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Ashutosh Gupta

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Ashutosh "Ash" Gupta is a fashion photographer.[1] Gupta was born and raised in Lucknow, India, but currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Shalini.

Early life[edit]

Even though he comes from a family of farmers in Sitapur, Ash knew from an early age that his future would lie in a more creative field. He always had a knack for writing and he even tried his hand at painting before falling in to photography. One time when his parents were on vacation, Ash found his father’s Rolleiflex (camera). He tried opening it up and broke it. This act ended up being the catalyst for his career. [2] It wasn’t long before he had a camera of his own– a 35 mm Viogtländer. [3] While he was still living in India, he obtained his master's degree in biochemistry from Luckmow University.

Personal life[edit]

In addition to photography, Ash spends a lot of time reading. His preference before he got married was poetry, and after getting married he started to favor prose. [4] He enjoys eating Indian and Mexican food, but his all-time favorite dish is aloo ka paratha with dollops of butter. In California, his favorite city is San Francisco, and in New York, it’s Ithaca. His favorite song is “Psychosomatic” by Prodigy. Outside of photography his interests also include: psychology, God, spending time at cafés, and people watching. [2] Ash has three daughters with his wife.


During his time in college is when he really started to get involved in photography. Ash photographed a little bit of everything. However, it didn’t take long for him to discover that his true passion involved working with people. Out of all of the work he did when he was first starting out, his favorite experiences came whenever he was able to shoot family portraits. He was able to build his client list through referrals; happy customers would introduce him to their friends and he would photograph those people. When he was still living in India, he even had the fortune of taking pictures for a fashion company. One of their photographers was unable to shoot, so they asked Ash if he could do it, and he agreed.

[5] When he moved to New York, he started making fashion connections via the Cornell Fashion Collective (formerly known as the Cornell Design League).

Once in Los Angeles, Ash had to find work. Under the stipulation of his visa, he had to have a job, even if what he was doing was unpaid. Ash sent out 250 resumes within his first week there, but he didn’t get any responses.

[6] When he wasn’t looking for work, he spent his days studying photography books and attending seminars. While at a seminar, he ran into Tori McLaughlin, an APA Board of Director. The two started talking about India and became fast friends. One day she stopped by his home and saw all of the photos he had shot and asked him why he wasn’t working. He told her about his predicament, and she made a few calls for him that night. Two photographers ended up reaching out to him.

[6] Shortly after that, he started interning with Levon Parian. During his time with him he was able to learn a lot about production. After working with him for two years, he met Joe Gantz, a French photographer. At that time, Joe had holograms that were being showcased at The London Museum of Fine Arts. [6] Ash started helping him out on the weekends, and with Parian’s permission he eventually began assisting the French photographer.

[6] After this stage in his life, he started working with crossover musicians living in LA. He also found himself photographing Latin and European singers.

[6] His move towards working with Indian models happened in 2001 when he met with Gulshan Grover. Ash visited Bombay later that year, and after that he went to Mumbai to shoot a project called Portraits of Anna.

Portraits of Anna[edit]

Portraits of Anna is a psychological issue that explores the repressed sexuality of women. [6] The women Ash photographed experienced this phenomenon in their own lives and discussed it with him. Anna served as a chaotic representation of every woman who has a hidden part of herself. Of the 18 photographs in this series, one depicts a bald model who could have passed for a girl or a boy. Her body was broken into many pieces and then it was sewn back together. This beaten state shows the viewer that when she breaks down she has to put herself back together. Another picture entitled "Growing Up" was of a nine-year-old girl. [7] As she was swinging on a swing, her hands dripped with blood. She was wearing a lacy frock from the Victorian era. Underneath the facade of the little girl, was a 20 year old lady.


[6] Portraits of Anna, [8] 7 Deadly Sins, [9]The Story of Naomi, [10] H20 Two Parts Hydrogen One Part Oxygen Water: The Essence of Life, [11] Delirium of Dementia, [12] Mannequin, [13] 24 Blondes, [14] Miss Duniya's 2016 Calendar, [15] The Story of Naomi, [16] Little White Lie, [17]Jeff's Jacket


[18] Adrien Curry, Brides, Lolita's Dream, One of Us, The Swan, 13 Minutes, Brentwood Swimsuit, Belair, Chinatown, Denim Diamond, Joseph Dimengo, Miniature Golf, Murder Mystery, Surf and Sand, Wrapped in Beauty, Vietnamese Model of the Year 2009, A Horse Called Miles


Of the editorials he has shot, many have appeared in such magazines as [19] MAXIM, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Italian Vanity Fair, Genlux, Latin Style, Smart Photography, Fashion Unlimited, Stone, NHA, [20] Ritmo Beat, and India LifeandStyle.com.


Ash draws most of his inspiration from Peter Lindbergh. [21] In addition to Lindbergh, he is also influenced by photographers such as Ellen von Unwerth, David Bailey, Jan Saudek, Helmut Newton, and Sheila Metzner. [22] Additionally, he draws from the chaos that can be found all around us.

838 Media Group[edit]

Currently Ash Gupta is the owner and founder of 838 Media Group. He came up with the name because the original studio’s address was 838. [23] He also liked the idea of the balance that the eights created by being at both ends; it doesn’t matter which way you look at the number because the eight is always going to be at the beginning and end. The middle number, three, is the figure eight cut in half, which adds another creative element to the number. The organization was founded in September 2002. While he was interning for photographers, Ash worked with individuals who were disciplined in their craft, but they didn’t have the skills to cope with the real world. He created this platform so that he could give photographers the tools that they would need to deal with life outside of school. This collective is a small group of talented actors, filmmakers, and photographers. Through this group, Ash is able to help and direct them as they navigate through the entertainment industry. He has been able to help such individuals as [24] Kimberly Yatsko and [25] Tijana Vuckovic with their fashion photography careers. It didn’t take Ash long to realize that he wanted to provide his photographers with a way to make a living, which is why 838 Media started to focus on commercial ventures.

During his shoots, Ash prefers to use ambient lighting. [2] He uses Cannon cameras and Mamiya RZ67 when it comes to the actual act of capturing models on film. In his pieces, he uses a combination of sensual imagery and bold colors. Many of the models he shoots are women because he has always been fascinated by the female persona and form.

The Headshot Store[edit]

[26] The Headshot Store is a subset of 838 Media Group. Through this company, actors and other individuals in need of headshots are able to come to the West Hollywood studio for this service. Photographers will shoot their subjects in strobe, natural, mixed, and any other form of lighting that is required to give clients the looks that they require.


The list of celebrities he has photographed includes: [27] Sharon Lee, Carmen Electra, [28] Preity Zinta, Jennifer Lawrence, [29] Patricia Manterola, Ben Affleck, Dane Cook, Elizabeth Shue, Steven Seagal, [30] Gulshan Grover, Kangana Renout, Bai Ling, Inconvenient Truth's director Davis Guggenheim, Mallika Sherawat, and Dominique Swain. He has also had the opportunity to photograph musicians, including: Paulina Rubio, Fred Durst, [31] Chayanne (Sony Music), and James Kaufman.

[22]His most satisfying assignment was when he photographed Chayanne, a Latin pop icon. [32] Ritmo Beat, a music magazine, used his images for a cover story. The singer’s manager only gave Ash four short hours to complete the shoot, but when he finished it in the allotted time, he was truly pleased with his work.

Beyond photography[edit]

In 2008 he directed, along with producer Michael Hirshenson, a short experimental film. It won Best Art/ Experimental Film at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. [33] "Moving Stills” is 4 minutes and 45 seconds of Ash’s photography that when combined with Hirshenson’s sound and movement tells a story. The film’s score comes from Joe Romersa. The movie stars Gulshan Grover, Ria Fe, and Maximillian Xavier.

[34] Also in 2008, Ash was a judge for the Miss California pageant.


[35] In 2015, Ash won a U.S. Congressional Award for his work with mentoring young children.

[19] In 2015, he was listed as one of Roshni's Global and Emerging Leaders.


[31] "I'm trying to paint through the camera, the emotion and psychological profile of my subject instead of recording just the physical features. A simple gesture of touching the hand can be as telling as a portrait for it reveals the emotion behind the act. Such is the power of photography."

“Art is a perceived reality. We do whatever we can do – it is the third person (the viewer) who puts a stamp of good or bad on it.”

