King of Noir - Kohi Marri

FHM: Tell us about yourself?
KM: I’m Baloch, born in Quetta, I’ve lived and worked in different places in the world. Have had a number of different careers, most of them linked to imagery and visuals.Architecture, photography lab, graphic design, illustration, printer, etc.

FHM: You are an architect as well, what inspired you to choose photography as your major profession?
KM: Architecture is too slow and there are too many people who tend to have a say in your design and work. I lacked the patience for that kind of commitment at the time and loved the art form too much to compromise on results that would most likely outlive me.

FHM: Describe your journey as a photographer?
KM: The journey started as an exploration of the world around me, to understand places and people better, to keep an eye on the surroundings and truly grasp them before throwing something out that would share the world with them. I find designs that don’t respect their surroundings or take into their account, social, typographical and geographical location as an insult.

FHM: How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
KM: My work was described to me by someone as real, non-glossy, an avoidance of reimagining of the subject and the surroundings. An acceptance of the sociological, cultural and aesthetic context distilled into a series of images.

FHM: From where do you get inspiration for creative shoots?
KM:  I get my inspiration from my subject, from what the subject says to expresses to me. I try not to colour my images with my own baggage as much as possible and allow the inspiration to seep through. Allowing the situation and the subjects to push me in different directions and not become a stale style repeating infinitely.

FHM: What do you love to shoot more?
KM: What I love to shoot changes from day to day. But I enjoy traveling, meeting new people and experiencing unique situations. Allowing that to enrich my experiences, which in turn enrich my work.

FHM: Are there any specific brands you like to work with?
KM: I like working with Coke, they’ve got a great team and Umair Anwar is a terrific creative director to work with. There were a few great shoots with Warid and Zong over the years as well. There are several other brands open to bold creative choices, sadly a lot of it doesn’t go out into the mass market (or has a very limited release) and that can be seen be the less exciting work on billboards and print campaigns. The issue with commercial work around the world and in this particular time has been that most people are following a very safe route, copying other successful campaigns or images out there. In the end everything ends up looking the same and there’s no excitement. There’s plenty of colour, very good equipment, extremely competent photographers and creatives working out there who end up dumbing down their own work and aren’t able to push boundaries as far as they can. That is mostly due to “market demands” and trying not to offend people, who are very easily offended nowadays.

FHM: Which photography style/genre do you prefer the most?
KM: There isn’t a specific style or genre that stands out over others for me. It’s always down to the situation, the subject and the ideas being conveyed. To be as true and honest to the core of the idea and situation is what matters most.

FHM: Out of all photo-shoots you have done so far, which one is your most favourite and why?
KM:  My favourite shoot is usually the last one I’ve done and the one right after is always going to be better. The very last shoot I had done was for the Dawn Herald on the coastline of Pakistan, from the Indian border all the way to the Iranian border, or as close to both of those as I could get. The experience was phenomenal; it pushed me to the next level of my work.

King of Noir - KohiMaRri

FHM: Where do you see our fashion industry in 5 years?
KM: Our fashion industry will be more saturated and hopefully more experimental in the next five years. It’s moving along in baby steps the past 12-14 years I’ve been observing it evolve and the next five years may not usher a big change, but several steps closer to something bigger. It’s the next ten years something interesting will most likely happen. That also due to external forces trying to push and pull it.

FHM: How much equipment do you typically carry for a photo-shoot?
KM:  I carry as little equipment as possible for whatever shoot I go to, which ends up being about two bags of cameras and lenses. I don’t carry lights with me, I use whatever lighting is  usually available in the situation, to force myself to be different every time. Although there have been times I’ve fallen into the same tricks i.e. style because of that. This is something that I do not allow myself to do any more. But I end up using 2-3 lenses and two cameras most of the time.

FHM: What makes KohiMarri different from other photographers?
I don’t know how to answer that without sounding like a pretentious so and so. Perhaps aiming for something different every time and not taking the easy approach, for better or worse.

FHM: Any message you would like to give to aspiring photographers?
KM: A message to aspiring photographers, don’t do it there are better ways to earn and earn a lot more. But if you ignore that warning and feel compelled to be a photographer, your personality has to come through your pictures and be unique to you.

King of Noir - KohiMaRri


FHM: Favourite Model (male)?
KM:  Haven’t worked with enough of them to have a favourite.

FHM: Favourite Model (female)?
KM: Aamina Sheikh

FHM: Indoor or Outdoor shoot?
KM: Outdoor shoot as often as possible.

FHM: Favourite location to shoot?
KM: I like the old city in Lahore.

FHM: Favourite perfume?
KM: Cartier’s Declaration

FHM: Three things you like about the industry?
KM: The people, the potential for growth and the pace.

FHM: Three things you hate about the industry?
KM: The people, the chaos and the late payments.

FHM: Favourite Designer?
KM: Thom Mayne&Lebbeus Woods.

FHM: Are you a foodie?
KM: Sometimes

FHM: Your fitness mantra?
KM: Fitness is something I’ve been careless with for a long time. Now it’s become “no excuses”

FHM: One thing you can’t live without?
KM: Sketchbook

FHM: Colours you love the most?
KM: Dark scarlet, pale blue and moss green.

FHM: Favourite movie genre?
KM: Crime/Film Noir

FHM: Do you love pets?
KM: Used to love them, but a busy life doesn’t give me enough time for them anymore.

FHM: One good and bad habit?
KM: Good habit attention to detail, combined with a bad habit of procrastination makes it difficult combination to balance.

FHM: Place you have recently visited?
KM: Denmark

FHM: Place you wish to visit?
KM: I’d love to visit Iceland, Nigeria is also high on my list.

FHM: Favourite holiday destination?
KM: A great holiday destination would be Malaysia with the family or Iraq.


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