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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How do photographs work?

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Everyone with a serious interest in photography grapples, at some point, with the question ‘What makes a good photograph?’

In doing so, you inevitably come to understand the wisdom of Ansel Adams’ famous remark “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs”. Continue reading

The Challenge of Photographing India

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“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

In praise of imperfect photographs

I’ve always found the most interesting photographers to be those who go out of their way to deliberately manipulate the inherent physical properties of the medium.  Yes, I know, it’s an unfashionable modernist view that’s been sidelined by the art world’s promotion of post-modern conceptualists (a.k.a ‘artists working with photography’). However, I do think John Szarkowski was correct in expounding an “essentialist” view of photography (see). Not that I agree with what he saw as its essential properties. Continue reading