Through a mobile eye

In a recent talk on photography that I gave at Mindtree Ltd, last week, I confessed that the camera that I use mostly these days is the one present on my Nokia E72 mobile phone. One of the good things that has happened because of that is that I am always on the look out for photo-opportunities.

Shooting with the mobile camera has a lot of advantages. First and foremost, there is no worry about the stare from the people around you, as you would attract when shooting with a SLR camera. Secondly, you learn to shoot in constraints and hence are forced to think only on the pure photography terms. There is the constraint of the compositions, the light conditions that cannot be changed, and then the constraints of the moving subjects which would be easy to cover on the SLRs.

Needless to say, it is more challenging too. But the challenge is fun.

And the more I travel, the stuff that I come across always amuses me. The life on the streets have a totally different meaning altogether. There is the business ventures that thrive only on the streets, there is the pani-puri vendor around the corner; who religiously cleans up the footpath and worships it before starting his daily business everyday, there is the  beggars who have made the streets their home etc.

The other thing that often catches my eye is the innovation that exists in India. Sometimes it is a resultant of the necessity. Like take for example this mini procession of two camels which I just spotted outside the office. The owners would have ideally wanted to take people / children for a ride, and give them an experience that is unlike any other. However in the times that we are in, people would . . . → Read More: Through a mobile eye

Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me!

I recently gave my masters graduation project presentation on designing for social impact and using photography as a research tool to help in the creation of social awareness solutions. I focused on the issue of child education in rural Bihar (India). The project was well received in the presentation and the overall consensus was good.

The final outcome of the graduation project is the website Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me! This project serves to provide a platform to people from different backgrounds (photographers, writers, educationists, social workers, donors etc) to collaborate. It allows to utilize the work done by one group (like photographers who go to these locations and shoot), for discussion with the others who are not able to. It therefore allows aims for promoting , discussing, writing about, and finally donating (again not the prime focus) for, the issue of child education in rural Bihar.

Here is the promo video for the project

And this is the presentation that I made in the class.

Pick Me Click Me Educate Me

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Imagine Cup Semi Finalists

Me along with a classmate (Vignesh Ramesh) participated in the Microsoft’s Imagine Cup student design competition in the photography section. We made it to the second round – the semi finals.

The challenge here was to use one of the 8 UN’s Millenium Development Goals to create a story using 12 photographs only.

We focused on the issue of attaining universal primary education and in particular told the photo story of educating the girl child in rural India.

Here is the presentation.

Educate the Girl Child

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<Please do not use the photographs without permission>

Introduction to Light Painting

This is a part of the workshop that I had conducted recently at the National Institute of Technology, Trichy as a part of their college festival Pragyan.

Introduction To Light Painting

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What makes a good photograph?

This is a part of the presentation that I gave at Pragyan 2009 at National Institute of Technology, Trichy.

It is based on a simple that I ask myself, everytime I think about taking a photograph. Here in the presentation are the list of factors that I think go into the making of a good photograph. If you notice, the camera is at the last slide. It is because of a fundamental belief that I have. Its not the camera that makes a good photograph. it’s the photographer and their vision.

What Is A Good Photograph

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Experience Photography

One of the things I have often wanted to during a photo-shoot is analyze why I enjoy doing it. There is a lot of the experience factor associated with a) clicking the photograph and b) viewing the photographs later. Now, I have traveled wide across India doing photography and had similar interesting experiences over and over again. One of the shoots that I recall well is the street photography on the streets of Kolkata, India. I had always wanted to find an answer as to why they call Kolkata the “City of Joy.” This album resulting from the photo-shoot is a result of that quest.

Kolkata 2007

Everywhere around me when I am clicking I am seeking to get a good experience of doing the act (of taking the photograph). I try to capture the elements that would at a later stage give me as close to the same experience I had while clicking it.

There were many factors that lead to the overall experience. Each moment that was experienced was expressed in the form of a photograph that can be said as an expression of that instantaneous experience. Today whenever I re-look at that photo album I am able to relate to the time I had, and the experience I had. For every shot I took there was a story associated with it and it was these individual stories or expressions that made up the entire experience a memorable one. These stories which are culturally constructed expressions, would be beneficial in a person recalling the experience, as well as to the people who are not familiar with the culture.

These photographs allow me to make a better sense of experience by virtue of connecting of the cognition (of what’s there in the mind from the past), the feelings . . . → Read More: Experience Photography

Realism in Photography and Film

I have always considered myself a realist. As mentioned earlier, I have been inspired by Bresson, who is considered to be the father of Photojournalism (which I believe will always remain an example of realism) and is the inventor of the term “the decisive moment” in photography.

Bresson mentions in his books and in interviews that it was never the photography that he was passionate about. What interested him was life as it unfolded to him. His photography was an attempt to capture the experiences over time; in a fraction of a second, of the lifeworld as experienced by him.

“For me the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry – it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photographs with the respect for the subject and for oneself. “

He goes on to say this, “I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung up and ready to pounce, determined to “trap” life- to preserve life in act of living. Above all I craved to seize, in the confines of one single photograph, the whole essence of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.”

It is not completely evident whether Bresson adopted a very phenomenological approach to clicking his photographs or a structuralist one. When he talks about the composition it almost appears that there is the structuralist approach, whereas when he talks about the entire experience that he wishes to capture . . . → Read More: Realism in Photography and Film