Celebrated fashion photographer, Raj Suri who has often played hide and seek with the lens has given us great reason to admire his work. A photographer, talent spotter, art director, film co-producer, he's a man who wears many hats but gives each position his undivided attention and passion. Be it nature, vintage frames or high-octane frames of fashion, Raj adds his own spin to the set creating an aura of sorts. He is the principal photographer of the World Super Model contest which is set to take over Fiji Islands this season. The finalists will be announced in an exclusive event in New Delhi today before the contestants are groomed further. Raj who is also the National Creative Director of this grand initiative exclusively chats up with Sk, to share with us about the contest,on being a fashion photographer and everything that keeps him occupied.
What does being a part of Indian World Supermodel mean to you?
Well, I have always been for the cause for having Indian talent on the the 'global scene'. I believe Indian models have limited representation overseas and I feel privileged to help in selecting talent for international platforms. Hence, it means a great deal to be a part of such a prestigious judging platform.
What are your expectations from the contestants who qualify as finalists?
Given that this is a model competition, I am expecting certain physical attributes like height, structure, style and most of all communication with great amount of confidence!
To be a photographer's muse, what according to you are must-haves?
A model must know how to communicate in front of the camera and not afraid to face the unknown - and that comes with self belief.
What are the challenges of being a talent spotter and mentor?
One of the hardest things is to deliver good talent consistently - spotting raw talent is just the start. I'm someone who expects full commitment and delivery, both from myself and the talent. So, I give it my all when I'm working towards molding someone and expect the same in return.
Do you believe that supermodels are rare to spot these days considering cut-throat competition? What makes a supermodel?
There is competition in every line. If one has a final goal locked up in your mind, I believe it is absolutely achievable! The same applies to becoming a supermodel where one needs to be confident, courageous, determined and sustained in terms of the efforts one put in.
When it comes to Indian brigade of models, who are your top three favourites?
Well, now that is a hard one! I am a bit old school here. I love the consistent work of Nethra Ragurathan, Tinu Vergese, Sonalika Sahay, Noyonika Chatterjee and many others! They have such beautiful faces, bold walks and a great structure to compliment their profession. These models are gifted with spark, spunk and the 'x' factor too!
Do you believe that all the beauty pageants ultimately open the doors for Bollywood? If yes, then why?
I prefer the word "Contest", we call my own Australian contest "Miss India Australia Talent Search" or "Indian World Supermodel" . I believe that contests are a journey to gain experience, meet like minded people and use that to reach your ultimate goal. If Bollywood is that goal I advise my talent to take the full headed plunge, focus, be pro-active as there is no room for half hearted approach in this industry.
What are your current projects that keep you occupied?
Well, after New Delhi I will be on the panel at the World Supermodel Australia in Sydney and photographing/judging Miss Photogenic for Fiji for the World Supermodel finals in November. I'm also working on a bridal catalogue for Australia, 2013 . Apart from that, conceptualizing a "male' contest from India for overseas is also on the cards. Also, I do have a few projects in the pipeline with my brother Sanjay Suri in the film arena.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Does any person know the answer to that question in this world? (smiles) .
Well, I would like to keep working between India, Australia and overseas in the cultural space of fashion, talent, film and art!
From the current breed of fashion photographers, whose work do you admire?
Unfortunately, I have not followed anyone closely from India to answer that - I need to educate myself more, I guess. However, I loved the documentary and fashion work of the Late Prabuddha Dasgupta. It was outstanding and heavenly inspiring!