Suhana Khan's much hyped debut cover shoot with Vogue India, oozes confidence and oomph in every shot. Fashion photographer, Errikos Andreous (the man behind the lens) spills the beans on shooting with the 18-year-old. From Suhana dancing to the tune of Beyonce during the shoot and how it was a family affair indeed - with Shah Rukh Khan on video call constantly and mother, Gauri on set (who also lent Suhana her skirt for a shot) to simply portraying a fresh young girl having fun as she enters adulthood! Here it from the man himself.
Excerpts from the interview:
You shot with Suhana Khan for the August Issue of Vogue India. Considering it was her first full-fledged photo shoot, it was pretty much Suhana’s debut in front of your camera. Was the legendary Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri around?
Errikos: With Suhana it was almost like a family affair. It was very funny because her mother was there, she had Shah Rukh Khan on a video call the whole time, so that he could be present on the shoot. Anaita Shroff Adajania, who is the Fashion Director of Vogue India is their family friend, so she was also there taking care of everything from a very close point. In fact, knowing that this was Suhana’s first shoot even I felt very protective towards her. Also, there were a lot of people around Suhana, not necessarily to make her look pretty, but just to make sure about how she is presented. It was clearly, a platform to introduce Suhana.
What was the brief given to you for this particular shoot?
Errikos: We discussed a few ideas about the shoot, eventually decided to do it in a studio (Famous Studio) and have this set built around us. The whole idea was to have this girl, who is young and fresh and sexy and cool. So we started shooting at about 11 am in the morning and wound up at 5 pm.
Suhana is just 18 and she posed like a diva... how did you direct her?
Errikos: To be honest with you, Suhana surprised everybody so much. I didn’t know her personally, but I was expecting a kid who has never done this before. Especially when she comes in – she is a very very shy kid – so she is very soft spoken, and you have no idea what you can do. So as usual, I said okay, ‘sit there, do that! and let me start taking a few pictures’. And I was thinking to myself, let me see what might come out and turns out she was extremely natural in front of the lens. The way she was posing and placing herself, the little variations that she was giving me – was not at all about trying too hard. So, it was a very big surprise. But then it all made sense, I mean she has been around cameras ever since she was a newborn any way!
How easy or tough was it to work with SRK’s daughter?
Errikos: For me it doesn’t make much difference, it is important for what the person has to tell me. I am having a discussion with a person, not a celebrity. Plus, I’m telling you, Shah Rukh Khan was probably sitting on his sofa with his messy hair, just watching his daughter do this and feeling very proud. It had such a laid-back vibe, that it could not be more friendly, down to earth and happy.
Some highlights from the much talked about shoot?
Errikos: We had Beyonce on! She loves Beyonce. There is actually one spread in the story, which is a culmination of a multiple photos put together and we just had Suhana (who at that point was doing her 4th or 5th look), when her mother (Gauri) says, ‘Oh you know what, she is a really good dancer!’ So, I asked if she was comfortable dancing, and in a very soft-spoken manner she says, ‘Yes!’ And then we put Beyoncé on really really loud in the studio and I was just sitting in a corner, simply snapping pictures as she was dancing. And that for me is the most beautiful photo of the entire shoot, because you had her there just being herself and having fun. Also it was amazing to see she was wearing her mother’s skirt for one shot!
Q: What was your first impression of Suhana Khan when she walked into the studio for the shoot?
Errikos: When I saw her, I saw a very beautiful, fresh kid and it was this freshness and innocence that I wanted to capture. But then once she started posing in front of the camera, I realised that this is not a child – this is actually a woman. A young woman who celebrates both her youth and her womanhood. In some pictures she looks innocent, in some pictures she looks sexy. But the sexiness that comes out is not a forced thing. It was a very natural thing. This is who she is. Yesterday, as I was flicking through twitter I read a comment saying, ‘Stop sexualizing kids!’ And it had me thinking if that’s what we did? As I remember Suhana on that shoot, this came out so naturally. She was just having fun entering her adulthood. And this is what it was all about and this is what I wanted to show.
How are you responding to ones on social media that haven’t received the Suhana Khan shoot very well?
Errikos: People have been sending me comments about Suhana and how fake she looks. I think they are ridiculous, they don’t even know what the original was and what the post was. You’ve probably seen pictures of her online, because you googled her and because the light falls on them in a specific way. I mean don’t forget, when we are doing a fashion shoot we are sort of aiming for the best light possible. On the other hand, I’ll be honest, when you are photographing with these cameras that are so unforgiving, they grab every single detail. So of course, I am going to retouch the spots and the zits and try to make it more appealing.
Speaking of which, previously when you shot Kareena Kapoor Khan, during her first shoot right after she delivered a baby - the photographs were again massively trolled for being immensely photo-shopped...
Errikos: You’ll be surprised that there wasn’t much photoshop that went into it. I had so many comments online about how her collar bones disappeared and everything. But if you had seen the amount of Photoshop that went into it, you would be staggered. Kareena is absolutely stunning, maybe I had to take off a zit or a shadow off her face.Literally she was in such top shape, I couldn’t even believe it for a woman who had just given birth. Also one needs to understand that my job is not to convey the reality, as if Deepika Padukone is this and these are her flaws. That’s not my job. I am an artiste and every time I take a picture there is something that I want to convey. And what I want to convey in these cases, is the impression that I have at that moment when I am looking at that person.
On a lighter note...
You are essentially from Athens, Greece and then you moved on to study in London, post which you worked in Paris and now you’re doing elaborate photography work in India. What drew you to India?
Errikos: India has a lot of potential, in India you can discover and do things. Plus, the level of production that you can have in this country is literally impossible to have anywhere else, in terms of locations and sets. It allowed me to work in projects that are much complex and much bigger, with teams that are much demanding, celebrities of a very very big stature. The way they come with their owns set of expectations.
Aamir Khan is the most no-nonsense celebrity I have shot with ever. He is a gentleman through and through. He comes in with the best sense of humour and the best intention and he is always so charming, but you can sense that I am here to do the job.
"A must-have photography equipment? " - Errikos: Probably Photoshop, because it doesn’t really matter what camera you shoot with. Photoshop is like what the dark room used to be like 20 years ago!
What’s your approach towards photography?
Errikos: I feel I tend to approach photography more like somebody who does documentary. I’m very much interested in the story. I’m very much interested in the person that I’m photographing and what they have to tell me. You know other photographers tend to prepare quite a lot in the beginning, they tend to stage things and they are very exact about where they want their subject to sit and how they want their subject to be or act. I prefer to see the person who I am photographing what they have tell me. I try and have this quick communication going, so that then when it’s time for the photography to happen I can follow them instead of having them following me.
"Errikos Andrious loves:" - “Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Eyes! Deepika Padukone’s incredible smile. Anushka Sharma’s incredible legs! Alia Bhatt’s intense way of looking at you and Mira Rajput’s way of leaning with so much affection towards husband, Shahid!”
In a short span of time, you have mastered the art of shooting with celebrities, tell us the secret ingredient to your success?
Errikos: I think the biggest secret in all of these is to know how to manage their (celebrities) time. Basically, what keeps everybody happy is to work very very quickly. I think by over clicking photographs and over insisting on something doesn’t really add to anything. It’s much better that everybody sort of moves on and keeps the momentum going, so that everybody can be relaxed instead of being exhausted.
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