Time to heal

Encountered an anti-fascism and anti-racism rally in Central London this afternoon.  There seems to be a protest of some sort every weekend in this city and this weekend is no different. Division and hate are so prevalent in many societies today, from East to West it seems like they are inherent in the very being of humankind. We just commemorated Armistice Day last weekend, a stark reminder of what man can do to each other.

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Return to Tuscany Photo Tour

PRELIMINARY ITINERARY

We are now able to provide an itinerary for the tour :

RETURN TO TUSCANY PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR* €795.00 / €750.00 Early Registration by 1 December, 2018

Dates : 25 May – 01 June, 2019  / 7 Nights

Day 1 : Saturday, 25th May : ARRIVAL DAY – BENVENUTO!

17:00 pm : Group meet and introduction, welcome aperitifs

19:30 pm : Dinner in Montepulciano

Day 2 : Sunday, 26th May : DISCOVERING MONTEPULCIANO

Photography : urban, street, architecture, interiors, people

10:00 am : Meet after breakfast for our first photography assignment/task of Montepulciano city. Photography briefing – personal projects, assignments etc.

We will be guided on a visit to The Cathedral – the most beautiful wine cellar in the world, followed by a visit to Chiesa di San Biagio.

19:30 pm : Dinner in Montepulciano

Day 3 – Monday, 27th May : VINEYARD VISIT AND WINE TASTING

Photography : Landscape, street, interiors, special interest, projects

6:00 -7:00 am : Leave for early Landscape Photography session

We will depart Montepulciano very early to head to the pre-arranged vineyard for a tour of its harvest and production facilities, and tasting. The early morning departure will enable us to witness the sunrise over the rolling hills, for photography.

18:00 pm : Photography review and discussion

Dinner – Free time

Day 4 – Tuesday, 28th May : SIENA VISIT

Photography : urban, street, symbols, people, architecture, interiors, special projects

10:00 am – Depart for the beautiful historical city of Siena, we spend the whole afternoon photographing this amazing walled medieval city with its narrow cobbled streets and the world famous Piazza del Campo.

 17:00 pm : Early evening/sunset dusk photography session on the way back to Montepulciano

20:00 pm – Dinner in Montepulciano

Daniela Cesarei Photography

Day 5 – Wednesday, 29th May : CRETE SENESI & ABBAZIA MONTE OLIVETO

Photography : urban, rural, architecture, people, street, special projects, landscapes

8:00 am – Depart to various locations in Crete Senesi including Sant’Anna monastery in Camprena where the English Patient was filmed then to then to Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore

21:00 pm – Travel back to Montepulciano

Day 6 – Thursday, 30th May : MARKET VISIT AND COOKING CLASS / Optional 95.00 Euros pp

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Photography : markets, lifestyle, street, food, special interest

8:00 am – Meet at the local market in Montepulciano. Introduction of Alessandro Piccinini, a local Tuscan chef who will take you through the market to try and buy all the ingredients for the cooking class. – Photograph what inspires you in the market.

Transfer to Montisi for your cooking class – https://www.tuscan-chef.com/en/cooking-school/

13:00pm – Our own cooked lunch!

17:00pm – Visit a local olive oil production agri-turismo, and sample the produce, with a guided tour.

21:30pm – Return to Montepulciano.

Day 6 – Friday, 31st May : IT’S MARKET DAY IN PIENZA!

Photography : urban, street, people, architecture, landscapes, detail, special projects

A special trip to photograph some best examples of Renaissance architecture in the region. Cradled in the Val d’Orcia valley, Pienza is surrounded by breathtaking rolling hills and cypress trees, and is classified as a UNESCO World Cultural Landscape site.

19:00 Photography review and editing session as a group

Day 7 Saturday – 01st June : FINAL DAY

Photography : special projects, editing, presentation

The last full day in Tuscany is spent photographing and editing your final projects in preparation for the evening’s final presentation to the group. There are still many undiscovered corners of Montepulciano you can visit throughout the day. The facilitators will be available on hand to assist in your final edits.

