My father’s first film camera fascinated me – Photographer Ravindra Racktoo

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By Lakhram Bhagirat

Ravindra Racktoo is one of the up-and-coming young photographers in Guyana with an eye for uniqueness. His photos are distinctive in the sense that they really do make his main subject “pop”.

The young man has been interested in photography from a very young age. While still a child, his father acquired a small film camera to take photos of the family and the pure joy he saw on his father’s face as the family’s photographer inspired Ravindra.

Ravindra Racktoo

That was how his love for the camera developed but he will tell everyone he’d rather be behind the lens as opposed to in front and he has earned that coveted spot. While photography is extremely beautiful, the fact remains that not everyone with a camera is a photographer. The composition of images and subsequent processing of them is what differentiates a photographer from someone that just owns a camera.

It is also what differentiates Ravindra from the others.

The Sunday Times recently had a chat with Ravindra where he shared his journey from being fascinated with his father’s film camera to where he is now – as one of Guyana’s up-and-coming photographers.

Hailing from the East Coast Demerara village of Cove and John, Ravindra comes from a family of five where his parents did everything to ensure that the family was taken care of. He attended the Nabaclis Nursery and then got his primary education at the Swami Purnanandan Primary School.

He would then begin travelling to Georgetown for schooling at Queen’s College and that was where he began exploring his artistic side.

“I had always loved drawing and painting at a young age and decided to actually explore it when I was in high school. There I dabbled in sculpting, sketching, painting and mix media. However, I knew those were not the forms of art which I wanted to fully explore. What I actually wanted to explore was digital art, graphics, photography but none of this was being offered at the time in my school’s art programme,” he related.

After he decided the type of art he wanted to explore, Ravindra acquired his first camera phone and began exploring the simpler side of photography.

“I began to explore simple but effective photography rules and snap photos of whatever I thought would be an interesting photo. After graduating high school, I continued on to the University of Guyana to pursue my tertiary education in Geology. However, I never dropped art but I started to take it a bit more serious and found a way to balance both my studies and photography. I invested in my first camera where I started to capture vibrant and dynamic sunsets and landscape photos. Then I dabbled in making time lapses of things such as passing clouds, the sun setting and the streets of Georgetown,” Ravindra said.

Soon after, he started getting asked to take photos for friends and family, resulting in him venturing into the photography world. He realised that taking photos and documenting the special moments is something he could see himself doing for the rest of his life.

“Some of the best moments I have had in my career is capturing images to tell a story of parents handing over their daughter to be wedded, capturing the emotions of the groom as his best man tells the story of how the couple marrying had actually met, witnessing and documenting proposals/engagements, first dances of a couple and so many other moments. To me these moments are priceless and I’m always thankful I get to share that with my wonderful clients.

“However, to add to this, when I get to see how my wedded client couples light up after their final images have been delivered and watch them use those images to reminisce on their wedding day is honestly the best reward I could ever ask for and in my opinion, that’s what makes the occupation of being a photographer so special,” the 23-year-old photographer shared.

Ravindra took a few short photography courses to help him master the fundamentals but according to him, photography is really about how one sees the world and requires going out and experimenting. The method of trial and error worked wonders in getting him to where he is since the field demands constant creativity and originality.

Hie explained that his style of photography deals primarily with contrast.

“I love to use contrast to always make my subject pop from my photos. I do multiple things to achieve this such as using depth, colours, perspectives, etc. The end results are always the same and that result is always satisfied clients. I see myself continuing to provide this type of service while evolving it to be better while sharing my craft with many more Guyanese; capturing their moments and putting more smiles on faces in the years to come.”

While most of his creative inspirations come from music, Ravindra is also inspired by the work of photographers such as Ian Defreitas, Fidal Bassier, Saajid Husani, Taylor Jackson and Pye Jirsa.

The field of photography is costly and losing something, having something break or wanting to upgrade can easily create a huge burden. However, photographers must persevere in order to better their craft.

When asked what advice he would share with his fellow up-an-coming photographers, Ravindra said “I would advise anyone who wishes to pursue this field to be aware of the challenges that lies within this field and try to know what kind of photographer you would like to be. Use smartphones to experiment and find yourself as a creative. Photography is absolutely beautiful. It’s obviously not for everyone but if it’s for you, you will definitely know. It allows you to be expressive through pixels and a lens. It allows you to tell the story that you want to tell, from your perspective and with that comes freedom, all while putting a smile on people’s faces and capturing moments that will live on for generations.”

You can connect with the young man via Instagram: @ravindraracktoophotograhy; Facebook: Ravindra Racktoo Photography; or contact him on +592-612-6054 for bookings.