Through The Lens With Hansraj Dochaniya

Through The Lens With Hansraj Dochaniya

Photographer and art director Hansraj Dochaniya’s work is chock-full of vivid images alluding to surrealism. Read on to know more about his creative process, and his journey.

Coming from a non-creative background, it is often hard to tap into the creative field - but art director, consultant, and photographer Hansraj Dochaniya has got it nailed to the T.

Although Dochaniya doesn’t come from a background of creatives, he graduated with a degree in fashion communication and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. An individual who was always drawn to the art of photography, Dochaniya explored curious objects, friends, and more around him with a tiny digital camera, eventually sharing his documentations on social media.

When met with a positive response, he bought his first DSLR in 2009 to pursue photography professionally and started shooting look-book along with conceptual and experimental photographs. Whether it is his distinctive use of coloured lighting, the vivid imagery he creates, or his fascinating art direction process, each and every one of Dochaniya’s photographs are unforgettable.

His work reflects a certain unconventionality that derives inspiration from a myriad of sources. Be it never-ending thoughts, interesting conversations, a scene or dialogue delivery from a movie, a photograph, or even a line from a book or newspaper, the photographer’s process is ever evolving.

“My visual vocabulary is very unorthodox and radical in nature,” shares Hansraj. “I am more of a nonconformist myself.”

Far from cookie-cutter shots, Dochaniya’s images portray complex realities alluding to surrealism - an ode to his foray into art direction and his need to take charge of his images.

“After years of working in the industry as a photographer, I realised one must delve into each aspect of the whole process of Image-making in great detail. It's similar to how a painter, before starting his painting, imagines and visualises the whole scene in their head like colours, moods, a subject, painting technique, or even brush strokes.”

Hansraj Dochaniya

This attention to detail extends into his creative process as well and the photographer’s post-production process is limited to playing with the colour of images. Hansraj is adamantly against the unethical idea of changing one’s body type and colour which tries to promote a false idea of beauty standards set by the industry. Instead, the creative believes in appreciating and promoting the rawness of certain characteristics.

Even when it comes to his execution, Hansraj has a ubiquitous process where he works on a single idea or picture that he tries expanding on as a concept - something that is evident with two of his most popular series’, The Fridge, and Midnight.

“I like working on a single idea or a picture, and If I succeed, I then try to expand that Idea into a multiverse and work on its branches. This is what I aspire to do, I see all my work as a colossal tree branching out with leaves, fruits & flowers. All of it as a singular family.”

Hansraj Dochaniya

As a creative, talking about your own work is never easy – but when asked about his favourite creation so far, Hansraj fondly recalls a piece he calls The Last Photograph. A photograph of musician and artist Jatinder Singh, taken on the 2nd of January 2020 in Pondicherry, The Last Photograph was captured with the intent of Dochaniya wanting to capture Singh’s persona in a way never done before - to showcase the persona and personality so strongly, that even the powerful tides couldn’t move him.

“The unwavering stillness was only possible if I, as a photographer mimicked his movement and stood as strong as him facing the tides. Right after a strong wave hit Jatinder ’s back, it was headed towards me. I was engrossed in taking the perfect frame and did not realise the wave rushing towards me. I was sure about the shot and that was all that mattered. Right, when I took the shot, the wave hit me, I lost my footing and slipped into the water along with my camera."

Hansraj Dochaniya

He continues by further revealing,

"As soon as I recovered, I took the memory card out without thinking about the camera. After taking a deep breath, the realisation hit me, that my beloved camera is no more. The powerful, unwavering persona of the Artist is the last image to be taken. That’s how my 2020 started. Nevertheless, no regrets. But I will always remember this last photograph.”

Hansraj Dochaniya

And as for what the future holds for him? Hansraj leaves us hanging by teasing us with future prospects which include a few personal projects and collaborations with different artists that he promises to unveil soon.

On his take on the current creative culture and where he sees himself in the midst, the art director reveals,

“Culture is very dynamic and intangible for me. It can mean traditions and their expressions, social practices as well as rituals. A common expression in visual arts and performing arts that emerges from social changes and influences are also a part of the culture. To be inspired by traditions and expressing based on cultural realities is my pursuit and a big part of what I am trying to contribute as well as educate through my work.”

Hansraj Dochaniya

Head on over to Hansraj’s official Instagram page to get a glimpse into the fascinating realm of his photographs.

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