17:00pm – Final Photography presentations

20:00pm – Farewell Dinner

Day 8 Sunday – 02nd June : ARRIVEDERCI A PRESTO!

Departure.

*Itinerary may vary at a later stage subject to availability of venues etc.


About the Photography Experience

On this tour, open to photography enthusiasts of all levels, we are committed to sharing our combined expertise with you as a group, and as individuals. We would provide all participants with a daily task beforehand, so that each day is spent preparing, identifying and photographing images based on the visual exercises set, with a culmination of a final presentation on the last evening. There will be ample time to discuss and review daily shoots and edit your images for presentation, as a photo project, either one to one basis, or as a group.

You will be able to photograph freely as well, through guided commentary and assistance where needed, to create a fresh outlook in your photography skills whilst improving your technical prowess with your equipment in order to increase your confidence in challenging environments.

Group size

Minimum 8, Maximum 12

Accommodation suggestions

A range of hotels and private accommodation will be suggested. More details to come.

Access

Closest arriving International Airports are Rome, Florence, Pisa and Perugia.

Distances from airports:

Perugia – Sant’Egidio (km 75)
Firenze – Amerigo Vespucci (km 130)
Roma – Leonardo da Vinci (km 200)

Railway station on the main line Chiusi / Chianciano Terme

Two exits on the A1 “Autostrada del Sole” motorway Val di Chiana and Chiusi / Chianciano Terme

*Photo Tour price does not include travel to Montepulciano and accommodation, and stated optional events.


 

To Register your interest in joining the tour, please contact :

Steven     svllee@gmail.com

Daniela   info@daniella-cesarei.co.uk


About the Facilitators

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Steven Lee

Steven is the founder director of Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards and ran Explorenation World Travel Photography Tours with fellow photographer Andy Craggs from 2009 to 2013. Steven also started the Exposure+ Photo Mentoring program with fellow photographers in Malaysia, and is a regular portfolio reviewer at international photo festivals.

http://www.stevenleephotography.com

 

Daniela

Daniela Cesarei

Daniela is an established photographer specialising in travel and lifestyle, who lives in Tuscany. She is also an accomplished film-maker.

http://www.tuscanyinterior.photography

http://www.daniella-cesarei.co.uk


See Return to Tuscany

Return to Tuscany

After much deliberation and planning, and several requests recently, I have decided to plan another Explorenation World Travel Photography and Workshop in 2019 to celebrate its 10th anniversary!

Our first ever tour was in April 2009, just over ten years ago where we visited Sarawak in northern Borneo, which was quickly followed by city trips to Paris, Bordeaux, Venice (for the Carnavale!) and Tuscany as well as longer photo tours to Cuba, Rajasthan, and Istanbul.

Return to Tuscany Photo Tour

In May 2019, I’ll be collaborating with travel and lifestyle photographer and filmmaker Daniela Cesarei who is based in Tuscany for a week-long photography tour of the beautiful and historical countryside, as well as sample some of the local cuisine with visits to vineyards and markets and much more. We shall be based in the medieval hill town of Montepulciano, immersed in the land of the nobile red wine.

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Tour Fee – [Go to Preliminary Itinerary]

This includes local organisation and transport, daily photo instruction and review sessions, planned visits to markets, vineyards and sampling of dishes by a local chef.

Not included : personal travel to Montepulciano, accommodation, entries to museums, tips or meals not stated, insurance etc

Facilitators

Steven Lee & Daniela Cesarei

Format of Tour

We believe that travel photography should first and foremost be enjoyable, but also challenging and what better place than the beautiful landscapes and towns of Tuscany to inspire you to make unique images with a group of like-minded photographers. The tour is catered to photographers and enthusiasts of all levels – whether you are just starting out in photography, or a seasoned traveler needing to polish up your visual and creative skills with some guidance. Photography instruction and set daily projects will be available as a guide for each participant to focus on, with regular evening reviews of the photographs taken in the day. We believe in informal gatherings that will form the basis of constructive feedback of each other’s works, through group participation.

Planned Dates

25 May to 1st June, 2019

Group size

Minimum 8, Maximum 12

Accommodation suggestions

A range of hotels and private accommodation will be suggested. More details to come.

Access

Closest arriving International Airports are Rome, Florence, Pisa and Perugia.

Distances from airports:

Perugia – Sant’Egidio (km 75)
Firenze – Amerigo Vespucci (km 130)
Roma – Leonardo da Vinci (km 200)

Railway station on the main line Chiusi / Chianciano Terme

Two exits on the A1 “Autostrada del Sole” motorway Val di Chiana and Chiusi / Chianciano Terme

Contact

To register your interest in this Return to Tuscany tour, or just want to ask a question, please contact either :

Steven     svllee@gmail.com

Daniela   info@daniella-cesarei.co.uk

Daniela Cesarei Photography
Daniela Cesarei Photography

Gallery of random photographs from past Explorenation tours by participants and facilitators.

 

Past Tours posts

See Istanbul photos

See Cuba tour photos

See Rajasthan tour photos

See Bordeaux tour photos

See Venice tour photos

See Tuscany photos, here, here

Featured image © Daniela Cesarei


Steven Lee

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Steven is the founder director of Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards and ran Explorenation World Travel Photography Tours with fellow photographer Andy Craggs from 2009 to 2013. Steven also started the Exposure+ Photo Mentoring program with fellow photographers in Malaysia, and is a regular portfolio reviewer at international photo festivals.

www.stevenleephotography.com

 

Daniela Cesarei

Daniela

Daniela is an established photographer specialising in travel and lifestyle, who lives in Tuscany. She is also an accomplished film-maker.

www.tuscanyinterior.photography

www.daniella-cesarei.co.uk

 

Engaging Street Portraits – Workshop

In conjunction with the 10th Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2018 exhibition in KL (8 – 17 September 2018) I will be hosting a ‘walkabout’ practice session in photographing strangers we meet on the street.

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Many people find taking pictures of strangers difficult, and so they end up photographing from a distance or the backs of them. We will practice how to engage strangers and capture their portraits, with their consent mostly.

This is a totally ‘free to join’ session for 2 – 3 hours, where you will practice approaching strangers and making engaging portraits, and having fun at the same time.

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Who is this for?

Anyone who appreciates the challenges and reward of street photography and making portraits that communicate with the audience.

Skill level

You must be well versed in using your camera and its exposure settings. This will not be a tutorial on camera settings and functions, just taking great portraits. Do not let the camera controls hinder your picture taking. Carry a camera and one lens, preferably 50mm or 85mm. Avoid long zooms. It should be an enjoyable experience.

Group size & Registration

10 maximum. Free to join. Advance registration required.

Email : steven@klphotoawards.com

Date and Time

11.00 am to 2:00 pm  |  Saturday 15 September, 2018

Meeting Point

KL city centre – to be confirmed


 

Steven Lee is the founder director of Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards.

He began his photographic career as a documentary, travel and fashion photographer in the late 90’s when began writing travel related articles for magazines and journals. In 2000, he published his first coffee-table book titled Outside Looking In : Kuala Lumpur, which received the Asian Prize at PhotoCity Sagamihara Festival of the Image, Japan in 2007.

In 2007 he published his second coffee-table book MALAYSIANS, with 500 faces of diverse Malaysians.  In 2008, he released MUSEO, comprising a collection of black & white abstract studies of antiquities, statuary, and architecture photographed in Europe from 2001 – 2005 is now available as a print-on-demand publication. Steven released LUMINA in 2011 his fourth book.

In 2009, Steven initiated the KUALA LUMPUR INTERNATIONAL PHOTOAWARDS, an annual international portrait photography competition centred in Malaysia, focussing on the best in contemporary portrait photography and has attracted the participation of some top international photographers. Steven continues to run photography educational workshops through EXPOSURE+ Photo Mentoring platform in Kuala Lumpur with other Malaysian photographers, and has been a portfolio reviewer and judge at international photo festivals and contests.

Steven ran classes on Documentary and Lifestyle / Street photography at City Academy, London from 2014-2016 and his latest initiative was organising the first PhotoSymposium Asia in 2017 and 2018.

www.stevenleephotography.com

Carnival Glimpses

Having missed the last 4 carnivals over the Bank Holiday weekend, this year I made a quick visit on the main day which is on the Monday, a holiday in the UK.  Here are a few images from the day.

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Grafitti Street

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The Nottinghill Carnival begins tomorrow but the big board-up began in earnest this Saturday evening on the main roads and side streets around the carnival route. As soon as one shop front is boarded up, the packs of graffiti artists with multi-coloured spray cans in hand would begin their artistry. More businesses and private homes have chosen to board up their frontages in anticipation of the huge crowds over the 2 days.

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Mt.Rokko Photo Festival 2018 : Portraiture Workshop 02 September.

Time & Place : The Photographic Portrait

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What is in a portrait? What makes us connect with the people we see in portraits? It is the human connection inherent within each of us. The answer to this question could be more intuitive than expressive. Come and join in the discussion at my workshop on 2 September at Mt.Rokko International Photo Festival 2018.


Overview
Historical context
Current practices
KLPA 2018 finalists overview
Practical exercise in portrait photography

This workshop will introduce you to the significance of formalistic portrait photography, it’s historical context and present-day interpretations.

It will enable you to appreciate the knowledge and skill needed to set up a formal portrait session in a 1-hour practical outdoor shoot.

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Brief : 2-hours
We will become familiarised briefly with the historical aspect of the portrait in paintings and from the invention of photography to the present day. We will look at the role of portraits from the invention of the camera in Victorian times, and then to the reproducible image, and the representational aspects of the personal portrait photograph.

We will consider and discuss the modern practice of portraiture and contemporary styles, and look at the importance and significance of the genre in modern society. We will examine some of the notable modern day photographers who used portraiture in significant ways, their influences socially and in journalism.

We will also look at how to appreciate and analyse portrait photographs throughout modern history.

We are able to review portrait photographs brought by the participants and perform a deconstruction and critique of each other’s works.

In the following session, I will present some of my personal choices of the finalist entries from KL International Photoawards from 2009 to 2018 including this year’s winning entries.

Practice : 1-hour
The workshops practical session follows with staged portrait shoots of participants in the studio or gallery space and outdoors. You will be able to make small prints of your portraits.

Note to participants
Please bring up to 5 portrait prints taken by yourself, or from magazines/online that you wish to present or review. Please bring your camera.

To workshop registration here.


Steven Lee is the founder director of Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards.

Featured Artist : Liza Ambrossio

Journey to Rome ~ Traversing the ominous to conquer the darkness

(You know what they say about London buses, wait for one and three turns up. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to feature three amazing photographers recently, and this is the third.)

Donning a baseball cap and wearing a bright yellow t-shirt, she smiled and said hello to me at the Camucia-Cortona train station. She was the only person smiling in the 30c heat, and introduced herself. Then I recall seeing her at the Cortona-On-The-Move festival but apologised that I had not talked with her during the last three days. She showed me her photo book The Rage of Devotion, a recent winner at Arles, and it clicked. This is Liza Ambrossia. Our journey to Rome took slightly longer than 2 and a half hours, so we chatted about her awards, projects, her book and about life in general. She was also trying to arrange accommodation in Rome at the same time. She kindly offered me plums from her landlady’s garden.


 

Q. You have just completed your ‘festival’ tour in Europe where you have been awarded a couple of major prizes, the FNAC Talent Award 2018 for your series Blood Orange and also at Arles, scooping the best photobook prize from the Voies Off Awards with The Rage of Devotion. I’d like to wish you many congratulations on receiving these prizes. Thank you for saying hello to me at Camucia-Cortona railway station and showing me your book, otherwise, I would not have discovered your wonderful work!

The success of your works depends on the amazing esoteric imagery that you produce, and the non-linear approach to editing your projects into fantastic, almost dream-like stories. How do you inspire yourself to create these images? Do you have a set formula following the story outline, or do you make the images randomly and put together at a later stage?

LA : Free association is the key to my line of work, a psychological process that gives independence to creativity in a mental state of emancipation directly related to the emotional state of the person who practices it. What we manage to retain from life not only from photography has to do with three essential points according to my criteria, what can be seen, what we want to see and what is revealed to us. To this I adhere structures of my contradictory personality: ease to live and radical when it comes to projecting stories.

