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Behind the Lens: Raj Iyer

Behind the Lens: Raj Iyer
Allow me to introduce fine art photographer Raj Iyer. I think you will apprecaite Raj's work and his precision behind the lens. As soon as I saw Raj's work I believed that it would resonate with anyone who loves the outdoors and the sea. Not only is his work gorgeous, his photographs tell a story that transport you instantly to the beach, the cliffs, the lighthouse, or wherever he points his lens. I'm always intrigued by the person behind the art. I hope you enjoy learning about this lovely man as much as I enjoyed interviewing him!
Many photographers begin taking photos as children, often because they are shy and feel more comfortable behind a camera. Is this you? When did you take your first photos? 
I wasn't a shy kid, always had a lot of confidence, and was driven by curiosity, which is still the case even today. I got into photography by chance.  I was around 11 years old when I received a camera as a gift from my uncle, who had just returned from the US. The best gift for a teenager, and I was 'hooked'. I received three gifts - a Sony Walkman, a Chinon camera with multiple lenses, and a Sneaker. As you can imagine, I was out there snapping pictures of anything and everything. I remember boxes of Kodak films and prints just gathering in my closet. 
Tell me about your education. Did you study art or photography, or are you self-taught? 
Oh! It was completely self-taught. And I am still learning. Like any art or just about anything in life, you can’t be a master of it despite popular belief. I would see other photographers work and try to recreate, but with my twist. I learned how to develop pictures in a dark room, and now I continue to better myself in Adobe Lightroom.
Your subjects are often nature, animals, and particularly water. Why do these images inspire you? 
I have always considered myself a generalist, so you can look at me as a life photographer versus landscape or macro or wildlife, and so on. Where my curiosity takes me, I will find a subject to photograph. That said, I do gravitate towards nature, animals, and water. I think nature is a story by itself, and if we listen carefully, it is narrating one to us every day. I am drawn to water and, at the same time, scared and humbled by it. There’s something magical about water. 
Some photographers are attracted to images of decay -- old buildings, ruins, etc. Your current photos are very technical and precise, capturing slices of perfect moments. Tell me about that focus (pardon the pun!) and how it evolved? 
That’s kind of you to say so. I won’t consider myself very technical at all but timing is very important. Patience is a virtue for photographers. People see the final result in a photograph but don’t realize the preparation and hard work behind them. Very rarely, we get a shot in one try. Mostly numerous effort yields one single image worthy of showing. I know of photographers who camp out in the night for that beautiful starry night, wake up early every day for the sunrise, hide in wilderness for the elusive glimpse and dive into the abyss for the unknown. It’s very inspiring.  
There are usually big differences between what an artist likes to paint or photograph and what sells the best. Is that the case for you? What is your favorite subject to photograph and what are your best selling subject photographs?
I enjoy every picture I take, so that makes it easy. That said, yes, there are certain subjects that I gravitate towards more for personal reasons, but they don’t sell too well. I love taking pictures of dogs. I don’t get many clients willing to hire me for some fantastic photos of their four-legged friend. The work that gets the most recognition is my beach and mountain collection.  
You (like many professional photographers) love a Nikon. Do you always shoot digital or do you ever use film? 
I used to use film. Digital photography, on the one hand, revolutionized photography but minimized its importance, especially with smartphones and other devices that have made everyone a self-labeled photographer. I am an unofficial Nikon ambassador. I love Nikon.  My gear is my companion. 
You do very few portraits of people. Do you ever get asked to shoot a cousin's wedding or a friend's birthday? Is that your ultimate nightmare, or do you do it? 
Good observation. Portrait of people does not appeal to me. 
It’s not the subject but the attitude that comes with it. I find, in general, photographing people more about pleasing them and less about creative storytelling. Some photographers have done very well in this. 
I used to get asked often, not anymore. 
In an empty house, you have one large wall and only one large wall to hang any photo on. What photo is it? 
Picture of my best friend – my boy – my dog – a Newfoundland named Einstein. He passed away in 2016, was 12 years old. 
Do you take commissions, and if so, what types are you willing to do?
I do custom requests. My areas of specialty include: 
Landscape: Beach, Sea, Lakes and Mountains as primary subject 
Dog Photography: Outdoor and Indoor 
All custom request pricing is based on client needs and expectations and start from $1500 onward. 

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