We had the good fortune of connecting with Ash Gupta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ash, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I moved to Los Angeles in 1992. A young fashion photographer from India and New York now in LA. So difficult to break in. Did not know where to start or where to end. One thing was for sure things were happening here in LA behind closed doors and I needed to find those doors. Four years of rigorous interning and assisting a time came when a hand full of people and art directors/buyers started to know my name and work. For a guys who just came to LA with dreams and his talent without knowing anyone it was a perfect time to start a platform. I wanted to start a place where any upcoming artist can walk in. It was my turn to teach back. Brooke’s and other photography schools began to send their student to intern with me. They work, learn, and leave. Then the transition period and a new team would come. This was the time we had to rethink the strategy. We decided to create a collective where internship was a good tool to get to know the artist. In another way, it was a three month long interview. We called the platform 838 and that was the foundation of our company. Handful of artist with different fortes working together towards a similar goal, commerce. The tradition is still on. We go through numerous photographers/artists every year and few of them become part of the family known as 838 Media Group. It is a unique collective of artists in Los Angeles.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Lets talk about art. My education is in science and I pursued a career in art. I am known by my art and its always been very difficult for me to talk about that art. Why do people like my work, “I cant answer that why”. It is a strange process the way every artist looks at things. I think it starts very early in your childhood. Your first encounter with things forms a never ending image on your brain. You will hear most photographers, most artists, tell you that they see beauty everywhere, around every corner, in every face, in every shadow, every trace of light. I cannot. I see the odium, bourne of the chaos that life provides. I rearrange the pieces…hold them in hand, mold the shape… this is what I am, this is what I give.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Unfortunately cant take anyone anywhere these days but spend the majority of my life in West Hollywood so ill be very faithful to that. Earlier in my career we had all our meeting at Fred Segal’s Mauro’s Cafe. Then we started brewing our own coffee at 838 Media Group.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Every person I came across. You know they say, it takes a village to raise an artist. Twenty Eight years have passed in LA and it has been eighteen years since 838 Media Group has been formed. Met tremendous artist who inspired me. Met lot of young photographers who kept on teaching me the language (as you know every five years language changes in which we converse technical and aesthetical issues). Just kidding, keep yourself surrounded by young energy and you and your work will never get old. If you observe them, there is a lot to learn. Created some amazing photographers and artists in this journey such as @vikrampathak, Jonathan Waiter @sevenheads, Garrett Suhrie @garretgetsaround, and Emma Bella Holley @emmabassill who have certainly influenced my work while they were working with me. I am also thankful to my business partner and avid photographer Alex Barkat for believing in me and tolerating my idiosyncrasies. Along with Alex, during the pandemic Joel Wicecarver, George Masin, and Tuhan Bedi are still carrying the torch in LA. While on the East Coast Apeksha Garwal is creating some awesome work.
Website: https://www.838mediagroup.com/portfolio & https://www.ashgupta.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashguptaslife/ & https://www.instagram.com/838mg/
Linkedin: Ash Gupta
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashgupta838/ & https://www.facebook.com/AshGuptaOfficial
All images copyright Ash Gupta/ 838 Media Group