FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER & VISUAL ARTIST
Viswanath ‘Veesh’ Swamy is an internationally-published photographer, visual artist, and medical student based between NYC, Detroit, & Grand Rapids. Currently, he is enrolled in his medical doctorate (M.D.) degree, and he is passionate about social innovation and visual storytelling by intersecting art, human-centered design, technology, and medicine.
"OBSERVE THE WORLD WITH FULL ATTENTION; THEN YOU WILL SEE"
Photo credit: Kristen Norman
When did you start to get interested in fashion photography and visual arts?
Fashion has been important to me since I was a little boy. Fashion transitioned to photography, and eventually fashion photography roughly 7 years ago. A major catalyst for me was when I studied fashion design for one month at Parsons Paris in 2017 as desire to better understand the design process.
During that entire experience, I was most captivated by the camera and the ability to “immortalize” and breathe life into fashion through images. From there onwards, I expanded my skillset in photography focusing in fashion. All the other creative endeavors I do trickle down from fashion photography.
If you were an advertisement, which would your slogan be?
Observe the world with full attention; then you will see.
Which is the part you enjoy the most about fashion photography?
The people. My art practice, which consists mostly of fashion photography, connects designers’ works with models with makeup-artists with set designers – the whole gambet. To achieve the final “fashion photograph” is to reach the end of an intricately orchestrated symphony.
Throughout that process, you get to share such meaningful connection with others. There are few practices that reveal the plethora of talents in one final artistic outcome like fashion photography.
Most artists say that through their art they learn more about themselves, heal injuries… In which aspects has your journey helped you?
In my most difficult experiences of failure, whether that was in entrepreneurship, medicine, or other endeavors, I have always turned to my art as a safe haven. It is the *process* of creation that is cathartic – I am able to channel much of my emotions and self-doubt into some outcome. The creation process is transformative. It is like a gateway to healing that is individualistic to everyone.
What does fashion photography and visual arts mean to you?
Empathy. Understanding. Connection. Care. Precision. Art, just like the finest practice of medicine, live out these core aspects. To create art is to empathize, understand, connect with, care about, and enhance the world around us.
Who are your idols?
My mother. Maternal Grandfather. Leonardo da Vinci. In that order. There are several more, but these are most important to me. The first two taught me perseverance, hard work, and grit, while da Vinci carved the path for me to become both an artist and a budding doctor.
There are so many principles in both art and science that da Vinci created that are still in practice today. In that vein, one can easily understand his notion, “Study the art of science, and the science of art”
If you didn’t like visual arts, what would you like to do?
I think all artists eventually venture to other mediums to expand their knowledge base and creative abilities. If I didn’t create photography, I would most likely try excel in sculpture and painting. I enjoy a technical challenge and something that keeps my mind and hands working in harmony.
Do you consider that nowadays there are more or less opportunities for new artists? Why?
The advent of social media has created several newcomer artists, which is amazing yet complicated. Indeed, there are several more opportunities; however, the market is saturated, and thus differentiating oneself is paramount. Just like any craft, having exposure to it may spark the idea to experiment with it, and the largely visual world has initiated that. Nonetheless, with more people doing it, one must dedicate a certain amount of effort to develop their craft to excel.
What would your idyllic life as an artist be like?
Finding harmony between all my interests, and being able to dedicate the necessary time to each one. In other words, having time to practice medicine, create photography, empower students and small businesses, as well as have time for friends and family (a major source of support and inspiration). The idyllic life, perhaps, is having all the time in the world and the freedom to with it as you please.
Which are your upcoming projects?
I just completed shooting September 2022’s New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week. I’m hoping to work on a medicine-specific photography project in the coming months, and then do brand-specific work for Pitti Uomo 2023, NYFW and LFW 2023, and possibly Paris Fashion Week next year.