Photographer Gurvir Johal Interview - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Angela Adams Published 01/10/2016


Most of us are aware of the big names in photography, but what about the jobbing photographer, one who isn't necessarily entering competitions and selling training, but simply working hard at their craft to earn an income. Has the industry become devalued in the digital era - with all camera owners deemed photographers by the general public! Are full-time professional photographers an endangered species? Or can they still be found working diligently in our towns and villages - not only providing their clients with great photographs, but earning a good living too? With this in mind I set out to discover a little more from those at grassroots level, those working hard to keep our industry alive, promoting good practice and providing a professional product.

Gurvir Johal: The only Asian photographer in the world holding the titles Master Photographer (WPPI) and Fellowship Photographer (SWPP). Gurvir didn't ask me to include this, in fact he failed to mention it during our interview. Apologies Gurvir, I couldn't help myself!

In June I was privileged to be in the audience in Prestatyn, when you achieved your Fellowship with The Societies (very well done, a great achievement) and developed a rather large lump in my throat when you were reading your statement of intent. Tell us about how you felt before and after the judging?

I was very nervous before the judging and kept asking myself, have I chosen the right images, are they in the right order, etc? The fact I had never applied for a qualification in the past added to the nerves.


So you didn't take the route of achieving Licentiate or Associate first?

No, I went straight for Fellowship, that's what caused the nerves! Also, I was informed that no panel to date, composed of 50% colour images and 50% monochrome images, had been awarded Fellowship - so I took a huge gamble, luckily it paid off!

I was, and am, extremely proud of my achievement. When the judges announced the panel was successful and I had achieved Fellowship the time and effort involved in choosing images, editing, printing, mounting and strategically placing them in suitable positions within the panel, and all my hard work, seemed so worthwhile.

What motivated you to start in the industry?

To be honest, I fell into the industry by accident. My background is in art and graphic design, and I've been an artist as long as I can remember; photography is an extension of this. Since a young child I've loved painting and always had a keen eye for detail. As years went by I searched and experimented with different media to feed this creative hunger within me, until I found my passion ... photography. I caught the wedding photography bug when asked to photograph my sister's best friend's wedding in a photojournalistic style. I owned a basic DSLR and one lens, a 35mm, f/1.4.

My approach to weddings is to remain unobtrusive in order to capture the moments as they happen. I believe that to capture the most important day for a couple - a day full of joy, sorrow and romance - you need to be romantic yourself.

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1st Published 01/10/2016
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