JRP: Diti Kotecha is a talented designer and photographer that I became aware of on Tewfic El Sawy’s blog, “The Travel Photographer”. Her images are fresh and her style is compelling. I am happy to be able to share our conversation with our readers.
Thanks Diti for sharing some time with JRP Blog.
Diti Kotecha: Thank you James, I am really excited!
JRP: Where is home for you?
Diti Kotecha: Home, for me is my country, India. I love living here and I feel so so lucky to be born in and to be constantly exposed to a place that is so colorful, chaotic and culturally diverse.
JRP: What led you into photography and design work?
Diti Kotecha: I pretty much stumbled into it, actually! I bought my first film camera, the Nikon FM10 (because in college it was ‘the camera to buy’!) to document and case study built forms for college assignments while studying architecture.
Architecture changed me. It was during this period that I lived away from my comfortable city home in Mumbai for the first time. I became more culturally sensitive and I began to travel a lot, documenting everything on my way!
JRP: What tools would we find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Diti Kotecha: While traveling I carry my FM10 with the standard 18-70 lens which I mainly use for black and white photography, my digital SLR which is currently a Nikon D50 with the standard 18-55 lens, but I am upgrading to a D90 next week (finally!), a 10-20 wide angle lens, an 18-200 lens and a light and compact tripod.
On a daily basis I carry either of my cameras.
JRP: Please describe your digital work flow and the software you use.
Diti Kotecha: I use an Apple MacBook Pro for design and photography in which I have the Adobe CS3 suite installed. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash for design work. Photoshop for photography.
I shoot in RAW format and convert the images to tiffs after post-processing. I save for web for any images that I need to upload on my blog, website or flickr account.
JRP: How do you handle image printing?
Diti Kotecha: I have printed only twice so far. Once for my first photography street exhibit and the second time for a photography competition that I recently participated in.
For both cases I hired the same printer I use for most of my design print work. I am very happy with them.
JRP: As a designer what special insights do you bring to your photography?
Diti Kotecha: Well, it’s completely subconscious, but I do feel my photography work tends to be very abstract and graphic, compositionally. Right now I feel that I need to drift away from this and create work that is more spontaneous and uninvented. I need to learn to listen more to my gut than my ‘design sense’!
JRP: Share with us any projects you are currently working on
Diti Kotecha: Currently I am full time into graphic design and I am working on a couple of personal photography projects. One is with Akanksha, an NGO that educates and councils underprivileged children who continually live with the trauma of physical and sexual abuse, children whose parents can afford nothing more that the government schools that have extremely poor education standards and teaching facilities.
Another full time ‘project’ for me is my daily photoblog that I started this year as a new year’s resolution. My blog really encourages me to carry my camera with me wherever I go and to keep shooting!
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Diti Kotecha: I remember this vividly! I was participating in an evening course in reportage photography while visiting my sister in London, and Simon Wheatley came to speak to us. He said that a lot of reportage photography depends on luck so one needs to shoot a lot and identify where the luck, or rather the opportunity is.
He said to find your own poetry that stands out and reflects your own personality such that it is almost autobiographical and goes beyond routine photojournalism.
And he also said that it is very important to wear a big smile!
JRP: What advice would you like to share with photographers and designers starting out?
Diti Kotecha: I feel that when starting out as an independent entity, the biggest advantage is that you can choose your own projects. Work with projects or causes that you love. It could be a documentation for an animal welfare organization if you love animals or it could be a CD cover for your favorite music band.
Or work with good people who have honest products and services, people who love and truly believe in what they are doing and all in all are a pleasure to work with.
Just do it if you love it!
JRP: Thank you Diti for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure and inspiration talking with you. We wish you continued success.
Diti Kotecha: It’s a pleasure to talk about what I enjoy so much. So thank you, again. I am truly grateful.
JRP: To view more of Diti Kotecha’s photography please follow these links: