Known most famously for his annual Kingfisher calendar, which is said to be “arguably the most prestigious modelling assignment in India” by Rediff, Atul Kasbekar is one of India’s foremost photographers. Born in Mumbai in 1965, Atul went to The Campion School following which he went to Jai Hind College, both in Mumbai. He then joined the University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT) to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, but dropped out in his second year.
Throughout his childhood he would take photos of his sister and his dog, and even though at the time it hadn’t crossed his mind to make photography his career, he did enjoy taking photos. It was only when in UDCT that he realised that his true interest was elsewhere – that it was photography that gave him excitement. Atul recalls meeting Prahlad Kakkar after his first year, who, as it turned out, advised him to pursue what he enjoys because doing that wouldn’t feel like work.
Atul quit UDCT soon afterwards, and decided to focus on photography. He joined the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara and graduated in 1988. He was the batch topper. Following his graduation, he trained for over a year in Los Angeles, working with renowned photographers like Dennis Gray, Ron Slenzak, James B. Wood, Jay Silverman, Jay P. Morgan, Bill Werts and David LeBon.
He returned to India in 1990 and he opened his studio named Negative Space in 1991, effectively launching his professional career. In 2003, Atul released the first edition of the Kingfisher Calendar, an annual calendar featuring various models and actresses in picturesque backdrops. Atul has been associated with the calendar ever since its inception and he, along with Vijay Mallya, is credited with conceptualising the calendar.
So much fame has his calendar garnered that for models to feature on its pages is a matter of prestige, which often helps them get a foothold in Bollywood and a kickstart to their careers. The Kingfisher Calendar has been described by Rediff as “arguably the most prestigious modelling assignment in India.”
Atul Kasbekar took the risk, dropped out of college, pursued his passion and today he is one of India’s most famous photographers. And that’s what makes him our Xpert on photography. At Xpert he shares with you all the lessons he learnt over his career as well as his journey and the advantages and the challenges in his profession.
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