Fashion photographer Jeremy Hauhnar has worked with some of the best models and designers in India. His work has been featured in numerous national and regional publications. It may come as a surprise to those who have seen him at work, doing what he does so effortlessly, to learn that Jeremy wasn’t always interested in photography. During his teenage years, he was more interested in fashion. He loved to experiment with clothes and stay updated on the latest trends in the world of fashion. He says, ‘I used to paint my t-shirt, tear my jeans and style myself according to the latest trends.’
The Starting Phase
Before he started college, some photographers from Mizoram created a group called Mizo Photographers on Facebook. When he joined the group, he started posting pictures of landscapes, portraits and sundry other subjects. What started as friendly competition on the page eventually got him interested in the craft. Jeremy says, ‘The members of Mizo Photographers motivated me and though I started taking pictures as a hobby – it became my career. I learned a lot from that experience.’
‘When I moved to Shillong for college, my friend Nathan suggested that I should try fashion photography as I was already interested in fashion. That’s how I got started. I was lucky enough to meet Arif Mukhim, the popular designer from Shillong who helped sharpen my skills and taught me all there is to know about the fashion industry. I can’t thank him enough. Because of him, I decided to take up fashion photography as a career.’
Mario Testino, Bill Cunningham, Tarun Khiwal and Tim Walker are some photographers he looks up to.
Scope in the Northeast
Hauhnar feels that the scope for fashion photography in the Northeast is not what it should be, but those who are passionate and determined will figure out a way to showcase their art within the region and beyond. ‘Honestly speaking, there is not much scope for fashion photography in the Northeast as compared to the major cities in India. But let’s not only focus on the Northeast, we need to sharpen our skills and creativity so that we get a chance to work in the mainstream fashion industry as well. Luckily, with God’s blessings and support from my family and friends, I have been able to push through and make a name for myself. Till date, it’s been a mostly positive experience. And I would like to encourage those who are interested in pursuing this line of work that everything is possible with a humble attitude and good old-fashioned hard work.’
The First Film on Fashion from Northeast India
A first for any fashion photographer from the Northeast, Jeremy has also produced and directed a film on fashion called La Belle. The story revolves around three girls from different backgrounds who are scouted by the editor of a famous magazine, La Belle. The film captures the real struggles of the young models as well as the glamour of the fashion industry. From the glitter of the ramp to the struggles of real life, La Belle seeks to showcase the ups and downs of the industry.
La Belle was mostly shot in Shillong. It features renowned designer Daniel Syiem, former Mega Miss North East, Jessica Ruth Cunville Marbaniang, and Rudy Marak, the winner of Pond’s Eclectic Model Hunt 2012. The movie has been shot in English, Khasi and Mizo.
By Payel Bhattacharjee
This article was first published in Eclectic Northeast (Sep 2016) issue