A good snapshot stops a moment from running away – Eudora Welty.
There’s more to photography than what is visible in a view finder. Introducing in this week’s featured is the man behind Shutterbug. Alot can be said about him but to sum it all, Shuja is a designer by training, an artist by inclination,and a photographer by choice (Source: Shutterbug Facebook page). Our reporter Khadija Raheem decided to uncover more about Shuja; in person.
Was photography a choice or another reason for diversity?
It was definitely a choice. It’s just that I discovered it a bit late.
Did you always know what you had to do in your life?
Nope. I did my high school in Science and graduation in Commerce, but I still had no clue what I really want to become in my life. Due to lack of exposure and career guidance, I had very conventional choices; doctor, engineer or pilot. After my high school, I wanted to explore the field of Arts, but as with most parents, my parents also thought Arts is for GIRLS only. I wasted two years after my B.Com but eventually convinced my parents to let me explore this field and I joined Karachi School of Arts in 1995. Just after couple of months, I was dead sure that this is what I want to do. Right after my one-year course at KSA, I enrolled myself for B.De (Bachelors in Design) at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 1996.
With so many young talent coming in the field of photography, what advice would you like to give them?
I’ve got two… the first is: HAVE PATIENCE! Not just in photography, in any field. In my eleven year career, I have worked and interviewed a lot of fresh graduates and the first question they ask is ‘how much money will I get and what will be my designation?’
The second is: learn, learn and LEARN! First of all, buying a digital camera doesn’t make you a photographer. Second of all, the practical world is way too different from a college life.
Bachelors in Communications, Art Director, Creative Director & a talented Photographer! How has the journey been so far?
Awesome! From college to working for someone to working for myself, every era had its own charm and experiences.
One person you would like to work with?
Well, I would like people to wish to work with me instead. ;)
What have been the highest high & the lowest low?
Lowest low was when I used the manual camera (borrowed from a friend) for the first time and clicked two rolls (36 pictures each roll) of mine and half of class’s clay assignment. When I got the results, both the rolls were absolutely blank as I never loaded them correctly, and everyone was looking at me as we all destroyed the clay sculptures for our next assignment. That was back in first semester.
Highest high was in my fifth semester when we properly started learning photography. I was really excited and over-confident in the beginning of the semester, but when I completed my very first assignment, it was a disaster. I literally bailed out from my class for two weeks and I thought photography is not for me. After two weeks, my teacher, Farah Mehbood (we used to call her Farah Jee), caught me near the cafeteria and gave me a two-hour life-changing lecture. At the end of the semester, we had to exhibit our work. At the exhibition, Farah Jee came to me, squeezed my ear, and said, “somebody was saying he can’t do photography at all. What is this then? Now grade yourself” and I said “A+?” I was the only student out of 27 to get the distinction! All the pictures for exhibition were taken the same night I got lectured by her.
What did you have in mind before launching Shutterbug? How much have you achieved yet?
Since I started learning photography at college, I always wanted to have my own setup. Then, I worked with almost all the photographers in Pakistan as Art/ Creative Director and a lot of times, I use to face problems due to lack of advertising angle in photographers. That is one thing that also pushed me towards launching Shutterbug! Now, when I do the shoots, I keep in mind the problems I use to face and give proper importance to the composition, angles and lighting. So yes, I have achieved.
Did you have to work for the Shutterbug clientele from the scratch or your experience in the marketing and advertising proved a step up?
Definitely ten years of my advertising career really helped boost my career. My clients are mostly advertising agency. They trust me more because I know better what they need in terms of creative/advertising angles and not just pretty pictures. And, I made contacts while I was working for different agencies.
The best advice you never took?
If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
That would be too personal.
Where do you plan to take Shutterbug from here?
As I was working for advertising industry simultaneously till 2009, I wasn’t able to give desired time to Shutterbug! It’s a long journey towards making it an international brand and I feel I have just started.
Have you ever gone to a wedding uninvited?
Did an impromptu dance in front of an audience?
Cried at a movie?
YES… Quite a few times!
One final word to the whole journey of your life?
What’s meant to be, will always find its way!