Street Photography India (New work)

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I’m preparing to leave India after four weeks of street photography that has taken me from Mumbai to Delhi via the southern most states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It’s been a great, if at times gruelling, trip. We have visited some amazing locations and managed to meet up with some India based photographer friends for the first time.

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Every shot a throw of the dice

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(The tongue in cheek title for this post comes from some banter – about the role of chance in photography –  with my friend David Barrett on Twitter @streetfotouk. Thanks Dave.) 

I recently attended an engaging talk by renowned travel photographer and writer Michael Freeman. He voiced the perennial concern of travel photographers:

When global tourism grants camera toting tourists access to all conceivable locations, how do you come up with novel images?

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The Challenge of Photographing India

Image of Delhi street

“Scotland is more like Spain than Bengal is like the Punjab” Sir John Strachey, 1888

In his New York Times Magazine article ‘A Too-Perfect Picture’ (30/3/16), Teju Cole famously criticised the portrayal of India by the photographer Steve McCurry.

Based on a narrow reading of a minority of images contained in the photographer’s retrospective book India, Cole claims McCurry perpetuates an obsolete visual narrative and has a hackneyed style.  Continue reading

Beware the photographic portrait

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Portraiture is the most duplicitous of all photographic genres. Not only is the deceit calculated, it is known to all parties in advance.

This situation arises because there are four people in every portrait. There is the person the ‘subject’ tries to project, the person they really are, the person the photographer is trying to present and, finally, the person the viewer thinks they are seeing. While they may not know each other personally, each is aware of the others’ existence.

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Teej Festival Jaipur 2016

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From the top of Jaipur’s famed Jawa Mahal we were surprised how close we were to the City Palace and Jantar Mantar in the city centre. We’d been there in the morning and learned that the Teej procession was due to start at the adjacent Tripolia Gate at six that evening. Although it was only 4 pm we decided to head for the location by cutting through the back-streets of Jaipur. This turned out to be a good idea as it threw up many photo opportunities of life on the streets of the ‘Pink City’. Continue reading

Panna Meena ka Kund

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Located close to the famed Amer Fort in Jaipur (India), Panna Meena ka Kund is a 16th century stepwell originally built as a source of water and place of recreation for the local community.

When I visited with a photographer friend in August 2016, the place was buzzing with the energy of some local guys enjoying a cooling swim. They were completely relaxed about us photographing them and gave no suggestion we were intruding. Continue reading

A Glimpse of India

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In late June 2015 I travelled to India with my wife for a four week photography expedition. Months in the planning, our itinerary included New Delhi, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Chennai, Pondicherry, Madurai, Alleppey and Mumbai.

Just 4 days into our trip we had to return to the UK (family emergency). Coming within hours of completing a 19 hour train journey from Delhi to Jaisalmer the timing was unfortunate.  Nevertheless, refuelled with some excellent vegetarian curries, we headed for the only approved booking agent for rail tickets in Jaisalmer. We secured berths on the return train departing at 1am. Continue reading