Pursuit of Happiness

Picture Perfect

Rajesh Ramakrishnan, MD, Perfetti Van Melle, sees the world just slightly different from others, through his lenses

Vishal Koul

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” said one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, Ansel Adams. The truth in that statement resounds every time someone picks up a camera and shoots to capture a moment, an idea or a thought, to be remembered forever. That’s one of the biggest pulls for MD of Perfetti Van Melle towards this passion. “Photography to me is a way of expressing one’s thought. Over time, it has become a passion,” says Rajesh Ramakrishnan.

It started as an after-work hobby when Ramakrishnan signed up for a course in photography in 2003. He was then working in Mumbai at Marico, and would visit St Xavier’s College twice a week to learn the basics, with his Ricoh camera. By the end of the three-month course, he had picked up enough about aperture and shutter speed. But it was just the beginning of his romance with the lenses.

Since then, Ramakrishnan has published six calendars — the first one sported celebrities such as Konkona Sen Sharma, Juhi Chawla and Usha Uthup, Sivamani in various moods. He calls it ‘the A to Z of emotions.’ “A is for anger, B for bliss, C for calm and Z for zest,” he shares. He reached out to all of them through friends or as he says, “someone knew someone.” Even though he had moved to Delhi by then, he would fly to Mumbai just to get the pictures clicked over the weekend. “It was difficult when people would cancel the meeting after I landed,” says Ramakrishnan. But it was worth it. The calendar was launched in 2010, followed by Bring out the Child in You, the following year — both sold to raise funds for NGOs.

An engineer by qualification, Ramakrishnan believes photography has allowed him to explore the right side of the brain, an experience he thoroughly enjoys. Moving around with the camera all the time is not a feasible option, though the iPhone does help. And he doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to capturing pictures of food or the setting sun or any interesting sight. “With time, my own photography has evolved and it’s not restricted to the weekends anymore,” he says. His camera has also received an upgrade; he now uses Canon 5D Mark III. He reveals that his next calendar project is about a year away. “It’s a lot of hard work that goes into it,” explains Ramakrishnan.