Archive for August, 2009

Faith and the Art of Taking Risks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2009 by martinprihoda

I have consciously chosen a career as a working artist. No one pushed me to it, I alone chose my path.

I fully and graciously accept my life as a result of all choices I have made, the defeats I have suffered and the victories won.

That being said, the path of the artist is long and often times difficult path; meandering through the crumbling parched earth of doubt, being cut on the sharp brambles of criticism, both external and internal, squinting through the howling fog of financial insecurity…. anyway you want to describe it, its a journey to be respected.

Eventually though, you begin to find your way. To extend the metaphor further, you learn where to step and where not to step, you learn to wait out storms as opposed to trying to power through them and you realize that there’s fellow traveler’s out there to help you and guide you…

… but often times as artists we come lose our path and we end up standing on the edge of a huge precipice, a giant yawning chasm of black unknown-ness. Death. Failure.

On the other side of the chasm we can see our path continuing, and it looks so clear and clean, like somebody has swept it. But how to cross the chasm…. there is no bridge. You could go back, thats always an option, but what’s back there really?

No, its time to take a risk. Its time to jump.

Only when we jump into that black abyss, into the fear, into the possibility of the unknown do we find what we as artists are made of. Its in this dramatic, faith-filled, insane leap that we grow our wings; long flowing beautiful wings that we never knew we had, wings that will carry us to the other side and set us down on our path again… (or we could fail miserably, hitting the ground in a heap of broken dreams and mushy depression… hence the ‘risk’ part)

Now this is far from an original analogy, i’ve read it before but what’s more important is that I’ve experienced it and am experiencing it now.

If we take a step towards our dreams, the universe takes two towards us. Its almost like a law of life, one that we haven’t figured out how to measure yet.

one year ago I made a decision. I decided i was going to leave my home town of Vancouver. Vancouver was familiar to me, my family was there, my friends were there, I had a client base there but inside me I felt i was being smothered somehow, as if some latent potential was aching to be brought to light.

Over the years I have become better at listening to that little voice in my head, the one that says “for god’s sake, you live once, do it…” So Tonia and I sat down, discussed our future and decided to hit the road.

I had had a dream one night, vivid as can be. I was in India again, practicing yoga, happy, fulfilled. I awoke and I remember thinking to myself; “Bombay, I have to go to Bombay…I don’t know why, I just have to.” I sold my lighting gear, gave up our apartments, bought a plane ticket to one of the world’s most over populated, smelly, dirty but alive cities. We arrived in Bombay knowing one person, a distant friend I hadn’t seen in years.

We took a risk, we jumped, but within the universe was listening and gave us wings.

Within six months I had shot some of the biggest Bollywood stars, shot the cover of GQ India, shot for Vogue and an unheard of 22 pages in Harper’s Bazaar. I’m working and networking more than I did back home and in an emerging market that’s 10 times the size of my sleepy home town.

I think that there are a great many talented photographers in the world and I would be seriously humbled if someone thought I was part of that group, but the fact is, I took a risk…a huge crazy risk that many thought was crazy, including me at times.

So start taking more risks, is my advice. Sure you’ll f**k up but life is an art and the more you live it the better you get at it, it just depend on how you want to live it.

peace always…


GQ India Cover story – September 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2009 by martinprihoda

Hrithik Roshan needs no introduction if you happen to be a fan of Bollywood movies. Starring in over 20 films, Hrithik is one of the most recognizable faces in India. Its always a pleasure working with a pro and Hrithik brought it.

Most photos are lit with a single strobe above with beauty dish/softbox. On a few setups we had a back burst with a medium grid to give some separation between Hrithik and the wall.

Styled by Arjun Bhasin

GQ art director: Brendan Allthorpe
GQ Producer/Photo Editor: Gizelle Cordo, Alecka Micklewright
Hair: Kanta Motwani-Kromakay  
Makeup: Vijay Palande
Set Design: Pinakin
Assistant Stylist: Tania Fadte
Photography: Martin Prihoda

Harper’s Bazaar "India Revisited" September 2009 issue

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2009 by martinprihoda

The town of Hampi, located east of Goa in the state of Karnatika is a cluster of ruins set among an amazing geological mashup of gigantic boulders. Harper’s collaborated with Muse, a designer brand store in South Bombay owned by Tarini Jindal of the Jindal Steel family.

