By MADIHA SYEDAIN
Among the list of new entrepreneurs, Irfan Ahson is a valuable addition to the world of wedding and bridal photography in Pakistan. Over a span of barely two years, he has become one of the most sought after trend setting wedding photographer in Pakistan, covering grandest events from coast to coast. He holds a Masters in Civil Engineering from The Univ. of Texas, Austin but now also accepting very select photography assignments besides engineering consultancy work.
Under the umbrella, of ‘Fine Art Weddings,’ this self taught-talented photographer has created beautiful ‘big day’ memories within Pakistan and abroad. Fine Art Weddings, is a home to professional photography services, Bridal Photography and Wedding coverage in Pakistan.
SUNDAY PLUS talks to the brilliant photographer IRFAN AHSON who specializes in documenting the story of the most special day of your life in ‘Fine Art’ style producing images that will give you a lifetime of memories.
S+: Which projects are you working on now?
Irfan Ahson: Right now, my main focus is to finish the renovation of the studio that I started last month. Besides, that I am working on a couple of fashion shoots and not to mention the wedding season is in full swing.
S+: When did you decide to become a photographer?
Irfan Ahson: I felt the first sparks, way back in 1991; when I experimented a little, checked out few photography books from Aitchison library and then there was no looking back. It did not become a serious hobby till 2006, when I acquired my first DSLR while working in Texas as a Civil Engineer.
S+: Could you tell us about when you started working as a photographer?
Irfan Ahson: As I stated, I was working in Austin, Texas as a Civil Engineer. Being newly shifted there, did not know too many people so had a lot of free time to kill at my hands. I picked it up as a hobby in 2005 and then by early 2006, I started offering professional services only to generate funds for my new toys.
S+: Where did you learn about photography?
Irfan Ahson: I am completely self taught; library, Barnes and Noble book store photography section and online forums are some of the sources from where I gleaned it all from over a period of three years.
S+: Fine Art Weddings caters to which occasion…
Irfan Ahson: We cater to any special occasion or moment in your life which is precious to you and would want to relive and revisit every time you open your album.
S+: What kind of photographic services ‘Fine Art Weddings,’ offer…
Irfan Ahson: We offer all kinds of photography services ranging from corporate, fashion, bridal, portrait, architectural etc.
S+: Fine Art Weddings clientele/price range….
Irfan Ahson: We cater to a niche market that is discerning and understands the hard work and dedication that goes in creating a work of art!
S+: Could you tell us how you approach each new event?
Irfan Ahson: It depends on the kind of event; For instance, if, it is a wedding, it is treated differently and if, it is a designer brand fashion shoot there is a different modus operandi.
S+: How would you describe Fine Art Weddings style?
Irfan Ahson: Fine Art Weddings, style is where you put the emphasis on the emotions and feelings of your ‘big day’ while capturing the whole grandeur and beauty of your event in a seamless manner.
S+: How does a typical day start for you?
Irfan Ahson: My typical day always begins in frenzy as I have to rush to the studio for answering emails and queries, schedule team for different events, procure new equipment, meet prospective clients and do album delivery etc.
S+: Do you organize training programmes/workshops for learners?
Irfan Ahson: Yes, during summer I offer classes; For instance in 2013, I had seven batches which consisted of ten students each.
S+: What is the scope of photography business in Pakistan?
Irfan Ahson: Since, the past few years, it has come up as a viable and respectable career option. No longer is it looked down upon.
S+: What kind of photojournalistic experience you have before you went on to become wedding photographer?
Irfan Ahson: I did not have a newspaper type of experience. I used to look at other peoples’ work, read a lot and watched documentaries that sharpened my skills.
S+: What have been the highlights of Fine Art Weddings so far?
Irfan Ahson: The highlight in US was capturing the oath ceremony of Governor of Texas, Rick Perry and in Pakistan it was being made the brand ambassador of Pentax, Pakistan.
S+: What do you think makes a good photographer?
Irfan Ahson: A good eye, complete command over your gear and strong technical skills.
S+: What goes through your head right before you snap a picture?
Irfan Ahson: When will the light be perfect, when everything will fall right in to place, when the perfect smile will shine through.
S+: Tell us about your most memorable event/popular weddings?
Irfan Ahson: The most memorable wedding was of the Pakistani Pop Singer Atif Aslam and Sara Bharwana. The couple had great chemistry and gave me shot after shot without having to ask for it.
S+: Tell us about your media highlights (if any)?
Irfan Ahson: I have been in media various times; on PTV, Sunday Times, Brides and You, Gen Y, few online publications, and couple of radio shows. I have given lectures in many institutions and also presided over as a judge.
S+: Why should people come to Fine Art Weddings?
Irfan Ahson: If quality and value matter to you and you want to immortalize your most precious moments, then you should definitely consider us.
S+: What advice would you give to anyone looking to improve their photographic skills?
Irfan Ahson: Practice a lot and invest in good gear and learning sessions.
S+: When are the busy times of year for your business?
Irfan Ahson: October to March, are really busy times for weddings.
S+: What are some of the problem/risks with running your business?
Irfan Ahson: The general situation of security, power shortage, employee retention and road hazards are main problems with running your business.
S+: How much do you enjoy owning your business and why?
Irfan Ahson: I am really grateful to Allah (SWT) for enabling me to own my personal business. I can determine my own direction in life instead of my boss determining where I stand five years down the road. Also, the respect, I have received from fans is beyond my wildest imaginations.
S+: How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Irfan Ahson: It hasn’t been an easy task and I have not been able to create that balance with the family. But Insha-Allah once the studio is done, I will be a more responsible family man!
S+: What are your plans for the year 2014?
Irfan Ahson: To spin off the wedding work to my team and to concentrate on ads and short film production.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 09-Feb-2014