Self-taught in photography through his passion towards the beauty of landscapes, but more importantly automobiles, Bobby Roy started clicking pictures towards the end of his college days with a borrowed camera. Juggling with his passion, Roy was a copy-editor and writer for around 3 years before he took off professionally as a photographer. Sharing his images with friends, family and online – once he started getting assignments for automobile, landscape, and even wedding photography there was no turning back for him.
In love with his Canon and the world full of bright, contrasting and vivid colours, Rachana from Team Livingit interviews Bobby Roy on the behind-the-scenes scoop on his passion.
RJ: What inspired you to take up photography?
Bobby Roy: I have always been in love with two things in my life – automobiles and travelling. And I truly believe that’s what has inspired me, and to this day it still inspires me. Also, when I look at great photography happening around me, that inspires me as well. Apart from that, a lot of other factors has inspired me over the years – new places, colors, people, travel (but of course!) and also the fact that when I look through my own work, I get inspired to do better with each assignment.
RJ: When and how did you start experimenting with photography?
Bobby Roy: I started when I was back in school, that’s when I really got interested in this visual medium of telling stories through pictures. I became really interested in it seriously once I got into college. But back then I did not have a camera. So, I borrowed a friend’s camera and started to take pictures. However, I never attended any photography school nor did I pursue any course in photography, so, all I have learned over the years is by reading and of course a lot hands-on experience.
RJ: How would you define your style as a photographer?
Bobby Roy: Well, when we talk about a “style” of photography, I have seen many people, including a few photographers getting confused about it. Your style is like your signature, you see. There are many different, great photographers out there who possess some of the most amazing styles of photography that is instantly recognizable. My style of photography is to majorly play with colors and tell a visually interesting story.
Whether I am shooting a car, or a vast landscape or a bride, I try to incorporate contrasting colors into the frame that would define the mood in the picture because I truly believe, colors can say so much more than just be bright and beautiful.
RJ: Do you have any formal training as a photographer?
Bobby Roy: No, I do not have any formal training in photography. I am a self-taught photographer.
RJ: What was the turning point in your career that led to you becoming a professional photographer?
Bobby Roy: I was working full-time as a copy-editor & a writer before taking up photography as a full-time career. After working as a writer for 3 odd years during which I was constantly taking pictures for my own pleasure and was also sharing the pictures with friends, family and a lot of other people (online and offline). Eventually, I started getting paid assignments and then there was no looking back, really.
RJ: Professionally, you are a travel, automotive and wedding photographer – what do you enjoy about these?
Bobby Roy: Yes, that’s correct. There are different aspects that I enjoy about each one of these genres of photography. You see, when I am doing travel assignments, I start the process of taking pictures way before I am out on location shooting. I would research about the place, the people, and the culture and only then will I actually go ahead and plan the assignment. Travel photography gives you that opportunity to go visit new places, take pictures of wonderful landscapes, and meet scores of new people on the way. That is just the crux of the proverbial iceberg, though. There is just so much more to this.
As for automotive, well, it has to be my first love. People say cars (and bikes, or any other vehicle for that matter) are non-living objects. Well, I tend to look at it with a different perspective; I photograph them like I am photographing a living object! I like to communicate with them, with the light surrounding them; I like to know the character of each vehicle before I take a shot.
That makes me think, and when thinking happens, great work is bound to happen. For weddings, it is generally very hectic; that’s how most Indian weddings are. And in between all the chaos, I as a photographer need to find moments and through those moments I need to tell a visually impressive story. That is where the challenge lies, and wherever there is a challenge, I am up for it!
RJ: What are your favourite scenes/subjects to shoot and could you tell us why?
Bobby Roy: I think my favourite frame has to be one where I can merge a beautiful location with an amazing automobile as a subject. That is something which I really enjoying shooting.
RJ: Do you prefer to work with colour or black and white photography?
