Modi takes ‘Time’ for the perfect click


If three ‘Time’ reporters took two hours to elicit an over 7,100 word interview of Narendra Modi, their photographer took almost an hour to get the right clicks of the image-conscious Prime Minister to feature in the cover as well as inside pages.

Peter Hapak, a contract photographer for Time magazine, got a “lengthy” and “unusual” photo session with the Prime Minister, who loves to take ‘selfies’ with his mobile phone.

Hapak, a known name for portrait photography, said he had “very fortunate session” with Modi.

“I had a full hour with him, which is very unusual because most of the time I only have 10 minutes for a portrait session. For portraiture, it is very important to make your subject forget that you are here, that somebody is watching him. It was enough time for him to get comfortable,” he was quoted by Time as saying.

The shoot was the culmination of a three-day visit to New Delhi. Hapak said on the second day, they were granted access to the Prime Minister’s 7, Race Course Road residence.

“We made a complete scout. We were able to go through his office, his lounges and his garden, where he spends a lot of his time when he’s alone,” Hapak, who has shot more than 15, covers for Time, said.

On the day of the shoot, Times report said, Hapak spent 30 minutes shooting Modi’s portrait for the cover.

“I was shooting a wide range against different backgrounds. After the cover shoot, he took a walk outside, and I told him to do what he would usually do if I were not there. It was only the two of us. He was giving me a lot, which is what also defines a good portrait. The subject feels so comfortable that he can open up in his private moments. I was trying to see the things that we do not see. How is it living? How is it spending his time alone?” Hapak said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 9, 2015)


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