“Forgiveness is stronger than love, and we need it a lot.”


  1. Rane, P. (2006, April). Talking Through the Lens. Society, pp. 102-109.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 McGrath, M. (2007, October). Ash Gupta Fashion Far Forward. After Capture, 32-38.
  3. Parande, S., & Kothari, K. (2006, January). Smart Photography, 54-57.
  4. Kuber, A. (2004, February). Beyond the Edge. Times Journal of Photography, 60-67.
  5. (2006, April). Success Story. Society, 104-109.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 (2006, April). Success Story. Society, 104-109.
  7. (2006, April). Success Story. Society, 104-109.
  8. The Mission's 7 Deadly Sins http://www.agendamag.com/july2012/7_deadly_sins/index.html
  9. The Story of Naomi http://ashgupta838mg.tumblr.com/post/43475803908
  10. H20 http://ashgupta838mg.tumblr.com/post/38217447853
  11. Delirium of Dementia http://ashgupta838mg.tumblr.com/post/31010941976/even-in-the-beginning-few-could-spot-them
  12. Mannequin http://ashgupta838mg.tumblr.com/post/145849053039/my-first-body-of-work-in-a-narrative-form-called
  13. 24 Blondes http://ashgupta838mg.tumblr.com/post/126164250804/start-of-a-new-series-lets-cross-our-fingers
  14. Miss Duniya's Exclusive 2016 Calendar Featuring Renowned Designer Rocky Gathercole http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12596885.htm
  15. Benedix, T. (2011). Indian Actress Koena Mitra will play the bisexual lead in The Story of Naomi. After Ellen. http://www.afterellen.com/movies/87089-indian-actress-koena-mitra-will-play-the-bisexual-lead-in-the-story-of-naomi
  16. Sharma, R. (2015). Roshni: Global and Emerging Leaders 2015. 60-61
  17. Why Fashion Films Shouldn't Simply Be Eye Candy, And Model Aren't Mannequins. U, S, and Toby. http://berkeley-film.tobiasdeml.com/2014/08/09/why-fashion-films-shouldnt-simply-be-eye-candy-and-models-arent-mannequins/
  18. 838 Media Group Editorials http://www.838mediagroup.com/editorials.html
  19. 19.0 19.1 Sharma, R. (2015). Roshni: Global and Emerging Leaders 2015. pp.60-61
  20. Parande, S., & Kothari, K. (2006, January). Smart Photography, pp. 54-57.
  21. McGrath, M. (2007, October). Ash Gupta Fashion Far Forward. After Capture, 32-38.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Kuber, A. (2004, February). Beyond the Edge. Times Journal of Photography, 60-67.
  23. Menon, S. (2005, December). From Ashes to Art. Me, 54-57.
  24. Meet Fashion and Portrait Photographer: Kimberly Yatsko. VoyageLA. http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-los-angeles-fashion-portrait-photographer-kimberly-yatsko/
  25. Introducing Tijana Vuckovic Fashion Photographer. The Via Magazine. http://www.theviamagazine.com/introducing-tijana-vukovic-fashion-photographer/
  26. About Us http://theheadshot.store/about-us/
  27. Kuber, A. (2004, February). Beyond the Edge. Times Journal of Photography, 60-67.
  28. Reshma Dordi interviews photographer Ash Gupta ShowbizIndiaTV - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eobO2AatMXU
  29. Xavier, M. (2001, June). Patricia Manterola. Ritmo Beat. 49-52.
  30. Sharma, R. (2015). Roshni: Global and Emerging Leaders 2015. 60-61
  31. 31.0 31.1 Sharma, R. (2001, October). Shooting Stars. Little India, 29-33.
  32. (2001) Ritmo Beat, 1(3). 48-53.
  33. Announcing the Screening of "Moving Stills," Featuring the Photography http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/07/prweb1117044.htm
  34. Parande, S., & Kothari, K. (2006, January). Smart Photography, 54-57.
  35. Beverley Hills Jain Social Group Hosts Valentine's Off Event. India West. http://www.indiawest.com/community_khabar/beverly-hills-jain-social-group-hosts-valentine-s-kick-off/article_03de3be4-b701-11e4-bca0-034f07f3c694.html

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