PEPx 2018: Seeking Perfection

 

PEPx 2018 is gearing up with a fantastic set of talks, workshops and a photo expo. Here’s what it’s all about.

Photograph/Joseph Radhik

Photograph/Joseph Radhik

The PEPx 2018 photography conference will be held at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai from 16-18 March. Eighteen accomplished individuals from the photo and video industry will take the stage to share their vision. This set of talks will provide learning and interactive sessions to photography enthusiasts, students and semi-professionals. For those interested in attending the talks and workshops visit www.pepxphoto.com, where you can register and pay for your ticket.

Earlier this year BP spoke to the founders of PEP – Joseph Radhik, Joshua Karthik & Arjun Rajan. Joseph and Joshua have been running Stories – one of India’s most successful photography businesses; and Arjun has joined hands with them to create PEP. All three are business school graduates from XLRI (Joshua) & IIM Indore (Joseph & Arjun) and have worked with global MNCs – Colgate (Joseph), Asian Paints (Joshua) and P&G (Arjun).

How did the idea for PEP emerge?
Joseph: I have had a love affair with the camera & with photography for the last 20 years. The last 5 years of these, with Stories by Joseph Radhik, I have had a chance to experience building a wedding photography business from the ground up. Only in recent times, photography is beginning to be seen as a legitimate career choice. Of course, wedding photography is still the #1 paying of these choices. We started PEP with a view to give shape to what is an industry in a massive state of flux. Everyone with a DSLR (or even some advanced phones) is getting into photography and they don’t have the necessary guidance. Often, people can’t afford the time or money for degree or diploma courses that some universities offer. They also lack mentors in their journey as entrepreneurs. With this in mind, we started PEP – to help photographers become better – better in photography as an Art form, better in running their photography Businesses, and better in the Craft of photography – ABC!
Joshua: While we started with PEP being focused on wedding photography, we believe there are whole worlds of other genres of photography which are now opening up as choices for people to build a life around. And we want PEP to be a guiding light in this journey, the Gold Standard in Portrait & Event Photography (PEP) that everyone aspires to, including us.

What do you hope to achieve through it?
Joseph: Our vision is to provide a platform for photographers to be the best that they can be, bettering themselves and their businesses every year. Our 5-year goal is to improve the lives and businesses of at least 1 million photographers, from the seasoned professionals to the enthusiast.

What is new about the PEP summit this year?
Joseph: PEP Summit is for the seasoned wedding photography professional. The format is slightly different this year. Day 1 is a series of TED-style talks hand-picked by us to be truly inspirational for anyone in the creative space. So, it is a bit of a cross-over day as even people working in ad agencies, the music industry, fashion, branding, design, marketing, etc. will walk out truly inspired after this day. Day 2 & 3 are much longer, in-depth talks on the Art, Business & Craft of Wedding (& People) Photography. The design is to help all creatives interact and network with each other, while providing an unparalleled learning experience at the same time!

What do you feel is unique about your vision and how do you intend to help others “find” theirs?
Joseph: We already have stalwarts in the field who have had a vision to genuinely impact the quality of work being produced today. Where we are different is in the execution. We truly want this to be a global, almost open-sourced approach. To learn from the best in the world. There is no cookie-cutter solution to “finding yourself”. It’s a journey for every individual, and with the help of technology, we hope to guide you through that journey.

Wedding photography has grown in popularity in recent years. Do you see it continuing to grow at this pace?
Joshua: The industry is indeed booming. And if anything, the growth is accelerating. More and more brides (and families) today have the aspiration, exposure and budget to go for a professional wedding photographer. At the same time, the photography industry is getting democratized on several counts: the cost of ‘professional’ equipment ceasing to be a strong barrier to entry is one great reason. The key is to do two things well: build competence, and differentiate yourself​. Which is where people need help, guidance – to build their careers in photography, not just do it as a flash in the pan.
Arjun: Over the last couple of years, I have observed the wedding photography industry truly take-off. Look at the number of workshops, conferences and talks that are springing up. People are eager to learn, to be better. We have IT professionals, sales managers and people who haven’t even completed college signing up to learn with PEP. This is a good proxy for the demand for the next few years for photographers. At the same time, clients’ expectation of quality is also going up. It all begins with a simple question from the bride “Can you take photos like that wedding?” – which leads the photographer in a journey of exploration – to understand who was behind those photos, and how to get there. And as everyone discovers at PEP, that’s a journey that has no end. You must better yourself, stay ahead of the ‘crowd’ every day, every month, every year.

