NGTI Golden Hour: Meet the Experts

Introducing our eminent experts, Chef Michael Swamy and filmmaker Ronny Sen. Catch them at NGTI Golden Hour on 8 April, 2022.

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Join us at our first photography festival this weekend. Photo Courtesy (L-R): Michael Swamy, Ronny Sen

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Food Photography with Chef Michael Swamy

A Mumbai boy through and through, Michael Swamy may have started his career in food, but has gradually evolved into a media specialist across several disciplines.

While the culinary arts drew a young Michael into the heady world of cuisine, film and media has been an integral part of his formative years. His mother, an accomplished documentary filmmaker, inspired his love for the medium and Michael picked up many skills on film sets while he grew up. Once he was done with his education, taking courses in prestigious institutions such as Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in London, he worked with a number of reputed restaurants across the world, including in the U.K. and Australia. His travels also saw him move to the Middle East as he consulted with Kuwait Airways in designing a new menu. But no matter how exotic the location and experience, India always beckoned Michael. He finally decided to move back to his home country and set up base as a chef consultant and food stylist.

He worked with several brands to set up now reputed names in the restaurant industry and of course, given his penchant for media, became involved with TV shows such as MasterChef India and several titles on international channels. A focus on digital media, naturally, followed.

Ngti Golden Hour: Meet The Experts

irwani by Chef Michael Swamy. Photo by: Michael Swamy

 

While his exposure to international cuisines is by no means limited, the closest to his heart remains the regional cuisines of India. From the food he grew up with to the foods he discovered on his travels across the length and breadth of the country, Michael focused on local flavours, ingredients, techniques and indeed people, in his work.

Not satisfied with just one medium to express his love for gastronomy, soon, he began to author renowned titles such as The East Indian Kitchen, The Diabetic Cookbook, Masala Dabba, The Easy Guide to Pairing Indian Food with Wine, among others and has won several awards for his efforts, including the coveted Gourmand World Cookbook Awards a number of times.

But a man of many interests, and not one to simply skim over a subject he’s deeply passionate about, the chef has also taken photography courses at the Xavier’s Institute of Communication, Mumbai. Apart from food, he is also a wildlife and equestrian photographer.

A firm believer in, “With great knowledge comes great responsibility,” the chef also regularly passes on his wisdom onto newer generations, being associated with institutions such as Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal, Symbiosis Pune, AISSMS College of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, among others, as a teacher.

His recent projects include designing menus for wildlife resorts such as Pugdundee Safaris and Te Aroha in Dhanachuli, and he is all set to publish a series of books on Cooking For Kids. He is also working on a video series that explores culture and food.

Phone Photography with Ronny Sen

Starting off with photography and graduating onto feature film, Sen, has proved to be an excellent composer of images both still and moving.

When Sen first took up the camera, it wasn’t a formal degree that steered him the direction, but a passion to tell stories. Born in Silchar, Assam and raised in a family with strong political convictions and a history of activism, Sen’s drive to present his unique perspective to the world saw him hone his craft through both traditional and unconventional means. He travelled the world, took up artist residencies in countries such as Japan and Poland, and exhibited his work on a number of prestigious forums.

Ngti Golden Hour: Meet The Experts

From Ronny Sen’s photography project from Jharia, Jharkhand. Photo by: Ronny Sen

 

He has published two artist books, Khmer Din (2013) and End of Time (2016). As the awards and grants started flowing in, he got invitations for solo shows, and his work was included in presentations by eminent entities such as Belvedere Museum, Netherlands, TARQ gallery in Mumbai, the Gujral Foundation, Art Heritage gallery, Delhi and the Alkazi Collection of Photography. Some of the names that have awarded him include Sony World Photography Awards, National Geographic Magazine, the United Nations, Powerhouse and Forward Thinking Museum.

But Sen was never one to rest on laurels and believes constant evolution is the only way ahead for an artist. He started work on his debut feature film, not just taking on the mantle of director but also collaborating on writing. Based in Kolkata, his hometown, Cat Sticks presents the Bengal capital city through a nuanced lens. The film did a round of festivals across the globe, winning the Grand Jury Award at Slamdance 2019 and is now available on Mubi and Amazon Prime Video.

Winner of the Getty Images Instagram Grant in 2016 for his work on the coal mines of Jharia, Jharkhand, Sen has used his social media presence to tell stories of political significance. His perspective on current events including those deeply rooted in the social movements of the last several years has won him quite a significant following.

In fact, a workshop by Sen is rare, and exhibits his respect for the art of storytelling, no matter the medium.

 

Find the complete details for NGTI Golden Hour here.

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