Bobby Roy: If I can be candid here, as much as I love black & white, colors are where my heart lies. I love using bright, often contrasting colors in my photography and that has become my style, if you will. I love colors because it’s exciting and amazing. I love it because it’s physical and sensual. I love it because it’s emotional and expressive. I love it because it’s so interesting. I feel I love colors also because it’s like a universal language (much like music) which we could use to say something; it reflects the mood that I am in, it says so much about how I actually feel.
RJ: What camera and equipment do you prefer to work with?
Bobby Roy: I love using any camera equipment that I can lay my hands on! Yes, I do shoot with Canon equipment, and it also depends on what the client requirement generally is as far as various technical aspects of an image is concerned, but you give me a phone camera, I am happy with it, you give a medium-format, I shall be more than glad to use that as well!
RJ: What is a camera you would recommend investing in?
Bobby Roy: Frankly, when I am not out on professional assignments, the only camera that I carry around is my smartphone camera because I truly believe; the technical development that a mobile phone camera has made over the years is absolutely tremendous! I know, many might not agree to my school of thought here, but I would say, start off with the camera that you already have – your mobile phone camera! Then, as you start to develop an aesthetic sense, invest in a better camera. It is as simple as that, really.
RJ: Do you prefer to work with natural light or studio light?
Bobby Roy: I work with both aspects – natural as well as studio strobes depending on what kind of a project am I doing and what the client requirement exactly is.
RJ: What does your post production process consist of?
Bobby Roy: Well, post-production in itself is a subject altogether. Professional level of retouching requires a lot of post-production, really whereby professional retouchers do the job according to the specific guidelines provided by the clients. I generally do not edit the pictures as I have got a team to do that for me who are professional retouchers and are masters of what they’re doing. So, I entrust the responsibility to them. Yes, I love the entire editing process, though, and whenever I can, I do edit a few pictures (mostly private, personal pictures, though).
RJ: If you could exhibit only a single picture, which one would you choose and why?
Bobby Roy: That is probably the trickiest question I have had to answer in a long time! You ask ANY photographer and there will not be a single photographer who can choose ONE single image as his favourite, really. There are so many, as a matter of fact. We perhaps need to sit over a cup of good coffee on a winter afternoon to discuss this, you see!
RJ: That was really a good one! What makes a good photograph stand out from the average?
Bobby Roy: Good light, composition, story-telling – I think these three simple aspects is what makes a good photograph instantly recognizable.
RJ: What project are you currently working on?
Bobby Roy: Well, I have come back from an interesting assignment where I was given the job of photographing the landscapes of Ladakh during winters, which I thoroughly enjoyed! Photographing landscapes where temperatures constantly dip to as low as -25 degrees Celsius was something that I truly enjoyed. My next few projects also involve travelling (a lot of it!), and I am also photographing a few interesting cars in the near future. What else do I need, right!?
RJ: What does photography mean to you?
Bobby Roy: Photography has changed my life, really. It is an art-form that addresses everyone who is willing to look at the details. For me, it simply means telling stories visually. That, I think, gives me the greatest satisfaction.
RJ: What is one thing you wish you knew when you started photography?
Bobby Roy: It is funny, how we all just try to lust after gear when we start out in photography. It happens with almost all of us, I suppose; it happened with me atleast! But, I don’t really look back or regret at that aspect of my life either because even that lust taught me quite a lot. But, if I were to start out today, I would say, it is really important as a photographer to be able to see the light and almost be able to read it instantly. So, reading the light, composing an image and telling a story by the mix of it all is what I feel is really the most important aspects that I wish we all knew when we started out.
RJ: Do you have any tips for those who want to develop their passion for photography into their profession?
Bobby Roy: The only tip I have for anyone who is really looking to take up photography seriously is to go out, shoot! Take pictures, be consistent with it and please do NOT think about getting into photography professionally, if all that matters to you is the money (or the fame!). Keep clicking. All the best!
As Roy mentions, a passion doesn’t need professional training; a passion simply needs to be a priority! Also, don’t forget to check his incredibly colourful Instagram page (definitely worth a scroll through!). You can connect with him at @thecanonfanboy