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Q: During our two and a half hour train ride to Rome, we chatted about many things – UFO’s, chupacabras, demons, death, eagles, snails, narco killings, Manila, Marcos, about your childhood and the scholarship you gained in Spain. Your influences to your work are clearly derived from many experiences and circumstances in your life and travels, growing up in Mexico and Spain. However, the overall theme of your works is about identity, longing and a sense of regret, I feel. Is there any truth in this, and are your photographs a sort of self-reflection or examination of your personal journey as an artist, always in search of the unreachable?

LA : Extraordinary memory yours, my dear friend … But I must emphasize that from my perspective my work does not speak of repentance; but speaks of revenge, of madness, of the monstrous thing that lives in our souls and how to reach freedom after destroying the universe in which chance has placed us (family, religion, homeland, name or physical). I intend for my work to be what I am as a person, someone who believes that social structures are a drag on imagination and growth. My work talks about what I have lived, suffered, loved, hated, dreamed and desired. I am not afraid to speak with my images of my dark, comedic or immoral inclinations. My ambition is to achieve the greatest freedom that the religion of art can give me.

 

 

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Q. You write that ‘reality is overrated and fantasy underrated…”. The imagery of your works can be said to be ‘Lynch-ian’ in some respects, even nightmarish. eg. the arm with snails, the eagle eating the frail hatchling, and the numerous masked faces in The Rage. Is there a sense that you wish to provoke a reaction, any reaction from your viewers, that leads them to question your work or the images are purely to illustrate the concepts that you have to tell your story effectively, (ie. not caring about your viewers).

LA : Artists like me are beings led by demons and we are aware that these demons also observe us (the spectators). I like to write, make videos, images, tell stories, talk to strangers, the football and travel like a dog without a house as if I did not have tomorrow. I am an extremely passionate and passionate person for love and hate, to celebrate and to desolate, to live. I grew up in an atmosphere of chaos and exhausted my childhood and adolescence in that triangle of self-destruction; I currently know that there are many images that I already have inside and when I find them I collect them knowing that I am showing my demons. Demons with the ability to scare or fascinate.

Q. You also write that you are searching for the ‘transgressive aesthetic of the strange and the ‘every day’. I think you have succeeded in many ways, looking at your works in Blood Orange and The Rage. What is your next project and will you continue with this aesthetic, or perhaps go in a new direction altogether?

LA : My aesthetic continues to grow and is increasingly derived from film and short films because it is a language in which I recognize myself more. Although I will continue to make photobooks. My next project will talk about another dark moment in my life, suicide a personal complex because my father committed it and I could address it in a different way by living a few weeks in Switzerland two years ago when I discovered that deciding to die is a legal and even possible human right to pay. So I’m generating an optimistic opinion around the subject, in a project that will not take long to hang on my website more than a couple of months.


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LIZA AMBROSSIO, Rome Termini, July 2018 © Steven Lee

www.lizaambrossio.com

BIO

(B. in Mexico City, Mexico) Liza Ambrossio is a Mexican artist who lives and produces in Madrid, Spain. Winner of Voies Off award 2018 prize of the photography meetings in Arles, France, she is the winner of the FNAC New Talent Award, Spain, 2018; and the Discoveries award 2017 of the PHotoEspaña festival and La Fábrica. Her body of work mixes macabre archive photographs with cryptic paintings, performance, intervention, videos, psychology, nightmares, science fiction and witchcraft that unites by free association.

Liza’s work has been published on the network of Center of the image (Mexico City), Fototazo (Colombia-United States), Espacio Gaff (Mexico-Venezuela) and L’Oil de la Photographie (France). Liza has been granted a scholarship to study production residences in Iceland and the United States (2017). She has been selected as a finalist in the 50 best young promises of the Emerging Talent of Lens Culture 2016 in Amsterdam, Holland and selected in New Visions 2018 of the Cortona On The Move festival, Italy. In March 2018 she presented her first photo book ‘The anger of devotion’ (The Rage of Devotion) edited by Desiertas Ediciones (México) and La Fabrica (Spain) within the Fotofest of Houston, Texas, United States.

