Picture Perfect

Ambica Gulati

Hardev Singh Architecture and Interior Photographer

In fact, the father-son team sometimes works on the same project and despite differences, they continue to evolve in the work, combining the experience of the older Singh with the new skills of the young one.

‘My father evolved with time. He had a big state-of-the-art studio, Provo, in South Delhi. The quality that came out was worth the investment. Even the stalwart Raghu Rai used to come for developing films there. But when the demand for films went down, he shut down the studio. The lesson that I have learned from him is to always do my homework,’ says Harmeet.

The photography market has changed over the years, many youngsters have stepped in and hotels to don’t offer the same rates. Hardev’s work, however, continues. ‘There are new people, new destinations, new ventures, and new areas to explore.’ Father and son travel to exhibitions and trade fairs across the world. Harmeet also puts the work on social media and learns from the many amateurs he finds while browsing through as he believes they have a certain purity and perspective.

There are pros and cons in the market. ‘I used to bring equipment piece by piece, pay a 240% customs duty. I built it up piece by piece. Now, you order online and it’s delivered to your doorstep. But quality and the man behind the camera are the deciding factors. And some brands like Marriott want only that,’ smiles Hardev confidently.

On people approaching him to take this up as a profession, he says, ‘I don’t encourage youngsters to go into still photography, everything is now in motion, and still, cameras are going to be over. With such good high-resolution cameras for movie making, you don’t miss a moment or an angle. Videos will stay forever.’

While each project is Hardev’s best project, he still remembers a calendar he had shot for the India Today group around twelve years ago. ‘I spent a day at the Taj Mahal in Agra and took pictures as the light changed, capturing the different facets in black and white. The calendar became so popular that they printed it for two or three years. The then prime minister of England, Tony Blair, took some with him to gift.’

With Harmeet around, Hardev enjoys the work more. ‘He came on his own. I didn’t bring him in and he is more passionate than me. He has a better eye for detail. During his childhood, he would tag along, eventually joined me and now we work on independent projects as well as together,’ Hardev is all smiles.

A project that Hardev keeps thinking of doing but hasn’t got down to is a large format book on the Golden Temple in Amritsar. ‘I’m always involved in back to back commercial projects and this one takes a backseat,’ he says with a deep longing to pick up his camera for this.

The legendary, award-winning photographer is acclaimed nationally and internationally and has served on several juries for awards in photography. He has also been the mentor to several photographers including the award-winning Tarun Khiwal.

Hardev Singh is a talent who remains unprecedented having brought immense laurels and recognition to the industry he has been associated with for the last several decades.

Ambica Gulati
Armed with an experience of two decades in journalism, Ambica Gulati is a storyteller. She loves meeting people, exploring places and is turning into a photo geek. She has been part of an eminent coffee table book 100 Legal Luminaries of India, worked in magazines (Life Positive, Swagat, Outlook Traveller), written on food, culture wellness and more, and is bored when stationed in one place for too long. Follow her on https://www.instagram.com/ambicagulati/