Vikram Kushwah is a London-based photographer who dwells in dark dreams teeming with the magic of the natural world. Described as both romantic and surrealist in composition and subject matter, Vikram’s photographs are rich with classical symbolism and twisting narratives set within contemporary contexts. From petrified woodland creatures and fairytale landscapes to creeping vines and betressed witch-women, every image is filled with dreamy and distorted sorcery.
Inspired by stories he read as a child and modern styles and colour palettes, Vikram’s photographs take fashion photography to exciting places. The elaborate stagings he creates for his images are reminiscent of Victorian open-air theatre sets, and his use of materials, such as paper, found objects and taxidermy animals, only strengthens the element of the uncanny stalking his photographs.
Vikram began his creative career by studying fashion design, fuelled by a love of cutting and stitching fabrics together to create his own, imaginative and completely unwearable wardrobe. After a year spent as an assistant photographer in Bombay, he headed to Ooty to study the art form and further develop his craft. Ooty, in southern India, is a beautiful town that sits within the Nilagiri Hills, or Blue Mountains; the perfect setting to begin producing photographs that toy with the concepts of magic, illusion and dreams. It was here that this artist learnt that photography is whatever you want it to be.
After leaving the picturesque Blue Mountains, Vikram studied at the London College of Communication and then in Rochester where he completed his MA in photography. You’d assume that after all this study, a cavalcade of changing landscapes providing limitless creative inspiration, and a preoccupation with fantasy stories, Vikram might have gone striding off into the sunset in search of grand fame and fortune. Instead he found his muse in stuffed wolves and owls, dappled light, crumbling buildings and the eggshell enamel of ageing bath tubs.
The ragged yet historically luxe city of London is where Vikram finds his inspiration and creates new images, from photographs for Vogue Magazine and the pages of its glossy cousins, to personal sets produced for new and thrilling exhibitions. As well as being a highly acclaimed commercial and creative photographer, Vikram spends his time teaching art and photography students; imparting a little wisdom and great deal of his vision to others. We are bowled over by the beauty of his photographs and the many enchanting and frightening stories they have to tell.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth