By Emma Lucas
‘Camel Driver, Pushkar’ – Personal work
Martin Prihoda is a Canadian-born advertising and fashion editorial portraiture photographer based in Asia. Martin is one of the top ad photographers in Mumbai and his advertising clients include Ogilvy & Mather, Lowe Lintas, BBDO and TBWA for brands such as Adidas and Kingfisher, to name a few.
Martin’s work is characterised by strong lighting and dramatic portraiture and his subjects often include A-list celebrities such as Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, and Priyanka Chopra (among others) as well as regularly shooting for Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Verve, Marie Claire and Cosmo.
It’s pretty clear that he is very much in demand. Therefore, we were delighted when we got the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his career and work, which we are now able to share with all of you!
Martin Prihoda: That’s a funny story. My wife and I came as tourists just to check the scene and I found work almost immediately, within six months I was shooting for GQ and Vogue. I had to quickly get my Visa paperwork sorted and we were on our way. I was attracted by the potential of the market for print work as well as the high growth rate of the Indian economy. I do believe I have accomplished more here in 5 years than I would have anywhere else. I currently work with almost every major advertising agency on a number of high end international brands.
Production Paradise: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Martin Prihoda: I love the uncertainty, the creativity, the potential and scope of work, being my own boss as well as the time it gives me with my family and the travel opportunities it presents. I’m immensely grateful to being earning a good income as an artist, doing something I love. I know that’s not the reality for a lot of people, so I do consider myself a fortunate person, (albeit a hard-working/risk taking fortunate person.)
Adidas, TBWA Delhi
Production Paradise: You’ve worked with world-renowned advertising clients, brands and fashion magazines; has there been a particular client you were the most excited to work with?
Martin Prihoda: A lot of the people I’ve worked with have become friends. I’ve realised that it’s not all about the work, the work you do or the work you show (thought of course that’s important). It’s also about how you interact and network with people, how you treat them and respect their ideas. It’s important to retain a sort of brand around yourself, a certain way of working that people can trust. I respect my clients and I do honour the trust they put in me, they’ve all been different, some experiences have been better than others. I’ve been working with one creative director for many years now, Arun Kumar from ASKCC in Bangalore, we did the Breakbounce jobs together that are on your site (See here). He has a novel approach to his work and we’ve become great friends over the years. We’re working on a new campaign now and I can’t wait to get started with production.
Production Paradise: What’s the most memorable photo shoot you’ve done? Could you give us a background story?
Martin Prihoda: I shot Hrithik Roshan for GQ when I first arrived in India. I had shown my work to the editorial team and got a call the next day that they wanted me for a cover shoot. I didn’t know who the celebrity was so I had to google him. It was a beautiful shoot but we fought a bit over the lighting. Bollywood stars like to be lit in a certain way and I’m not too sure he approved of my more western style of lighting. I’ve had a ton of compliments on it from people close to him and so I’m glad I stuck to my guns. To this day I think its one of my best shoots.
Hrithik Roshan, GQ India
Production Paradise: What advice would you give to aspiring advertising and fashion photographers?
Martin Prihoda: Work hard to find your own voice, cut through the clutter…take risks, understand yourself and how your mind works, work through fear, see it as an illusion and barrier to your true self. Be kind but firm.
Production Paradise: You often blog about your recent projects and share techniques and behind the scene shots; is having an online presence important to you? What social networks are you actively using for your photography?
Martin Prihoda: I love to share my processes, I think an online presence is a good thing especially if you use it as a platform to help others. I do admit I haven’t been keeping up on it as much as I should but I’m having my new site designed and a blog will be a functional part of that. Sharing keeps the cycle and movement of abundance flowing and that’s a very good thing for an artist…its important not to hoard, whether it be knowledge, finances or love 😉
Production Paradise: What are you working on right now? Is there a particular brand, or even a country where you would like to work in the future?
Martin Prihoda: I have numerous shoots booked for the next few months that will take me to Bangkok, Capetown and Vancouver but my favourite project I’m working on right now is a ‘children’s book for adults’ and fellow artists, its an illustrated guidebook for the inner child and keeping him/her healthy and inspired. I’m working with a very talented illustrator and am super excited about the project. It talks about using basic tools like breath, meditation and yoga to create space and inner peace and will be accessible to everyone who is on a path of self discovery. It’s my way of giving back to to others who at times may struggle in their journey as artists.