We flew down on a chartered place and were treated like royalty at the Jindhal family guest home, which was more like a 5 star hotel.

Fashion editors: Ekta Rajani & Kavita Lakhani

Model: Smita Lasarado
Hair and Makeup: Tanuja Dabir
Stylist: Sonam Chawla
Producer: Mehak Puri
Stay and Flight courtesy: JSW Steel

Harper’s Bazaar – "Subtle Sheen"

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2009 by martinprihoda

This story was shot in the magnificently restored Bhau Daji Lad, Mumbai’s oldest museum. A beautiful but challenging place to shoot, we needed to avoid all the glass display cases. We managed to do this by shooting at a relatively low angle and lighting the space so that the background would fall off but the foreground and ceiling were illuminated.

Background was lit by strobe with reflectors and the model was lit mostly with a softbox or beauty dish on a boom stand.

The museum is a fantastic place to learn about Bombay’s unique colonial history.

Fashion Editor: Ekta Rajani
Model: Tinu Verghese
Makeup & Hair: Tanuja Dabir
Fashion Stylist: Allia Al Rufia
Photographed by Martin Prihoda for Harper’s India
Location: Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla, Mumbai

Vogue Fashion/Fitness

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2009 by martinprihoda

my first shoot in Bombay for Vogue. Shot with a beauty dish above model and two rim lights behind at 45 degrees.

Photographed at the Four Season’s Bombay

also my first time working with a crew that spoke zero english. We managed to light this shoot using my three word vocabulary of Hindi and a serious game of Lighting Charades. They were great and I’ve worked with the boss man Ramesh (far right) again many times.

Air Jordan Shoot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by martinprihoda

This project was a collaboration with Transmission and The Orange Apple. It was part of the ‘Extraordinary Abilities’ campaign for Air Jordan and the photograph is complimentary to the Air Jordan “Jumper” spot produced by Transmission Films in Vancouver.

Post was done by Paul Lang at The Orange Apple studios in Delta BC.

Indian residency…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2009 by martinprihoda

my dear friends, i owe you many apologies.

As i sit here in my 2 BHK (bathroom, hall, kitchen) apartment in the Bandra suburb of Bombay, my beautiful wife cooking lasagna, both of us sipping Indian wine (Sula’s Cab shiraz to be exact) I am fully aware that my blog posts have been far and few between, but rest assured there is a reason for this.
the reason is strictly a legal one and to put it bluntly, until a little while ago, well, I wasn’t. However I am now armed with an Indian work visa and a residency permit. This means that I am legal to work in this amazingly rich, crazy, insane, beautiful, wealthy, poverty stricken, smelly, friendly, paradoxical country that is India.
I’m working with a great bunch of peeps that run a production company called Bang Bang Films. They’ve sponsored me and we’ve worked on some great stuff together, including a commercial for Nokia with the gorgeous Priyanka Chopra.
The opportunity in the ‘maximum city’ of Bombay is unreal. While everywhere else seems saturated and suffering the pangs of recessionary woe, I’m doing some of the best work I’ve ever done, here, amongst the 18 million Indian crammed onto a small island city.
Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis…Bombay is a world unto itself. Like a scorned woman ready to unleash her wrath against herself, the island seeths with fury, passion and worship.
Throngs bow to the elephant god Ganesha while statues erected in raging post colonial hangover dot the crumbling streets and cracked tenements. Pan spit covers the corner masonry of every building and children beg at the windows of shiny Porsches and BMW’s. In one breath the stench of rotting sewage mixes with temple incense and in a single glance a stray pariah dog, sick with lice and infestation nips at the spotless golden lining of a flowing sari.
I’m falling in love with this city.
Simply because its everything I am. The sacred and the profane. the filthy and the clean. the saved and the lost. the ambitious and the lazy. the sick and the healthy. the arrogant and the humble. the mother and the father. The alive…and the dead.
I’m sending out a newsletter in the next few weeks; it will highlight all the good stuff so if you haven’t, please sign up.
thats all i have for now, but let me leave you with this:
do it, for gods sake. don’t give in to your fear, don’t give into the rationalizations of your mind, listen to your soul; your soul will guide you, always. leave your safe shore and go explore, bring your kids and wife with you if you have to, bring a friend or two or go by yourself. No one makes it big in their own hometown.