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— Jasmeen Dugal

Nikos Narkissos — founder, fashion photographer of India's first fitness calendar 'Body Sculpt' — shares his journey.


''I didn't just wake up one fine morning and held the camera; it was formally introduced to me. In school, photography was an elective subject. Those days we did not have digital cameras but photography was taken seriously. Though I opted for a different subject, I used to interact with people studying photography. In college when I was studying Fashion Design And Technology, Fashion Photography was compulsory. We also had a workshop from renowned photography guru, Girish Mistry. It was a culmination of all of this that led me to venture into professional photography.


Calendar 'Body Sculpt' happened when my friend Sourav Dutta, who is creative director of the calendar and alumnus of JJ School Of Arts, asked me why was I not working on a Calendar. I had never thought about it; he offered creative direction and that is how the journey began in 2017. Both of us are trained artists; we chose the name 'Body Sculpt' as we wanted to focus on the anatomical finesse of a perfect body. At that time, there was no calendar with title- winning athletes as the models. Moreover, India is obsessed with fair skin, obvious in sales of creams like 'Fair and Handsome'. I wanted to make a statement — Fit and Handsome — where skin color doesn't matter. The first cover model Poorna Chandran was dusky, the second Sandeep Shashi Kumar was wheatish and the current cover model Tymeron is tanned. The focus on body came after I was one of the official photographers for Muscle Mania; prior to that I did not know the technicalities of fitness photography. Italian Angelo Sandri was my first fitness model. He featured in the 2017 and '18 calendars. While shooting him I realized how they work on muscles and cuts, how technical and difficult it is. In my calendar, we illustrate all the different muscles. For January, Abraham is shown flexing his oblique, abdominal, triceps and thigh muscles. While for July he flexes his back, biceps, glutes and hamstring muscles…        


That said, the criteria for choosing models for the calendar is their fitness level and muscle endurance. We mostly feature athletes who have titles or are actively participating in contests. In the 2019 edition, the youngest athlete is twenty-two while the oldest is forty. January has Abraham — Mr. Bangalore Muscle Model 2016, he is a fitness trainer. February has Daulat Gosar and Arjun Singh — Daulat is a renowned fitness trainer in Mumbai while Arjun is IFBB elite pro card holder from Delhi. March has Manoj Raj  and Dareen Teo — Manoj is runners-up of Prince of South India 2017 and Dareen is a renowned chef from Singapore. April has Mohsin Khan of Kolkata — Muscle Mania Asia 2016 runners up.  May has television actor Vibhu Sharma and super model Jake Senaratne. June features Mr. Supranational India 2018 Prathamesh Maulingkar. July features Mr. Supranational Asia 2018 and gay activist Tymeron Carvalho. August features Keshav Kalia — Mr. World Fitness 2016. September features Maddawatta Gamage Sampath Saumya from Srilanka — he is a renowned coach and owns a chain of gyms in Galle. October features Thai supermodel Chen Witoon Chuisaeng and Muscle Mania 2015 runners up Shoyel Kureshi. November features Poorna Chandran. Lastly December features Mr. Srilanka World 2018 Manoj De Silva who will represent Srilanka in the upcoming Mr. World and Manish Lohmod who is a fitness trainer.


There were several challenges. As there was no fitness calendar illustrating men before, we had to make people understand the concept of a fitness-themed calendar. Secondly, as most of the photographs are shot in tropical places we had to struggle with rains while shooting. While Tymo and Abraham were shot, the sea was violent and we had to be very cautious. While shooting Tymo in Srilanka it was cloudy, raining, poor light and the sea was very turbulent — it was the toughest this year. Poorna and Shoyel were shooting on the beach when the temperature was around 42 degrees. That said, the most memorable shoot was with Manoj Raj. We had to trek the rugged Someshwar hills in Bidadi for the shoot. Right before the shot, Manoj saw a reptile. Both of us were super scared but we continued the shoot… such moments are always memorable!! And it makes all the hard work worth it — shooting a calendar is tedious and requires almost ten months to plan the location and select the boys. The art work is taken care of by Sourav and his team. The work on the 2020 edition has already begun…


What makes it all worth it? It gives me creative satisfaction and each year we make a social statement. This year Tymo was the cover boy, making him the first gay south asian model to get on the cover of a calendar. In future I would like to have more models like him, where their work makes a statement and not their sexuality. Also by having a Tamil Srilankan cover boy we send a message of harmony and peace across border…''

Body Sculpt
Nikos Narkissos
Nikos Narkissos
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