Mohsin Abrar is Marketing Manager with Friesland Campina M East. When he is not strategising and planning to develop new markets and communication concepts for mega brands such as Rainbow, he relies on his true friend the Camera to deep dive into his passion for photography. Here he is in a freewheeling tete a tete with Brand Knew sharing what ticks and clicks with him.
BK. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
I am marketeer by profession, and moved to Dubai 5 years ago because of my profession. I did not have a social circle here and in weekends took to photography, I resonated well with photography as it gave me a creative vent out for messages and impressions of the world which i wanted to convey and impact people. I believe that photography is one amazing medium to convey relevant and impactful messages which leaves an impression in the minds of people.
BK. What inspires you most and what keeps you inspired?
Being relevant and inspiring an generation to open their minds to contribute positively to the society and to explore the world by traveling for making it a better place to live in.
BK. Is there a specific area that you focus on like nature or objects or travelling or wildlife or your work encompasses all of them?
I am a story teller and go after images which convey a story.
BK. Which is your favourite piece of work, something that you take great pride in, and why?
“Between Land and Sea”, “Yetis of Nepal”; these 2 are very close to my heart, as one focusses on landscape and the other on people. Both of it made it to the National Geographic charts and in fact Between Land and Sea is also going to be featured in the 100 Best Landscapes of the World book by National Geographic. Between Land and Sea inspires you to travel and see the world in a different perspective, while Yetis of Nepal focusses on the Aghoris of Nepal.
BK. What do you see are the biggest challenges that photographers and photography per se faces given the current context of mobile phones substituting as cameras?
I see it in a positive light the fact that story telling became a bit more simpler, when there is incubation time to take a picture from DSLR, mobile shots can be taken then and there, ultimately its about capturing the moment, right. The only thing that i would exercise concern is about the kind of content that is churned out, it has be relevant and not random.
BK. When you are composing a shot, do you see it in the mind’s eye first or you let the lens do the talking?
Conceptualization of the images and seeing an image is what i have been training my eyes and mind on, it is a long journey in this endeavor and i have made the stride in this direction. And then for sure the equipment is very important for bringing the imagination to life.
BK. You have been doing work that has been nominated by the likes of National Geographic- could you share some more details about that?
National Geographic is the holy grail for photographers and I have grown up seeing inspiring pictures in Nat Geo. My dream is and always will be to work closely with them. I am happy at this moment that they have recognized some of my work, i just wish it was a bit more but that motivates me to work harder.
BK. Does your busy schedule as a Marketing Manager of an MNC impede with your passion for photography?
I have been a weekend warrior, weekends for me has been always about photography and exploring. There was a time when I left for Vietnam on Thursday evening for photography and was back in Dubai on Sunday morning to join work.
BK. Geographically do you focus only on the UAE or you shoot pictures in other geographies?
I have travelled to more than 40 countries around the globe for photography, and yes i love shooting in the UAE for the diverse photography options it provides.
BK. Which is your favourite hotspot for photography and why do you say that?
Picking one place will do injustice to all the other places globally that are present. I am in complete admiration of God’s creation and am awestruck at every new place I land in. I don’t think one life will be enough to do justice to capture everything.
BK. What would be your advise to budding photographers- what do they need to bring in to really ‘ click ‘ in this profession?
Today we click as many pictures every 2 minutes as the whole humanity did back in the 1800s. Unfortunately, most of them land up in social media and occupy irrelevant space on our hard drives. What we need to do is shoot with purpose, this also applies true for me.
BK. Do you prefer working with certain camera and lens brands and why?
I love shooting with Nikon, I own a D810 with the Trinity Lenses. It’s a perfect companion for me because of it’s precision and speed. I find the functions very simple even for a layman and the output quite exceptional.
BK. We understand that there is a very strong philanthropic side to you- would you want to share a bit more about it?
I strongly believe that we have to live our life positively beyond the 9 to 5 and can contribute to the society. For me, the girl child is very close to my heart and I have a firm belief that if we educate the girl child we can educate the world. I want to personally fund the same through my photography. I want to spend 60% of the picture sales proceeds to this cause and use the rest of the 40% to reinvest back into photography so that it becomes a self fulfilling project.