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[Celebrity Surfing with Farrokh Chothia]
[Celebrity Surfing with Farrokh Chothia]

   Mohana M

The name is:
Farrokh Chothia

Claim to fame:
Photographer. Credits include campaigns for Palmolive, Tips and Toes, the Taj Group and magazines such as Elle, Cosmopolitan and Man's World.

How net savvy are you?
I can't really rate myself. You'll have to tell me at the end of the interview.

How much time do you spend online?
Most of my time is spent going through my email. I also browse a bit when I need specific information related to my profession.

Do you have a favourite Web site?
Not really. I'm a fan of Apple Computers, so I keep in touch with the developments of that company. I greatly admire their philosophy and what they have done with the personal computer. I also visit Kodak and Nikon when I need technical data.

When did you set up farrokhchothia.com and what has been the response so far?
I started the site way back in 1994-95 and the response has been overwhelming. I get about half a million hits a month on the site from people all over the world.

How has the site helped in your work?
It has given me a platform to share my work with people from countries around the world. Earlier you would not expect this kind of exposure to your work, but it's now possible because of the Internet.

For example, there was someone from Barcelona, Spain who liked my work and he now uses my images. Earlier, work was limited to domestic markets, but the Internet has opened up an international market for my work.

How do you use the Net to help you in your profession?
Besides finding a lot of technical information online, it has also given me a chance to find other photographers and like-minded people -- people I respect and whose work I admire now write in to me to say how much they enjoy my pictures.

A photographer in Rome recently wrote to me and I know that if I visit that country, I have a friend there.

What do you like most about the Internet?
What I like most about this medium is that it has allowed my work to be exposed to so many people. For me, the Net is an exchange of ideas, creativity and knowledge: An amazing device for sharing.

I also like the fact that it is very cost effective. Without spending an enormous amount of money on publicity and brochures, I can generate site visits of half a million people.

What do you hate about the Net?
It has probably made people lazy. People don't take the trouble to go out much, as they can find what they are looking for online. But other than that, I don't see too many downsides.

Have you chatted online?
A little at first. When I was designing the site, I would use ICQ to chat with my site designer as he was based in New York. But not much now. I don't like typing.

Are you concerned about your pictures being ripped off online?
Unless someone is using my pictures to make money (which has not really happened), I don't think it is a concern at the moment. There might be this one guy sitting in Pune, who is using a photograph of a model, taken by me for his fan site, but I think, 'What the heck!'

There is much more commercial exploitation happening in the print industry. Online it is not so much of a concern when it comes to pictures, since they cannot be printed in high resolution.

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