AM - I take it that means your approach to a street image is closer to the traditional dark room processing, cropping, dodge and burn. Keeping the reality but highlighting the story?
You’ve not really mentioned where you mostly spend your time making your street images. What are your current favourite haunts and, given the opportunity, where would you love to shoot? I’m also curious to know if it would be street or another genre that you practice.
Deb - Keeping the reality AND highlighting the story. No dodging and burning necessarily. If a little dark can bring a mood... bring it. If a subtle vignette can do justice to the story...do it. If a crop helps bring a fresh perspective... don’t hesitate. Traditional dark room processing had too much of challenges and now with the advent of digital platforms, I have multiplied power. That poses a need to be equally responsible to those powers.
Current favourite haunts? The recent explorations have been through Kalaghoda Festival at Mumbai and a Ferry Ride at Kolkata. I wish I could have figured out more camera-time in the last few months.
I am keen to go out to a million places...yess. If I have to name some instantaneous mentions, that would be difficult. Given an opportunity, I would go anywhere I have not been to. So much yet to explore!
Street first, Alf....street first!
Alf - Street first! I’ll remember that. So your choice of where to go would be anywhere you’ve not been as long as the streets are forthcoming with potential images.
Earlier you mentioned your father’s AGFA Click II - 120 film camera and one Yashica-FX-I, which I guess are not your cameras of choice these days. I’m also assuming that you’ve tried a few cameras over time. Which do you recall with fondness? Also, what is your go-to camera at the moment and what is it about it that works for you?
Deb - I remember the Agfa one very dearly and I miss it for all the non-photographic reasons. It had a nice leather cover which wooed me. And then, that camera was pretty easy to dismantle even for a kid. There had been days, when in the afternoons, I would sneak up the almirah and pick this camera out and go hide in a secluded corner and spend hours with the piece. You can call it an odd pet of mine, with a leash!
Good old days..
Now... my Canon 6D with the 50 mm or the 24-105mm lens does most of the tricks.
It’s speed, low light performance, and the wireless access keeps me enchanted, Alf. Of late, I have used Canon cameras only. I did check out a few others though but as soon as I get my Canon back in the palm grip....I know it is home. Having said that, I had also been experimenting with a few ultra-wide angle compact cameras and am convinced to go street with ‘em once.
AM - They are good memories indeed. Interesting that it isn’t the technical side of the camera but the look and feel that you remember. It also sounds like that carries on in your current equipment as you describe it as being home when its in your hand. The Canon 6D is a large camera, which goes to show that the camera you’re comfortable with is the one to use, especially on the street where I believe you need to remove as much distraction as possible from the process of taking the image. Not knowing your camera is one of the biggest distractions. Each adjustment takes time and distracts from the processing of observing and taking the shot. With a camera you know, it is second nature, you're relaxed and you're ready to take the shot when the opportunity presents itself.
I’m sad to say Deb, that we’re coming to the end of our chat and I’ve really enjoyed the images you’ve painted with your words as well as the examples of your photography that you’ve shared with us. But now for our last question and a chance to share some knowledge for those who are just starting out on their photography journey. What would be the one piece of advice that you would have loved to have had or known when you first decided to become a photographer?
Deb - You decoded it in such an easy way, Alf. I took years to realise it. Yess, when I am relaxed, I am getting the best shots.
My fair bit of advice to all the souls starting out would be very basic and simple. Ensure that YOU are happy and smiling after you caught that moment. Let the social media die and the web shut out, you must be connected to what you just clicked...everyone else can follow thereafter.
It was a pleasure Alf.