My portrait of Azim Premji…the Bangalore-based gazzilionaire who owns Wipro, the third-largest Indian IT company…was featured this week in ‘The Time 100’, the magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world. And if that wasn’t cool enough, the story was written by none other than Bill Gates.
I’m havin’ kind of a good week!
Azim Premji owns over 80% of Wipro, the third-largest Indian IT company, which by default makes him one of India’s richest business people. He was actually the richest person in India from 1999 through 2005, but I guess the recession has taken a chunk outta his wallet, ‘cuz now he’s only the fifth richest Indian! He was in the States a few months ago and I photographed him for BusinessWeek for a story on how the global recession has affected India’s vast outsourcing industry…….
That’s right…outsourcers. Wipro is one of those companies that you get to talk to when you call customer service after your computer breaks, or the software you installed doesn’t work the way you thought it would, or any one of a thousand other reasons the call to customer service that used to take to you to a guy named ‘Bob’ at the Home Office is more often than not routed to a call center in Bangalore…..just like in Slumdog Millionaire
He was at Wesleyan University getting an honorary degree and I had all of five minutes between appointments to get off my two shots. The first was a kind of dark & scary number where I sandwiched him between a stone wall and a gnarly tree trunk, but then I had a thought from the mosaic side of my brain that told me to shoot him in a way that would metaphorically illustrate the over-reaching effect outsourcing has on the World…and I came up with this Vishnu-like, multi-armed photo that made me smile…
And I also knocked off a test shot of me showing off my new, modified-mullet haircut!