The 'Ramu Kaka' Behind the Lens: Rufus Reynolds
Apr 03, 2017 | Shailee Rath
Born and brought up in 'Bombay' (now Mumbai), and having spent five years in London, Rufus Reynolds is the kind of person who could inspire anybody. He and his team have traveled all over India and have captured moments from their travels and put them up on social media. This has garnered immense followers, fame, and likes for them. Team MM caught up with him after his short lecture and came to know that there is more than just photography behind his unique and quirky frames.
Rufus, aka ‘Ramu Kaka’ has a degree in Hotel Management. For 32 years of his life, he did not know what he was doing with his life. Stuck in a 9-to-6 job, his corporate life gave him money, and that's what he thought he would be doing for the rest of his life. One fine day, his friend gifted him a DSLR camera. The same friend took him around Bombay and they clicked lots of photos. At that time he thought, 'something was actually working for him'. In his words,
When you work in a corporate life for 10 years, your brain becomes narrow, you know ki yahi karna hai, grow hona hai.
He learned photography through youtube tutorials and techniques from his friends. After learning photography for one year, he came to the point where he had to decide whether to stick to his job or leave it. When he was sure that he had the adequate audience and the confidence to present his work, he quit his job.
Many people don't know that the primary focus of their work is traveling. Under that domain, comes photography. And under photography come its genres like street, landscape, portrait, festival, etc. They have also been planning to cover weddings as people have been asking them to do so via e-mails.
No work is easy and he narrated a story of when they got into a patch of seriously bad luck. While the team was in Ladakh, they were beaten up by a drunk local and his gang for refusing to stay in his hotel. Thankfully the cops got hold of that gang the next day. One may wonder how do they get funds for all their travels. Answering this, Rufus said that organizations approach them when they find a business opportunity, and in return, they get funding for their travel expenses.
On being asked his opinion on the role of editing software in presenting the final image, he said that they used Photoshop, Lightroom, and Snapseed. A lot of people say that photographs are best in their natural light. Clearing the air, he said,
" We believe that it is the photographer's own will and decision to present the photo the way he wants to, provided he uses these tools to enhance the photo and not to manipulate it."
We engaged his enthusiasm when we asked him that if he was allowed to build a home anywhere on this planet, where would that place be. Mentioning how much he loved this question, he replied that Alaska has a rail route, which is from a non-snowing place to a snowing place and hence the passengers can see the beautiful transition as they travel. He would build a wooden house in the snowy land of Alaska, with a dog running here and there (he is a very 'dog' person), and a motorbike.
Describing his photographic workflow, he says,
" Normal people see the Taj Mahal, pull their camera out, click and go. I don't see the Taj Mahal the way others see. I see the Taj Mahal in an angle wherein I think, 'Why should one always show you the four minars?' We already know that the Taj Mahal has four minars. 'Why not show it in a way that makes you think, "Oh! Aisa bhi hota hai!"
There is a photo clicked by him that shows a person sitting on the edge of a train's door while the train is moving, from above! It has won him a lot of appreciation as the viewer wonders, 'How on earth was this clicked?' , in other words, 'Where is the photographer?' About this, he says, "Think differently. Think in a way, not the rest of the world or the country would think."
Photographers like his own teammates, Karteek Sivagouni, Dikshit Mudra inspire him. Also, Steve Mccurry from National Geographic whom he had met in Jaipur is a huge source of inspiration. He is aware of some of the amazing budding photographers in the institute. His message for them was to get done with their education first before venturing into stuff like this.
Photography can make you or break you. If you are not educated, you will be nowhere. Amazing photographers are made after the age of 34. Because you need immense experience and vision. So complete your education, enter the corporate world, understand how things work, how the world reacts and then be a photographer.