Celebrity photographer R Burman’s aim isn’t just to create good images. “It’s always about the person rather than their physique. I try to capture what they are internally. Everyone is a product of their exposure — the books they have read, films or plays they have watched or sushi they ate. All this should reflect in a picture.”
Burman worked in New York with artistes like Mark Seliger and Steven Klien before moving to India in 2008. Contrary to popular belief that a good picture needs perfect lighting, composition and angles, Burman says, “You only have to start at a good point. But if you go with a set agenda, you will never explore what ‘could have been’.
‘Sonam Kapoor is my muse’
If Sonam asked me jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, I would readily do so. She is my muse. She slides into a model’s skin as well as that of an actor’s with so much ease. She is never conscious in front of the camera and there are no constrictions to shoot her from certain angles. She has the perfect jaw line, expressive eyes and knows her body like a dream.
‘She has a sparkle’
This picture was taken much before Nargis signed Imtiaz Ali’s next film, Rockstar. During an ad-shoot, she was walking to a room for a wardrobe change. When she turned around, the light on her profile was breathtaking. I randomly shot several frames. Even back then she always had that sparkle about her. She is special.
‘He has classic Italian quality’
This was my first shoot with Imran. We brainstormed quite a bit before this picture was taken, until I spotted the pool. Imran is so patient and giving, and has an old classic Italian quality to his face. He has the kind of refinement that Al Pacino had in the first Godfather film. He has no bad angles. Even when he is in motion and you follow with a camera, you will get a good image.
‘Hooked on to cinema lights’
This image was shot for a Danish publication in London and was one of my favourite shoots. It marked a major changing point in the way I began looking at light. I got hooked on to cinema lights after this. The model Ocean Moon was half Indian-half Irish. Her face has this amazing innocence, charisma and fragility, which is to die for. A Japanese designer made this headgear.
‘John Abraham is a natural’
When you take a jug of water and pour it on the ground, it takes its own course. Shooting with John is like that. Having been a model earlier, he is comfortable and spontaneous when facing the camera. He wasn’t trying to pose in this picture. It was completely natural, something that he always is when he’s being shot.