MY CREATIVE JOURNEY TO BECOMING A PHOTOGRAPHER
Photography was a career change for me. I finished a business degree in 2003, and shortly after moving to London, I began my first job as a Junior Account Executive in a Tech PR company! It still makes me laugh thinking about this as it was so far removed from how I had envisaged my career to begin! It wasn’t long before I realised this wasn’t the industry for me and that I needed to make some drastic moves if I wanted to find a career path about which I could be passionate.
I chose to enrol onto a photography degree at the LCC (London College of Communication) and during the first year was lucky enough to land an assisting role with a fine art photographer that was beginning to shoot commercial projects in the fashion and advertising sector. The experience was invaluable as it taught me a lot about the technical aspects of lighting and the production behind a photographic shoot. I also began a studio assisting role at London’s Big Sky Studios and relished the opportunity to assist several different photographers. The pay was minimal, but the experience was opening my eyes to the possible avenues my own photography might take.
The first few jobs I landed were only really covering expenses, but I felt I was moving in the right direction when I was shooting behind-the-scenes at London Fashion Week for Dazed Digital. To have my work published was exciting but realising that I had no particular interest in fashion, it became apparent that I was unlikely to excel in this field!
I began a part-time sales advisor role with Leica (a German manufacturer of high-end cameras and lenses) as a way to earn some money while maintaining a foot in the industry. I would later move to the ‘Akademie’ department where I began leading photographic workshops. As I was able to maintain this as a part-time role, I could continue to pursue my own freelance photography. Through a contact at Dazed Digital, I began shooting portraits for Port Magazine and I began to realise this was something I very much enjoyed. Gradually I began to take my portraiture a bit more seriously.
A lucky break was meeting David Suchet at Leica. With a shared passion for photography, we immediately hit it off. It felt an honour to meet such a highly regarded and talented actor. His enthusiasm and passion for life are genuinely infectious. I finally plucked up the courage to ask him whether I could possibly take his portrait. I wanted to make a portrait unlike any other image I’d ever seen of him and wondered whether he might be willing to pose bare chested in the studio. David was immediately on board with the concept and the end result was more like a collaboration. This marked the first of many portraits I would take of him, and he would later commission me to take his new headshots, which for me was obviously a huge honour. Most recently I helped David with his photographic edit for his autobiographical picture led book, “Behind the lens”.
With David’s portraits on my portfolio, it’s certainly helped open a few doors and I have started to do more and more actor’s headshots as a result.
This blog piece should have been finished a long time ago (sorry Elena!). My lockdown life has somehow become incredibly busy with virtual workshops for Leica and also as a result of beginning a lockdown portrait project on my street in Walthamstow. I mention this as it’s somehow become my most publicised project, recently taking The Guardian’s centre spread (still can’t believe it!), featuring on the BBC News website and soon in a special edition of Il Corriere della Sera (the main newspaper in Italy). This is a project I almost didn’t shoot as I knew other similar projects were already in progress. Having slept on it for a couple of days, I came up with a slightly different twist and wondered whether my neighbours might enjoy getting dressed up as if they had a special occasion to attend, hence the title “All dressed up and nowhere to go”. Thankfully 31 households jumped on board and I suddenly had a manic schedule!
I hope to use this new-found momentum to put on an exhibition and hopefully raise some funds for the NHS.
Born in Aberdeen and growing up in Newcastle, Robin Sinha moved to London in 2003. After completing a BA in Photography at the London College of Communication (UAL), Robin began assisting at London’s Big Sky Studios, working alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. His personal freelance photography career began soon after.
Robin describes his photography as ‘people-led’. Although commercially he may move in other directions, people are what he’s mostly interested in.
In 2009, Robin joined Leica UK where he works part-time as an Akademie Ambassador and lead photography workshop tutor.
In 2018 Robin was shortlisted for two prestigious photography awards: The Portrait of Britain and the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.