From Fashion to Wildlife, An Interview with Photographer Ejaz Khan

Pictures of white horses covered the white walls in the private art exhibit, PASSION, on Tuesday, February 13th. The artist, Ejaz Khan, came to New York from India to pursue his love of fashion photography. But around fifteen years later, he decided to leave that world and follow his new passion for wildlife.

Read our interview with Ejaz Khan below!

HC: What was the inspiration behind PASSION?

EK: “As we grow, we lose passion, but then we gain something different. So, I was always in fashion, I was so passionate about fashion, lipstick makeup, hair… and then all of a sudden, I’m like, I have none left. I totally lost all passion for fashion. So, I just left one day, I went to Alaska, started shooting wildlife and the passion came back. I’m gonna be doing bears, bald eagles, so I had to name it Passion.”

HC: Who is your role model?

EK: “My role model for wildlife is Winston Muneer.”

HC: Your father is a film director, do you feel like his techniques are embellished in your artwork?

EK: “I come from a family of directors and producers. As far as I’m concerned, I think this is great art, but they don’t because they’re filmmakers. For them, it’s like “Oh you’re only shooting wildlife, but subconsciously or consciously, I remember what my father did when going to his sets so, It comes from there.”

HC: Were all the photos for PASSION taken in France?

EK: “All the photos are from Camargue, they are from the south of France. It’s a small little town filled with white horses. I made friends with the ranch owners and I go there two or three times a year to shoot them.”

HC: How many days did you spend in Camargue?

EK: “Every time I go there, I spend about 10 to 12 days. I live in the ranch -- I clean the horses and do whatever they ask me to do. I mean, at this point, I’ve been doing it for three or four years, so we’re friends now.”

HC: How was that transition, going from fashion and beauty to ranches and wildlife?

EK: “You know, as far as I’m concerned, humans bite back. Animals don’t.”

HC: You worked for Vogue, among many other magazines. How was that?

EK: “I was passionate about fashion, it was amazing. And now, I’m passionate about wildlife.”

HC: I read that you came face-to-face with a bear. What was that experience like?

EK: “I was photographing a bear and I was down on my knees (I shoot really low). I was photographing and he was walking towards me. He kept walking and walking and after seven feet, my camera doesn't focus. It stopped focusing and that’s when I realized he was seven feet away from me!”

HC: Were you scared at that moment?

EK: “I don’t know if I was scared but I was numb.”

HC: Which countries do you go to photograph these animals?

EK: “I’ve been to Canada, Alaska, France. I’m going to the North Pole. I’m going to shoot arctic wolves.”

HC: What is the greatest challenge in wildlife photography?

EK: “The greatest challenge for me has been trying to figure out which animal I really want to go and photograph. Every time I go and photograph a horse, I’m in love with the horse. If I go and photograph the grizzly bear, I’m in love with the grizzly bear. In order for me to get really good photographs, I need to focus on a particular animal and keep shooting it and shooting it until I learn the behavior.”

HC: Aside from photography, you also design a clothing brand called Tangerine NYC. How did that come about?

EK: “For Tangerine NYC, I try to design for women who are intelligent and who want to look sexy without revealing skin. That’s my inspiration for Tangerine NYC. I want to able to dress the woman who’s confident about herself and doesn't have the need to show skin.”

HC: What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?

EK: “I have no clue! I still need advice myself. I’m still learning myself.”

HC: What sparked the inspiration to start wildlife photography?

EK: “Fashion wasn't moving me. I need the movement and I need the passion to get up in the morning.”

HC: How did you find your passion for animals?

EK: “I think it was a challenge getting that inspiration. Since I wasn't getting that feeling with fashion, I started looking elsewhere. So, I said, “let’s give it a shot, let’s go to Alaska and shoot bears.”

Inspiration strikes in many different ways and in different moments and by discovering a whole other world, Ejaz Khan found beauty. 

To keep up with the artist's wildlife journey, follow him on Facebook here.

And check out his website here.