Born in Amritsar and brought up in Nagpur, Chanchal Jabs has created an identity as a brilliant photographer in Nagpur. Before he was a photographer, Chanchal was a DJ and also worked as a sound engineer with Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM. He now heads the photography studio ‘Jabs Inc.’ in Nagpur which is mainly into shoots and films related to weddings. In an interview with Nation Next, Chanchal Jabs speaks about the growing photography market in Nagpur, his journey as a photographer and Jabs Inc.
What does Jabs Inc. Studio do?
Jabs Inc. is a multimedia studio. Currently, we have a team of eight to ten people. At Jabs Inc. we do graphic designing, cinematography, pre-wedding photo shoots, complete wedding photography and we make wedding films. We are big time into weddings as weddings give you chance to explore different cultures. Being said that, most Nagpurians have a misconception that Jabs Inc. is just into weddings. We also do portraits, product photography, short films, documentaries, biographies and industrial presentations.
How did photography happen to you?
I was pursuing a diploma in engineering from Raisoni College but I soon realized that it was not my cup of tea. I was keener on getting into graphic designing. So, I did some advance graphic designing courses from Pune. Soon after, I started DJing in 2003-04 and also worked as video editor for a local production house in Nagpur. After being a DJ for five-six years, I started working as a sound engineer in Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM. It was a fun job but I thought that there wasn’t much growth for me and so I left it. I started photography somewhere in 2010.
How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been fantastic. I have been to places like Ranchi, Abu Dhabi, Lucknow, Delhi, Raipur, etc., just for wedding shoots. When I started Jabs Inc. studio, Nagpur had some popular big brands and well-known people when it came to photography. The photography market had evolved and people were also willing to afford a team from metropolitan cities. So to create that space for myself and stand out was a difficult job.
You have close relationships with many of your clients. What’s the benefit of hiring a photographer who’s a friend?
When you hire a photographer who’s a friend, things become easy. Everybody wants to have a photographer around on their big day. People these days are willing to take photographers on their honeymoon as well! They don’t want to miss out on any moment worth capturing. And when you have a known photographer around, you get relaxed and you’re yourself. I have clients for whom I clicked wedding pictures and they have told me that they missed me on their honeymoon!
It is really difficult to do something out of the box and find support from people around. Would you say you were lucky to have that?
I have been raised up in a conservative family, so initially it was difficult. My father is pretty cool and mother is traditional. When I started DJing, for them it was like ‘Are gaane bajata hain!’ When I started photography, it was like, ‘Are shaadi me photo khichta hain!’ But things changed gradually. When they saw my pictures getting published in newspapers, read articles about me and heard my praises from people; they felt good about it. I feel that today, any artist can earn the same amount of money what doctors or engineers can earn. But I’ll say that dropping studies and chasing your dreams is a bad idea. Try to be best in what you do, but don’t leave studies mid-way.
How has the photography market evolved in Nagpur over the last few years?
The photography market in Nagpur is brilliant today. Clients have become bold and are willing to experiment and be the best in front of the cameras. Few years back, it would have been a dream to capture a Nagpur couple in an exotic location on their pre-wedding shoot. But that’s not the case now. Clients are now ready to travel even abroad. So, things have changed and a lot of credit goes to social media for that.
Nagpurians are obsessed with artists from outside Nagpur in spite of the fact that Nagpur has ample amount of talent…
People feel that if they are spending a lot and getting a local artist, why not spend more and get an artist from metropolitan cities; that way they can proudly say, ‘Are maine bahar se artist bulaya tha!’ It’s pretty weird. It’s a globalized world and we know the tricks of trade like people from other cities, thanks to the internet! I have seen artists from other cities coming and screwing up big time in Nagpur.
What would you say has your best work been so far?
It’s hard to tell. Every couple is different. There are some couples who are very open minded and there are some who are very traditional. But, I got an opportunity to shoot an American couple in Budapest once. The location was fabulous and the weather was very pleasant. I loved shooting the couple.
You got married in January 2015. On lighter note, who clicked pictures at your wedding?
Ek kahawat hai na, ‘Halwai apne dukan ki mithai nahi khata!’ Maine wahi galti kar li, maine apne dukan ki mithai kha li!’ My team did the photography at my wedding. But I think that it would have been quite relaxing if I would have outsourced the job. Because during the pheras, I was concentrating more on my team than my pheras! Fortunately, the photos came out really good!
What advice would you give to the budding photographers?
Firstly, just buying a DSLR camera won’t make you a professional photographer! You have to identify what kind of photographer you are. Are you into candid pictures? Are you into product photography? Are you into portfolio shoots or are you into wildlife? The equipment and the energy required for every genre of photography is different. Spend time perfecting the art without thinking about money in the earlier stages of your career. Secondly, there’s old school photography and there’s digital photography. Old school is when you showcase the picture in its natural raw form. The raw form has its own power. Digital photography is when you edit the picture on multiple levels. Now, photographers may say that editing is wrong, but it is the need of the hour. At the end of the day people want to look beautiful in their pictures and it’s your duty to do that. If you can’t do that, you’ll be left behind. Also, don’t give up easy. If you want something, give your best!