Do you plan on taking PEP abroad in the foreseeable future? What is your long-term vision for PEP?
Arjun: We already conducted a couple of small workshops abroad in 2017 – London, Singapore, Bangladesh. And have plans for more. The attendees at PEP Summit are coming from over 10 countries, including many in South-East Asia, Africa and Europe. Maybe a decade from now, we will look at PEP as a community to be part of to learn from, and interact with, the best in photography from around the world. Our focus with the bigger events is India for the time being, but with the right partners, we could move with equal vigour in other countries as well.

What was the idea behind PEPx?
Joseph: While the PEP Summit is for professionals, who usually already have a learning budget set aside to get better every year, PEPx is an opportunity for the photography enthusiast to come and learn from people and companies from different walks of photography life. A few of these will hopefully be inspired enough to take up photography professionally. A few more will look at it as investing more time in their hobby. And yet more would look at it as a chance to meet like-minded people, learn & interact from, and with, them.

What to Expect at PEPx 2018
While wedding photography is still the most preferred career choice within this field, in recent times, other genres are picking up steam, and even hobbyists are willing to spend time, effort and money in learning the ropes. Given a choice, every photographer would love to turn their passion into a career. That’s why exploring different genres is important and that’s where PEPx provides a platform to do that. The conference seek to create a melting pot of thoughts, ideas and industries. If one is interested in making beautiful images, they should be at PEPx. Whether they be interested in landscapes, wildlife, weddings, portraits, fashion or even photo & video editing, there’s enough to help everyone. PEPx is a place to learn, share, and be inspired.

Here’s who will be there…

Dheeraj Paul
Dheeraj Paul has been working for over two decades as an editorial and advertising photographer. Paul is one of the brand ambassadors for Sony Alpha professional camera equipment and the Founder Director at Indian Photo Tours, where he mentors Masterclass and Photo Expeditions.

We all need to cultivate our vision to enjoy versatility in our daily life. Street photography is all about capturing spontaneity without any alteration.

Natalia Arantseva
Natalia Arantseva is a Mumbai-based photographer who was born and raised in Russia. She is fond of conceptual portraiture, and when she isn’t doing commercial assignments, she likes to keep assistance at her shoots minimal. She also believes in treating art, not like a competition, but as a contribution.

It is important to remember that you are a unique creation. And the way you create images is an expression of who you are.

Padmanabhan Thangaraj
Padmanabhan Thangaraj is the CEO, Co-Founder of OODIO, a Post Production, Design and Print Comapny that works with the finest photographers across the world for the past 7 years. He is a BITS – Pilani Alumnus and also as Professional Wedding Photographer.

The PEP initiative will hopefully result in a seismic shift in how professionals in the photography industry learn, educate and develop themselves.

Brendan de Clercq
Brendan de Clercq is an Irish-French photographer and mixed media artist. He likes to make images that are distinguished by powerful imagery and clear emotional expressions. He is fond of sharing his abundance of knowledge in photography with the hopes to inspire young artists around the world.

One day I will make the world’s most perfect portrait. That is the reason I hope to raise the bar for myself in portrait photography every day.

Yuwaraj Gurjar
Yuwaraj Gurjar views his work as a celebration of wildlife in the Indian subcontinent. He shares a deep love, not only for iconic species such as tigers, but for small, unsung creatures too. He is fond of observing and photographing insects and wild flowers. His love for nature always draws him to go wandering in the wild.

While the easy availability of DSLRs has lead to a surge in interest, I feel like young photography enthusiasts need to value developing a vision.

 

Vishal Punjabi
Vishal Punjabi is a much sought after wedding videographer whose professional journey in Indian cinema has seen him working on visual effects for films like Don (2006) and Main Hoon Na (2004). Today, The Wedding Filmer is made up of a crew of Bollywood and internationally acclaimed technicians who believe in bringing the magic of movies to life.

Making a good film requires an inspired crew. We have grown into the studio we are because of the people we have met and worked with at workshops like PEPx over the years.

Tags: adobe, Arjun Rajan, Brendan de Clercq, Dheeraj Paul, Joseph Radhik, Joshua Karthik, Natalia Arantseva, Oodio, Padmanabhan Thangaraj, PEPx 2018, profoto, Sony, Tamron, Vishal Punjabi, Yuwaraj Gurjar