Deccan Chronicle

Creativity Requires Honesty, Courage and A Level of Naivete From The Creator

Deccan Chronicle.| Reshmi AR

Published on: July 22, 2023 | Updated on: July 23, 2023
Ravindra Rathi.

Ravindra Rathi.

Identifying himself as a ‘bawra’ on social media is Ravindra Rathi, a management professional who has turned into a shutterbug to capture the interesting things in daily life — landscapes, urban settings, the natural world, portraits, black and white.

One look at his work and it’s hard to believe he's not formally trained in the art of photography. The ‘bawra’ reference in his words roughly translates to a mix of eccentricity and naivete. "It’s what I aspire in my photography," he says.

In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, Rathi talks about his love for photography and how technology is changing the concept of art.



As a management executive who has ventured into the art of photography, do you think alterations such as deepfake are changing the concept of art?

Technology is constantly evolving and will provide new mediums and tools and I am excited to see how this will impact creativity. We have seen the rise of digital canvases, composites combining the real with the fantastical and now AI. Deepfakes give me a pause since they do not credit the original and have been used as subterfuge or misinformation.

On social media, "no-filter" is the mantra to signify "purity of photography". But as editing technology becomes more sophisticated, should we redefine "purity" as well?

The 'no-filter' movement so far has been in response to the propagation of false standards of beauty and how it impacts self image. I think this is in line with the pushback of the highly edited and processed images on the magazine covers. Purity is such a subjective term so its hard to redefine it but I would like enough awareness and education in society so young and adult minds know the difference between the processed and the real.

What aspects of your day-job bolster your photography, if they do at all.

I have found the influence to be the other way. Photography not only allows me to explore my creativity but also reminds me to look at different perspectives and angles when dealing with a business problem.

Your "Fall Reflections" taken in Upstate New York, near Lake Placid, recall the famous yellow flowers of Van Gogh. Were you conscious of that artistic line while framing the picture?

My intention with 'Fall Reflections' was to build layers; a bit of surrealism. At one level it is a reflection of trees in water but my composition, i hope, allows you to have a different experience each time you look at it - like a kaleidoscope.

All creative people are ‘Bawra’ to an extent, don’t you think? War photographers have to be bravely bawra!

I agree. Creativity requires honesty, courage and a level of naivete from the creator. As for war photographers, their courage, sense of responsibility and drive to bring truth to light is humbling.

Annie Leibovitz, an American and perhaps the greatest portrait photographer in our lifetime, has immortalized the most famous people of the world. Are people more difficult to capture than landscapes?

100%. In my experience, portrait photography is very challenging. I have to build a level of trust with my subject for them to let their guard down, even if briefly, to capture the essence of them. I enjoy candid pics and am always trying to capture my model so they look at themselves in a different light. I remember one model who thought she looked better in her right profile. It was a delight when most pics she liked from the shoot were the left profile.

Social media has given the platform for anybody to be a ‘writer’. The cellphone camera has similarly democratized the act of photographing. But the surfeit of images that deluge our feed every minute of the day produce little worth remembering. What differentiates creativity from just clicking?

Reminds me of the saying that a 1000 monkeys with a 1000 typewriters can eventually create the works of Shakespeare. I do enjoy the proliferation of images. It has allowed for multitude of expression. Since the equipment is not a limitation, the focus has been on creativity. Personally, there are two aspects for me – the emotional and the creative. An image, even if clicked randomly, can convey a feeling to move the viewer but it won't satisfy me fully. Creativity for me is the joy of immersing myself, of exploration, of discovery and at times serendipity to express myself. It's like watching the sunset every day but to be present in the moment, be aware, so we can find something new each time.

Any project that you are working on currently or recent projects that you have enjoyed?

Last December I spent a month traveling through Peru, Chile and Colombia – beautiful places and wonderful people. One of the highlights was visiting the Atacama desert in Northern Chile. Surrounded by Andean volcanoes, pristine lakes, salt planes and an endless landscape with gorgeous sunsets makes for amazing photographs. Atacama also stands out because here in the middle of nowhere, a local old man asked me if I was Indian since my name reminded him of Ravi Shankar!! Traveled halfway across the world only to realize that the world is indeed small.
Currently I am exploring a project on the lives of people who work for delivery apps – unseen but adding tremendous convenience to our lives

Ravindra is currently in India after 25 years in USA working with a biotech startup. You can browse his work on IG (bawrapics) and bawra pics (

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