Amar A. Gupta is a Texan photographer, skateboarder, journalist and entrepreneur. His initial interest in the visual arts came from documenting the adventures he would embark on with his friends. Whether it be skating the streets of his hometown in Beaumont, Texas, breaking into abandoned buildings, or road tripping across the country—Amar would carry his camera, capturing moments that would soon become the only reminders of the things they did on such nights.
The Amar Gupta Interview
Hi, Amar! Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name’s Amar and I’m a skater, photographer, and entrepreneur from Beaumont, Texas. I originally founded EVRYNG Apparel in 2015 as a school project, and it just ended up being so much fun that I continued pursuing it after graduation.
Being so adventurous and a skateboarder, what are your thoughts on shooting in locations like abandoned buildings instead of traditionally beautiful places?
Documenting adventures is how I became obsessed with photography in the first place, so my camera’s always with me when I’m exploring an abandoned building or new skate spot. I shoot in traditionally beautiful places too, but I usually don’t think to bring my camera to those types of places cause I’ve taken those photos millions of times. I’m trying to be better about carrying my camera around everywhere and finding new ways to shoot traditional locations—I’ve sort of been doing this with my latest series of large format abstracts.
Tell us about your favorite travel experience thus far?
Traveling to Thailand in the summer of 2015 was by far my favorite travel experience. It’s a completely different world over there. A lot of people there had never seen a skateboard, so I could skate anywhere—throughout malls and shopping centers, and everyone just stared in amazement. I miss it there so much, I’m trying to go back as soon as possible.
What was your most memorable moment when shooting the Muay Thai project in Thailand?
Way too many. One moment that truly inspired me was when Bao Witoon, the leader of Poonsawat Camp in Tha Sala, Thailand, confessed to me that he ran the entire camp for free in order to help keep young adults healthy and drug-free. That region of Thailand is riddled with amphetamine problems, and Bao wanted to help prevent his community from being badly affected by sharing his love of Muay Thai.
What was it about the Misled Youth Project that inspired EVRYNG Apparel?
I looked at other skate brands that used photographs as the primary factor in their designs and realized that I could easily create a clothing line by placing images from the Misled Youth series on shirts and other items. It’s grown much more creatively now, but I’m still constantly posting photos from Misled Youth on EVRYNG Apparel’s social media, and I’ll sometimes even use them as clothing designs. This is sort of rare now because I’m creating new material for our upcoming designs, but if I find an old image that I just know is right for something – then I’ll use it.
Misled Youth is meant to share a message that says stay young at heart.
Just a guess, but was the Perceptive series based on how a single, constant element can change depending solely on how a person looks at it?
That’s a part of it! I definitely played around with every possible rotation of each image to best represent the lines, colors, and shapes. Perceptive is actually a series of abstract Texas skate spots, all of which are shot on large format Kodak Portra 4×5 film.
Let’s say you’re at a concert and things start to get rowdy, how do you stay focused to capture the exciting moments?
That’s a good question…I’m usually the one opening up the pit so I’ll just hold my camera tightly and hope nothing bad happens. I’ve been trying to get a decent crowd surfing shot (as in me crowd surfing w/ my camera) and it just hasn’t worked out—I’ll get it eventually though.
What do you enjoy most about shooting on location compared to being in a studio?
I’ve always enjoyed shooting on-location with natural light because it’s so much more of an adventure than staying in the studio. But with that being said, sometimes the constrictions of a studio space force you to work more creatively, and that can make a huge difference. I like doing both, and there’s a need for me to switch off between the two to keep things interesting, but I’d say I’m definitely more of an on-location shooter at heart.
In what ways do you feel being a journalist has influenced your style as a photographer?
It’s done so much, especially in regards to quality of content. Studying journalism and documentary photography helped me understand what types of images are needed to properly tell a story, which makes it much easier to expand a single photograph into an entire series.
All images found on Amar’s website are available as 11×14 prints ($15 per print). The prints will be represented by Hahnemühle’s beautifully thick bamboo infused fibre papers.