Fashion photography is more about the creativity of the image: Musthaq Thasleem

By Mahika Panditha

I don’t know about you guys, but there are days when I scroll through Instagram and see the prettiest images. Actually Happinez came across Musthaq Thasleem – a talented fashion and commercial photographer based here in Colombo, Sri Lanka, who also founded Zeus Visual Studio. You should definitely check them out on Instagram, where you will be able to see some familiar faces. We were fortunate enough to have a chat with Musthaq earlier this week, where he told us, “My only goal is to become one of the best fashion photographers. My passion is to explore new ideas and improve my creativity in order to think in a unique way. I don’t want to say too much about Musthaq, but take a look at our interview with him. You can also check it out on your social media under the usernames @musthaq_thasleem and @zeusvisualstudiolk. Good reading!

What made you decide to take up photography?

When I was 13, I started clicking pictures of nature (birds, trees, etc.) from my father’s reel camera, which had remained unused. It made me want to get into photography. I joined the photography company in school and developed my photography skills. My parents saw how much I loved photography and bought me a DSLR camera (Fujifilm HS30). Subsequently, I officially started photography as a freelance sports photojournalist at the age of 19 at a leading media company in Sri Lanka. Later, I realized that I needed to go beyond sports photojournalism, and I started to become a photojournalist while doing my graduate studies in photography and visual communication. As soon as I graduated from college, I started doing fashion photography for design students and brands, which led me to my current position.

You run your own studio; Zeus Visual Studio. Tell us about it.

Zeus Visual Studio was established in 2019 and is a visual content agency for brands. One of the biggest challenges I have ever faced is that there are many Colombo-based photographers out there, and most of them are renowned for their work and endorsed by many brands. When starting Zeus Visual Studio it was very difficult to find jobs because it was just launched. However, I have been able to find jobs and brands have applied for work since then as I was able to showcase another side of photography that they appreciated for their brand.

Apart from photography, what do you like to do?

Explore new ideas, play sports, play video games, and hang out with friends.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

One of my main goals in the future is to become an internationally renowned fashion photographer. Regarding my career in photography, I would say that I would definitely like to organize my own photography exhibitions, hopefully reach international standards and travel the world to work with different people, brands and models. Have the chance to photograph for a leading magazine like Vogue, Bazaar, etc. is something that I would really like to achieve someday in the future.

What is it that people don’t know about you or would be surprised to know?

My passion for creativity and the talent hidden in me.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

FAshion photography is more about the creativity of the image, which is letting the model interpret an imaginative dreamIn the event that you are shooting for fun and you like the image; be happy, be happy and enjoy your own imageDo what you can with the resources you haveStop worrying about what other photographers are saying about your work (unless you’re asking for feedback) and stop comparing your work to other photographersBy all means, be inspired by others and appreciate their work. Get ideas. But don’t compare yourself. Give yourself time to developThe only photographer you should compare yourself to is you

Photo captions: Musthaq Thasleem

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