowling is amazing. I like the sensitive and elaborate novels written by Jodi Picoult. Just going to name a few authors, Umberto Eco, Dan Brown, Micheal Crichton, Mark Haddon... from the top of my head.

Do you usually edit your picture or prefer the raw version?
I edit almost all my pictures. I also keep copies of the raw versions, but if I want to display my photos, I make it a point to touch it up or sometimes I get carried away too. Photoshop requires artistic discretion as well, I believe. I'm not into heavy manipulations but I'd love to learn more of the possibilities and expand my interests.

What are you aspiring for at the moment?
I'm not good at momentary goals, I always aspire big, mostly vague ideals. But at the moment, as an immediate not thought of answer just off my head, I aspire to get an IB diploma, to get better at vector art, photography ofcourse. I aspire to be a better person (unoriginal but true.) Oh yeah, I want to learn how to cook some good food too.

If you could photograph/take pictures of any person or place in the world, who/where would it be?
I would love to, I mean I literally repeatedly dream of going to the Arctic Region and getting some mind-blowing shots of that clear expanse of icy white horizon meeting the stark blue sky. Cold, frozen places fascinate me to no limit. I'd like to get there before Global Warming melts away all that beauty. Now thats an another thing I aspire to do right there.

What is one photography rule you don't understand?
Art has no rules or limitations. Photography is art ofcourse. I mean thats how I think of it, if there are any rules..I probably don't know of them.

What is one odd thing you love? (anything, doesn't have to be photography related)
Even though I'm not known as a physical person, I love holding hands till I get sweaty palms. I love sweaty palms.

Three things about you that no one knows?
1. I'm a really bad listener. I have serious issues with zoning out completely and I've made a talent out of stringing together appropriate conversational fillers that I judge by the few stray words I catch. I'm not trying to indicate that I'm the only one with something interesting to say, the problem actually lies in me. However, over time people do become exceptions to this bad habit.

2. I've never understood how deductive reasoning works.

3. I love my brother. People easily assume because I'm a complete polar personality to him, I don't attempt to understand him and he doesn't follow my ideals so I don't love him. This is probably some form of common deductive reasoning again, because even though all of that is true, by some miracle of natural biological programming, I love him.

One thing/person you could never get tired of shooting?
Honestly,I like shooting pretty much everything. However, one thing I can never get enough of is..the sky. The distinct sunny hues, cloud patterns, Delhi smog, rainy skies, midnight skies.. its different every time, everyday and I never tire of it. I take pictures of the sky almost daily. 

What would you like to do with the rest of your life?
Making plans are such a killjoy. So even though I have a vague idea, I'd like to say: I have no idea.

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