Celebrity Photographer Indrani Speaks at NYFA’s Photography School

This Wednesday, September 30th, Paul Sunday’s Photography class welcomed celebrity photographer and film director, Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri. Indrani’s vast experience and unique sensibility makes her one of the most sought after professional visual artists in the world. Where do we begin…

Originally from Calcutta, India, Indrani’s photography career began while working with Markus Klinko in New York City. Indrani’s work was soon discovered by David Bowie, who commissioned her for his album cover. As one can imagine, Indrani was ecstatic to work with him, even mentioning she thought it was a prank at first.

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Indrani lecturing at New York Film Academy

From there, Indrani’s celebrity clients grew to the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Eva Mendes, Katie Holmes, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Jay-Z, Usher, Kanye West, Val Kilmer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Will Smith, Jaden and Willow Smith. She has collaborated with KAWS and Richard Phillips, among others.

Her advertising clients have included Barney’s New York, LVMH, Lancome, Elizabeth Arden, L’Oreal Paris, Shiseido, Pantene, Head & Shoulders Herbal Essences, Remy Martin, Sky Blue, Lolita Lempika, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Wolford, Girard Perregaux, Anna Sui, MAC, Baume et Mercier, De Beers, Epson, Mattel Broncolor, Hello Kitty, Jaguar, Nike, Pepsi and others.

Her work has been featured in the top tier publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, GQ, The New York Times, The London Sunday Times, In Style and Time.

From strategies for collaborating with celebrities, to practical guidance on balancing technique and creativity, she broke it all down and delivered a memorable masterclass for us. According to Indrani, a lot of her success has come from being a great diplomat as well as being original and pushing the boundaries.

Often times, a photographer only has four to five solid minutes to work with a celebrity client, which can be a challenge within itself. “So much of photography is the talent you work with,” says Indrani. “Some actors are uncomfortable being themselves, and so sometimes you need to give them a role to play.”

Unlike some of other photography guests, Indrani shoots digitally only. Though, while she feels the tools are much easier to work with, she insists photographers continually challenge themselves.

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Indrani with NYFA Photography Co-Chair, Paul Sunday

“Indrani moves through the world with diplomacy and grace and it is no surprise that celebrities the world over have trusted her with their images,” said New York Film Academy Photography Co-Chair, Paul Sunday. “She is a fine role model for emerging artists, balancing the glamour and gloss of her professional life with philanthropy as a persistent advocate for young women, education and environmental sustainability.”

Moving forward in her career, Indrani has taken to her original passion of filmmaking. Indrani’s film and stills for Digital Death won two Gold Lions at Cannes Festival of Creativity for TBWA/Keep A Child Alive and raised millions to fight AIDS in India and Africa. She has also directed music videos for David Bowie and Alicia Keys.

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“It has been a joy to watch Indrani’s continued success as an image-maker, and a great honor to introduce her to our students,” added Sunday. “I was deeply touched by her advice to them regarding thinking and dreaming big. She firmly believes in the power of aspiration to greatly increase our chances of success and surprising ourselves. She counseled photographers to challenge themselves. She also encouraged all of us to hone our technical skills and keep pace with the changes in this ever expanding world of photographic possibilities.”

We wish Indrani the best of luck moving forward in her already incredible career, and sincerely thank her for enlightening our young visual artists.

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