In Conversation with Hamza Khan Baande | Billboard Pakistan

Hamza Khan Baande is an award-winning fashion photographer and cinematographer. He's a graduate of the National College of Arts, Lahore. Hamza has worked with many renowned and famous brands both locally and internationally. It was an honour for us to interview such a thoughtful, talented and hardworking personality.

Hamza Khan Baande is an award-winning fashion photographer and cinematographer. He’s a graduate of the National College of Arts, Lahore. Hamza has worked with many renowned and famous brands both locally and internationally.

Q1. Out of all the professions, what made you choose photography? Were you always a creative person since your childhood?

Ans. I’m very lucky because of the series of events that occurred in my life, which have guided me to where I am right now. Ever since I was a child, I was fond of collecting stationery such as colored pencils and pens. I didn’t know how to draw but with practise; I learned to draw and sketch. During this stage of my life, I used to look at photoshoots and advertisements on billboards, which really intrigued me. It sparked my interest in photography. Moving on, I got a digital camera, and I started taking photos and doing shoots with it, which gave me the room to learn photoshop to perfect my work. I was never interested in studies since the start, but after all this, I started thinking of NCA, which made me realize my love for photography even more and I wanted to pursue it as a career.

Q2. What challenges have you faced so far?

Ans. Challenges come and go, it’s a part of life. I faced different challenges while I was in college, and I face different challenges today with clients. I take every day as a different challenge that I have to overcome and achieve. For me, there’s no challenge big enough to achieve and complete. I take challenges very positively and there’s a new challenge for me every day.

Q3. I’ve always seen you carrying a speaker with you on shoots, why is that so?

Ans. Oh, you mean music. Well, you call it a speaker and I call it music. Music inspires me and gives me energy. I believe music connects people. When you’re in a room full of people who have the same personality, listening to the same type of music then you automatically enter the same zone and feel connected. I take cinemas in the same way as well. Even though you go there alone, the whole audience has one goal – to watch the movie. More often than not, we also react to a scene the same way and there’s a certain exchange of energy. While I’m on set, this is what I try to do. My playlist for the day is determined by everyone’s personality on set, and I try to bring everyone to the same level of energy through music.

Q4. Who or what inspires you?

Ans. Music inspires me on set while I’m shooting. If I talk about life, in general, struggle inspires me the most. A struggler inspires me – whether it’s a sweeper who sweeps the streets every morning or a van driver who picks and drops children with responsibility every day. No matter if it’s a hawker who sells fruits on his cart or a CEO of a company that makes billions, if they’re passionate about what they do then it inspires me. At night, reality often hits me and I think if you want to survive then you have to struggle.

Struggle, responsibility, and passion is what inspires me.

Hamza Khan Baande Photographer & Cinematographer

Q5. Share about a project which you will always remember.

Ans. My mentor, my ustaad, my buddy, my brother – Hamza. His name is also Hamza and we share the same birthdate as well. We both share the same passion, ideology and basically everything. He used to do fashion photography and later on worked on films and I used to practice my skills along with him. I got offered a project from one of his friends and I did not want to hide it from him. I went up to him and told him the truth. Back then I didn’t even own a camera and he lent me his own. I didn’t want to mess up this project, which is why I requested him to accompany me on the set and he did. This project was supposed to be his, but he still came to the set to make sure I was doing okay. Later on, I used this project as my portfolio during my interview at NCA and I got admission. It was a life-changing experience for me and I will always remember it.

Q6. You’ve worked with so many people, name one or a few people that you enjoy working with.

Ans. I will say Kazim Hamayun. I have a comfort level with Kazim because I’ve known him for 13 years. We both have explored a lot since our school days. While shooting, I want a team with whom I have coordination and with Kazim, I have that. He’s with me in the industry and his company is the best company.

Q7. How did you and Kazim become friends? Tell us the story.

Ans. Back in 9th grade, I didn’t understand science, so I gave my exams in arts. I gave 14 exams altogether. Kazim was also in the same examination center where I was allotted, but I didn’t know him. I attempted my first exam without looking up; I minded my own business, got done with my exam and went home. On the second day, I was writing down the answers when the invigilator took my answer sheet and walked to the end of the class. I was wondering why he did that because I didn’t do anything and all of a sudden, I realized that someone bribed him to take my answer sheet so he can copy the answers and that ‘someone’ was Kazim. After the exam, we met and started hanging out because he lived in my area and that’s how we became friends.

Q8. What makes a good picture in your eyes?

Ans. What I look for in a good picture is framing, depth, and content. Each of these aspects is equally important. The content that you’re showing in a picture and the way you show it or tell a story really matters. Foreground, background, eye contact, colors and all of these minute details are what I calculate in my head while taking every picture. Whatever picture you click should have a meaning, if it doesn’t have a meaning then it’s nothing.

Q9. How do you brainstorm for editorial shoots, what’s the process?

Ans. I take inspiration from my own life for such shoots. Whatever I have gone through in my life or the ideologies that I believe in have laid the basis for many of my editorial shoots. And by all this I mean the learning curves that I have experienced in my lifetime and my perspective of certain concepts. I’ve done an editorial shoot on education and I’m thinking to do one on humanity and equality. So, the one I did on education had a title which was ‘foundation.’ Our foundation in the education system is wrong. I emphasize on this point a lot because all my life I have never received education the way I should have because educational institutes have become money-making machines. NCA was the only place that moulded me because I saw art being produced there, which eventually helped me in growing into the person that I am today. This is how I usually come up with ideas and I take inspiration from my life. The process is simple as I pick and choose situations, color palettes, and characters from various sources that I like and merge them into my own frames.

Q10. What advice do you want to give to aspiring photographers?

Ans. I would advise them that no matter what you’re doing, do it with your whole heart. If your heart tells you to do it, then do it. There should be no regrets in life. People will always talk, they’ll try to bring you down by demotivating you, and that’s the saddest reality of life. If you want to save yourself from this, then start loving your family because that is constant. They’ll always be there with you naturally. If you’re a good person at heart, then whether you want to become a photographer or a writer, you’ll succeed. I follow and practice three things in life; education, humanity and equality. I educate people, I try to not hurt anyone, and I never treat my employees like employees because they’re the closest. Kill your ego, come out of your identity crises, love your family and friends, and focus on your self-esteem.

You can check out his work on his Instagram linked below:

Hamza Khan Baande

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Read our previous interview:
In Conversation with Amar Khan