• 23 May - 29 May, 2020
  • Alina Qamar
  • Interview

As a fashion magazine, we are inundated with images from brands and editorial shoots by some of Pakistan’s most talented photographers. But we only see the end result. The finished article. So when the opportunity to interview a fashion photographer Munna Mushtaq arose, we jumped at the chance. Keen to find out more about the process before the final result; an opportunity for us, and for any budding photographer out there.

Mushtaq is a renowned name in the fashion scene. He started his career 15 years ago as a model. Later establishing himself as a professional photographer with his distinctive and extra ordinary approach towards photography. Mushtaq has been affiliated with top professional companies as a branding and imagery consultant to execute projects.

Apart from photography, he has also proved his mettle in the music industry by giving a huge hit ‘Shayad Ye Pyaar Hai’. Tag along as MAG connects with this multi-talented personality. Excerpts follow:

There is so much competition out there in this field. How do you cope?

I have been in the industry for quite some time now, and thanks be to God, I have made my mark so I don’t feel there is much competition for me. But yes, there is quite some competition for the newcomers. In all honesty, I feel there is competition when it comes to pricing.

How would you describe your photographic style?

My photographic style is something that is new for our fashion industry. My favourite thing is to work in various locations, with the goal of creating a connection between the model and the surroundings. I tend to switch between dramatic and being over the top to simplicity depending on location, clothing and intent of the picture.

What are the most difficult aspects of professional fashion photography?

I think the biggest challenge is finding the perfect team that works in absolute harmony and cooperates with you. In that case, shooting with brands like Maria B and model Tooba Siddique has been very difficult for me. Apart from that, generally, shooting with wild animals like leopards is quite challenging.

Fashion vs other types of photography – why did you choose the fashion industry to make a career in?

The reason I wanted to choose fashion initially was because of the creative freedom you have – you are creating on a blank canvas and weaving together lots of different elements to create a story. I also grew to love the collaborative nature of it, as lots of photographers find their job quite isolating, but with fashion I don’t find this to be the case as it has the potential to bring different people together to celebrate their own individuality.

What makes a good picture in your eyes?

There are many factors that make a great picture, but for me, the one most important factor to improve your photography is to capture the movement at the right time.

What does your concept brainstorming process for editorial shoots look like?

My mind keeps searching for new ideas ALL THE TIME.

What would we find in your camera bag?

My two camera bodies and three to four lenses.

Do you have any formal training in photography?

Yes, I do actually. I received my formal training in photography from National College of Arts, NCA.

What kind of impact do you hope to make in the fashion world in the next 10-15 years?

The amount of quality work going down these days is really disappointing. In the future, I just want to make fashion look good.

Of all the images you’ve captured so far in your career, which is your favourite and why?

It’s always changing. I have never thought that a certain picture is the ultimate picture that I have taken and I keep pushing myself to create better images than my previous ones, so my favourites keep changing.

What's the most important thing that photography has taught you?

Well, becoming a photographer was my passion and in Pakistan, working in the fashion industry can be very different and difficult at times. So, the one thing that photography has taught me is to never give up on your dreams, always be passionate and you will achieve your goals eventually.

If you had to choose the model for your next project, who would it be and why?

There are a few faces from our industry that I would really love to photograph someday, like Areej, Amna Haq, Amna Ilyas, Saba Qamar and a few more.

What lies ahead of you?

Making room for more creativity and creating more opportunities.

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion photographers?

Shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot as much you possibly can. The more you shoot, the more experienced you become. If you don’t have a job or assignment – create one! Always experiment, try to refine your techniques and find new ways of creativity. This will improve the quality of work you produce. Being a part of Pakistan’s fashion industry, it is our responsibility to improve the standards of fashion photography.