London street photography festival: some unstaged captures of common folk in India

According to the LFPH guidelines the key to street photography lies in capturing a un staged, un-posed moment. The most remarkable ones often capture, explore or question contemporary society and the relationships between people and their surroundings.

I’m not sure if my entries fulfilled the latter. All I can say is that I’m glad to overcome my inhibitions by embracing this philosophy every time I’m on the street with the camera. I have learnt to  shoot strangers in public spaces at a time when the camera is seen as an intruder. It’s tough to capture spontaneity with permission from the subject. So in a way its like being a spy.

Another key aspect of street photography as described in the LFPH are the elements of unplanned, careful observation and an open mind ready to capture whatever appears in the viewfinder. Today with a variety of smart phone cameras its easy to embrace this genre. Everybody is doing it. Technology has simplified the whole thing to a point where I wonder if its necessary to have a degree in photography at all.

That being said, its tough to shoot strangers or to predict an action. It requires practice and discipline to capture a moment that changes our perception of the usual.

I’m still searching for that.

I thought I had a winner in this picture. It seemed to be pretty mundane on one level, but on another it seemed near perfect in geometry with a vintage postcard effect, not to mention the theme of black and white.

I thought I had a winner in this picture. It seemed to be pretty mundane on one level, but on another I liked the near perfect symmetry of the subjects against an old crumbly backdrop, not to mention the outsider crossing paths with the insider, black and white and what not….

I pitched camp for about half an hour to take several pictures of people at the railway station. Though I would have preferred a strictly frontal view of the window on the wall I was not set up on a tripod. This moment was more engaing than the otters since the woman seemed to be happy without a companion in sight. Her happiness seemed to be mysterious to the other woman in the foreground just like be the third woman capturing the moment. Precious I thought.

I pitched camp for about half an hour to take several pictures of people at the railway station. This moment seemed more engaging than the others shots. The woman seemed to be happy without a companion in sight. Her happiness seemed to be mysterious to the other woman in the foreground reflecting my mindset behind her. Precious I thought.

I had no idea about the existence of a mosque in this bazaar until I shot this picture. The man seemed suspicious of me and appeared as if he was willing to shoot me instead.

I had no idea about the existence of a mosque in this bazaar until after I took this picture. The man seemed suspicious of me and appeared as if he was willing to shoot me instead.

I like to watch people. The merry go round is essentially for toddlers or as in this case for those who want to revisit their days as one.

I like to watch people. The merry-go-round is essentially for toddlers or as in this case for those who want to revisit their days as one. Butterflies in the stomach, or just plain dizziness from the sheer color and movement?

Ooty is School town. The happy energy of school kids running out of school as soon as the last bell rings is uplifting. Here a bunch of school friends spotted me focussed on them. I liked the way the reluctant boy was being persuded in a matter of moments.

Ooty is School town. The happy energy of school kids running out of school as soon as the last bell rings is uplifting. Here a bunch of school friends spotted me focusing on them. I liked the way the reluctant boy was being persuaded to put on a cheesy smile by his buddy in a matter of a moment when the shutter went off.

This one is shot from inside the train. A classic street portrait I thought. I loved the colors in the backdrop, the ticket collector's posture and his strangely formal attire.

This one is shot from inside a train almost ready to take off. A classic street portrait I thought. I loved the colors in the backdrop, the ticket collector’s posture and his strangely formal but untidy attire.

The quaint railway station of this town has vibrant blue colored walls with hand painted signage. This man became quite self conscious once he noticed I was aiming the camera at him. Thankfully a few seconds after this capture.

The quaint railway station of this town has vibrant blue colored walls with hand painted signage. This man became quite self-conscious once he noticed I was aiming the camera at him. Thankfully a few seconds after this capture.

The theme Hometown. The following are another set of images reflecting upon the subject. Ooty is not a major city of the world. Life is pretty humdrum here. Its charming though. The architecture is quaint and run down. The people on the streets are peaceful and not the adventurous kind. Mostly farmers, shopkeepers, bakers and lodge owners. It’s a small town like many all over India except that it is in the hills making it a pleasant place to study and explore.

Ooty schoolOoty street

Kitsch

Bla blah blah

Blah blah bah

Ooty has been a tourist destination for years. The town is full of haphazard, beaten down places. There is nothing divine other than this ambitious signboard promising celestial nymphs in a squalid neighborhood that has perhaps seen better days.

blah blah

There is something classical about the patina on the broken, beaten down walls of this town.

DSC_1266

blah blah

When it rains it seldom pours in Ooty where acute water shortage comes in the way of a comfortable life. This is in a tea factory overlooking the town below on a drizzly day.

Washing

This could be anywhere in India. Wherever you go you will see a line of laundry open to public view. I liked the colorful backdrop.

DSC_0019 1

DSC_1276

The winners of the competition can be see here:

http://fotoura.com/2013/03/peter-de-krom-ispas-2013/

http://fotoura.com/competitions/international-street-photography-award-2013/

Advertisements

About shabnamphoto

I'm a graphic artist with a passion for photography. I like to tell a story with my pictures. Sometimes a picture may speak on its own and at other times it may need an explanation. I'm intrigued by the ordinariness of life and enjoy documenting my life in the light and shadow of what surrounds me. Be it people, landscape, flowers, architecture or birds, the camera helps me see what I wouldn't with my naked eye.
This entry was posted in Photo essay, Street Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to London street photography festival: some unstaged captures of common folk in India

  1. Pingback: Street Photography – Am I a photographer or am I a spy? | francessmithdocumentary

  2. Anette says:

    These photos, all of them Shabnam, wow, they are awesome. I double love them! I find there’s a story to read in every one of them. I’m such a a chicken when it comes to street photography. I feel like I’m crossing a line. Somehow it’s intimidating. I do sometimes shoot on the street though, but I always communicate with the person in the frame, get their acceptance, or a chance to escape. Some people love to have their picture taken and other are really not happy about it.

    Like

    • shabnamphoto says:

      Your images of the escapade in the plane are anything but chicken Annette, but hey thanks for your encouraging comment. You are right when you say most people like being shot so its good to seek permission from them. But then they start posing to give their best poses and you need to spend a lot more time getting that unplanned moment… ah well!

      Like

  3. TBM says:

    I enjoyed your photos and the stories they told. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  4. Your photography is great, Shabnam. I like both series. And wish you the best of luck for further storytelling, competiotions or not.

    Like

    • shabnamphoto says:

      You are the best Bente, competitions help me learn about the world I can’t seem to afford to travel to 🙂 thanks for your visit, love to your dog, do give him a pet from me 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s