A journey of fighting against the odds, and carving your own path
Photography is a beautiful combination of science and art. It is a blend of innovation, craftsmanship, optics, chemistry and manufacturing. Creative side of it is a culmination of light, angle, composition, moments frozen in time, like a perfect recipe, which can evoke, provoke, stir any and all of our emotions and feelings the way you perceive it.
Born in the Textile Capital of India, Ahmedabad, Ilesh Shah started his journey in the world of Photography at a very young age with his father, Late Shri Kalyanbhai C. Shah. His father, then a reporter at “Sandesh” and “Gujarat Samachar”, leading dailies from Gujarat, and later started his own venture named “Studio Shilpi”, the photography business then was inherited by his three sons, Ilesh being the second son.
The story of how his family came into this profession is quite interesting though. His father, being a regular at the press, was always quite fascinated by the photography technology of that time. It was the time of the late 1960s when photos were processed from Negatives in the darkroom. His father, being a journalist, one day asked the photographer for a visit to the darkroom out of curiosity. The photographer outrightly denied his request saying that It is a trade secret that must not be shared with anyone.
His father then and there decided to pursue Photography, learn it, and even teach others who were interested in it. He made this a life mission and followed it till his last breath. Kalyan C. Shah, over the course of his life, taught 3000+ students, many of which today are running a successful Photography business, including his three sons.
It may seem like a trivial thing today to learn Photography, but in that pre-digital and pre-internet era, when forget about the Internet, even finding and sourcing books on Photography was hard, this was a brave decision taken by Mr. Kalyan C. Shah. A decision from which even his current generations are benefitting today.
Ilesh, having witnessed this journey of his father, was drawn towards Photography at an early age and used to help his father in his teenage years. His father was working at the press in the morning at that time and used to run the studio in the evenings with the help of his wife and three sons. Ilesh had imbibed the quality of working hard at an early age from both of his parents.
In addition to accompanying his father to various events carrying the lights, and helping in post-production, it was not uncommon for Ilesh to occupy hours capturing a single product through different angles, alone in his room. His early subjects for Photography varied from children in his neighborhood to a fresh lemon found in the refrigerator of the home. He also attended workshops from many prestigious photographers like Wilas Bhende, Girish Mistry, Rajeev Asgaonkar, Ian Pierera, Hari Mahidhar and Darren Centofanti.
Ilesh started his independent journey of Photography in the 90s, having opened his first Studio in his home.
Ilesh, having an innate desire of carving his own niche started to expand his horizons from the conventional wedding photography business that his father had established and tried his hand at various other niches, including Product Photography and Fashion Editorials. His patience and consistency later led him to become Kodak certified 'Picture Perfect' Professional Portrait Program Photographer.
His early days were hard, having taken the unconventional route of carving his own identity independent of his father, but his hard work bore fruit when he was featured in the “Times Of India”. At that time, Fashion and Product Photography in Ahmedabad was not very common and Fashion and product Photographers were even rarer.
Since then, there has been no looking back. From extravagant weddings to capturing the top-most jewelry brands to shooting Bollywood aspirants, Ilesh has witnessed it all through his lens. Some of the renowned brands Ilesh has worked with include Philips, Nyara Energy, Zaveri & Co., Zinzuwadia Jewellers, K K jewels, Harit Zaveri, Surat Dreams, and IIM-Ahmedabad. As a Cinematographer and Director he has made various documentaries and ad-films for clients like Reliance, ICECD, Civil Hospital, AEC. He also did photography for Philips Medical Systems, ORET project in association with Govt. of Gujarat and Govt. of Netherlands.
Ilesh has also done portfolios for many popular names in the show-biz industry today, such as Shraddha Musale, Indraneel Sengupta, Rahul Bhat, Payal Rohatgi and many others. As a wedding photographer he has been featured in Vogue India magazine and also has been featured as Top Ten Jewellery Photographers of India in Smart Photography magazine.
Coming from a very humble background, Ilesh has been to all over the world for his work. Some of the prestigious International shoots he has done include a fashion shoot and fashion show coverage to promote culture and tourism organized by Mauritius Government for Mumbai-based fashion designer Nisha Sagar and ace choreographer Utsav Dholakia. As a photographer and cinematographer, he has covered many fashion weeks and shows for Ace show director and choreographer Utsav Dholakia.
Ilesh is still considered a pioneer in the thriving Fashion Photography business of Ahmedabad today, having led the foundation for the same.
Above all the glitz and glamor, Photography is a profession that requires the utmost dedication and hard work. All the initial passion and interest fade against long shifts of 12+ hours, sometimes in the scorching heat. So his advice to all the youngsters today wanting to pursue Photography is only this: “Work Hard and stay consistent against all odds”. From starting in his home to having a rented space to owning a 1300 sq. ft. studio today, Ilesh has surely come a long way, and his journey is surely an inspiration for the young people of today. He has been running a successful business named “Ilesh Shah Photography” for almost 40 years now.
Today, a father of two, and a grandfather to one, Ilesh still continues to update himself with the latest technology and gadgets in the world of Photography.
Ilesh and his family’s journey of making Photography their business and sustaining it over the years is nothing short of an inspiration. Ilesh still advises all the young people who want to pursue the field of modeling or Photography, to complete their formal education first, though.
His family is a well-known name in the Photography circle of Gujarat and continues to garner new avenues of success. He also has inherited his father’s penchant for teaching Photography and being a mentor for various photography brands like Kodak, Fuji, Tamron, Panasonic and Godox, takes regular Photography workshops all across India. He is also an active member of various prestigious Photography associations like VPAG (Video-Photographers Association Of Gujarat) and regional committee member of AIPTIA (All India Photographic Trade And Industry Association).
A photograph is your visual resume. A good photograph is like a good brand ambassador which can enhance your image utmost and can take you places. So get your self photographed today and understand how we cherish memories of family members and remember, adore or idol certain faces like Gandhiji, Indiraji, Raj Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar and almost everyone you know, even now just because of their photographs which not only immortalize and represent their face but character and personality as well.
Put you in the light…