Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Legendary Photographer in the Making: Babar Khan

Recently, whilst watching FashionTelevision, photographer Babar Khan’s photography struck a cord (quite rare with my otherwise robot like self). Many of his images capture a raw exposure on human sensation, depicting romanticism, beauty, melancholy, vulnerability, and in some shots, a helplessness. He's done a remarkable job of bringing forth emotions that we otherwise try to conceal, ironically combining beauty and strength with feelings we sometimes associate with human flaws and weaknesses. To some degree asking us...can we not be all of those things at once?
 Whilst digging around, I learned that Toronto born Babar studied photography at Ryerson University. In 2003 he went on to photograph a black and white portfolio of personal work in Paris that was acknowledged by the esteemed Communication Arts Award and published in the Photography Annual. He was recently awarded two International Photography Awards, and mounted his first solo exhibition of work.
After seeing Babar's captivating work, I had to get in touch…

HC: How did you get into this career?
Babar: By stubbornly wanting to figure out how the great photographs I saw were taken... sheer curiosity and obsession.

HC: What do you love most about it?
Babar: Having the opportunity to be creative and explore ideas, and being able to work with great talent in unusual places.

HC: How do you decide on your subjects?
Babar: I have an obsession with beauty but not necessarily in conventional terms. I do tend to gravitate towards girls with pale skin and freckles for the way they photograph especially in black-and-white. I love redheads. I'm also really drawn to vulnerability in a person as I think it's an interesting contrast to pure physical beauty. Other times a subject resembles an old movie star or personality and that can be an exciting idea to play with in the image.

HC: Choose one favourite picture you've taken over the years and tell us why.
Babar: Maria With Mask. This is definitely a favourite. There's something really mysterious about it that draws me to this image over and over. I've tried using masks again for shoots but they never worked. Something magical about that particular mask on that girl created a resonant image. The mystical quality photography can have is fascinating.
HC: Something you didn't expect...?
Babar: I didn't expect to embrace working digitally as I always loved the traditional photographic process, but I have come to appreciate its advantages.
HC: What's your personal style?
Babar: I love the Dior Homme aesthetic, minimalism, black, white & grey, and a slim silhouette. Couture elements mixed with street style, contrasts are always interesting in design.

HC: 5 things you currently love the most?
Babar: In no particular order, custom hand-made portfolios by L'Atelier du Packaging, vintage Ducati motorcycles, Gretsch drums, anything made by Apple, and Canon cameras.

HC: Favourite song?
Babar: Right now Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys.

HC: What makes your juices flow?
Babar: Having a creative idea and then being able to follow it through the sometimes difficult stages to eventually realize it - there's a thrill in making it tangible.

HC: Last trip? Next one?
Babar: Last trip was Paris, a great source of inspiration and a place where I've spent a lot of time. Next trip... maybe New York City.

HC: Tell us something nobody knows...
Babar: I don't think anyone knows my father was an excellent photographer in his younger years, taking black-and-white photographs in Rome, Paris, Germany and Canada.

HC: Where and when can we see your work?
Babar: Probably the best place is my website. We will be launching an updated site soon with a lot of new work.
Babar Khan

All images in this piece are photography works by Babar Khan.


Em said...

the very first image looks like she's beckoning something and we can't do anything for her. ive totally fallen in love with his photos, I dont know why i never heard of him before. props to him, good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Definately a variety of work. Some very modern and fresh images and some more old world. Fun and interesting questions too.

TimmyTom said...

if i was an eyewear company i'd get him to do my ad campaign. the quality/freshness of the anna karina pic is amazing

Alex said...

Maria with Mask is very mysterious. Infact many of his photos are. I will have a peek at his website. Do you know if the photos are for sale or anything? Thanks for the information and interview. Another great artist to follow!

Bradley James said...

Lots of talent

Anonymous said...

I love the work your showcasing on your blog, keep up the good work. Looking forward to the next piece.

Eric said...

This is a very enjoyable write up. The photography is amazing. Well done to him.

Haute Cheeks said...

Alex, I don't know if they are for sale, but you can definately contact Babar personally through his website He was a real gentleman to work with, I'm sure he'll follow up with your query.