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Currently based in Hong Kong, photographer Palani Mohan's work has been widely published by many of the world’s leading and respected publications including National Geographic, Stern, Geo, the New York Times, TIME magazine and Newsweek. He has published three photographic books and is completing his fourth and has been recognized with awards from the World Press Photo, Picture of the Year International, National Press Photographers Association, American Photo, Sony International and Communication Arts.

09.13.11

Dust on The Frame

If you have a degree in what field is it? I don’t have a degree of any kind.

Which photographer would you like to meet? Most of the people I would like to meet/have a drink with are dead: Robert Capa, Richard Avedon, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Mapplethorpe and Dorothea Lange are a few.

What famous person (living or dead) would you most like to photograph? I have thought about this a lot, believe it or not, and for me it has to be Gandhi.

Aside from your camera and lighting, what item could you not work without? That’s all I need—well, maybe my iPhone too.

Is there anything you would not digitally retouch? The only thing I retouch is dust I can see on the frame... especially in the sky.

From where do your best ideas originate? When I’m looking out the windows of cars, buses and planes.

How do you overcome a creative block? Looking over the large photographic book collection I have; viewing great works gets you back into sync.

Do you have creative pursuits other than photography? Video and editing.

What music are you listening to right now? Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat major.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? I spend a lot of time away from home. I have two children and I struggle with this every day I’m away from them. Photographers are selfish people; at least, I know that I am when it comes to my work.

What's your favorite quote? “Of all lies, art is the least untrue.” —Gustave Flaubert

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? You will never get rich being a photographer. But, I can promise, if you give it your all you will live a rich life.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? There are many great photographers doing amazing work out there. Don’t waste your time trying to be better than them; find your own path and do what’s important for you.