March / 2017 / Berlin / Germany

Vivek is a photographer and filmmaker originally from London, currently living and working in Berlin. Completing an undergraduate degree in photography, Vivek worked at a series of agencies where he practised as an all round creative for commercial clients. He’s created campaigns for Nike and Adidas and had his work published in i-D and Sleek Magazine. Recently, Vivek has taken a step back to refocus his creative efforts and embark on some ambitious personal projects. And it’s in his personal photography that we see his skill for finding the quiet moments or precise angle that capture his subject’s character.

We visited Vivek in Neukolln, Berlin - often referred to as ‘Little Istanbul’ - to stop by his studio apartment and check out some of his local spots. Read the full feature below…

My dad was always taking pictures as I was growing up. And always on low budget cameras. I picked one of those up and by the time I started art college I was taking pictures too. As I got a little older and began travelling it felt natural to be taking pictures along the way.

India is overwhelming when you first visit. When I used to go to India as a kid, I really saw it from a kids perspective. I was spending a couple months at a time and didn’t always appreciate it for what it was. Returning when I was a bit older, perhaps with a more mature attitude, I was able to take in a lot more. When you’re able to explore a bit, experience the art scene and meet different people, it’s a really stimulating place.

The first photo I took that really got me into photography was when I was in India. It was a small 35mm camera and I was shooting out of a rickshaw doing a lot of street photography. A few of those shots are some of my favourites that I’ve ever done. And they’re what got me into university.

I went to study photography at university but being in such an intense environment sucked the fun out of it for me. After I finished university I didn’t enjoy photography that much. At that point I decided to work in an agency and do a mixture of things, getting experience with brands. Now I’ve taken a U-turn and I’m finding myself doing the opposite again, working with friends and smaller brands with a camera in my hands.

Anyone can take a good picture, being a photographer is about more than that. It’s about telling the story and everything that sits around that. My challenge is to try and find the stories behind my photographs.

I want to explore what it means to be Indian. So I’m travelling through the country to start making a portrait of what modern day love looks like in India. I’m aiming to direct my first documentary and create a photo book alongside it.

India is changing a lot. 60% of the population is under 30. India has a 1.2 billion population, so that’s something like 700 - 800 million people under 30 years old. As a result, youth culture is starting to break away from family culture. Traditionally the family unit was the core of everything you did. You get educated, you get married and you look after your family. Now that’s shifting and something new is forming in its place.

Instagram is a mixed blessing. I can keep up with my favourite photographers but I find myself spending too much time with it too. It’s almost like I’m trying too hard to be influenced when actually I need to let go and concentrate on what I want to create.

Directing a film is new for me. I’ve worked on commercial projects at agencies before but this will be my own thing. I’m finding myself a lot more precious and cautious about getting things right. Because it’s my project. It’s about what I want to do.

I mostly shoot analogue now. Being limited to 10 shots in a roll means you need to slow down and that suits the way I want to take photos. I’ve got cameras from the 80s and 90s that have become quite popular recently because fashion photographers are using them again. They’re unique to shoot with. When you click the shutter it sounds like a gun, you almost get a recoil from it. That really feels like you’re taking a photograph.