Featured Artist : Ranita Roy

An inquisitive mind.

Ranita Roy is a young photographer who aspires to be a photojournalist. Based in West Bengal, India she is constantly seeking out social issue stories – education, poverty, flood, environment to document.  Already having a string of accolades, awards, and publications after her name, she strives to have her most deserved works seen. I asked her a few questions recently, most notably about her black & white projects, which I feel are her strongest and most accomplished. Her work is mature and filled with emotion.

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Q. When did you first discover photography and its ability to tell stories?

Since my childhood, I liked the camera. Numerous times I played with my father’s camera. Be as it may, I never thought I wanted to be a photographer or turn out to be extremely enthusiastic about photography. When I was in college, amidst a discouraging time, one day I left my home with a compact camera and began shooting, and I understood that it gave me a certain delight and helped me to overcome that circumstance. From that point onwards, photography turned into a sort of contemplation for me and became part of my life.

Since I started photography, for one year I was trying every genre, but somehow I realized that photographing in the street is challenging and I started to focus on photographing regular people in exaggerated situations that highlighted aspects of who they are. Later, I started to following documentary photographers and their works and found this genre to be a powerful medium to show reality with artistry. Gradually, my interest grew in narrative photography.

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Q. What was your very first project?

My very first project was photographing backstage of a drama play. But it was not planned and it happened within a fraction of second’s decision. Reaching the stage to look around, I found that work backstage, behind the scene, was very interesting.  I thought the images could also be a story for the performers.

But as a first planned project, I must tell you about Chhordima, my grandmother. Ever since my childhood, I witnessed her pain, sorrow, joy, excitement and enthusiasm. How positively she lived with all sorts of social restrictions. I learn from her.

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Q. Who are your influences in art and photography?

It’s very difficult for me to name a single person. There are many people who has influenced me a great deal. It is not only from photography, but also in filmmaking, documentaries, and painters. I am inspired by Satajit Ray, Stanley Kubrick, Ritwik Ghatak, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Vittorio De Sica etc. In photography, I can say, Lynsey Addario, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ron Haviv, Raghu Rai, Kevin Carter, Alex Webb, Raghubir Singh, Ren Hang and many more.

I would like to name Sudipta Chakraborty, my photography mentor, whose continuous support has helped me a lot. I am inspired by his works.

Q. How do you identify a story to pursue?

Actually, I go to search out the burning issues. The issues that need special immediate attention. Firstly,  I decide on the story, and then begin gathering research and data on that particular issue. After analysing the data, later I visit the place, do a recce. Then I plan for the shoots. The duration of preparation for the story depends on the subject matter. For the floods, it was planned on ahead of time and I start shooting immediately when it happens. As most of the issues I deal with are on long-term basis, I always get time to prepare for the next level of shooting. For child labour stories, it took a lot of time to cover, as I had to keep in mind the political, administrative and local issues.

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From Upanayanam

 

Q. How much research do you do before you set out on your projects?

I have already replied in my previous answer. After identifying the story, I first collect data and information from the internet. I also try to search for the reports and news of that story to understand how much has already been covered. The next phase, I generally visit those places a couple of times to understand the scenario and prepare my approach. For stories which need immediate action, I directly visit those places and start shooting at the same time during my recce, to determine what are the major issues there and if possible, I may stay back there or make continuous visits.

 
Q. You have achieved a great deal in terms of awards and recognition, and also have worked published internationally. How do you reach out to these organizations and what which genre of photography would you like to see yourself getting into further?

Generally, I receive enquiries through the mail from those organizations. They get to know my work from either my website or from the contest pages, where my story or images were published.

I have grown interested in narrative photography and I would like to work as a photojournalist.

 
Q. I especially like your two black and white series – Upanayanam and Chhordima. They are very intimately photographed portraits with strong visuals, and the images tell the stories very well. These stories are truly unique and deserve more exposure. Why did you use B&W for these?

I could make both series in color but I chose black & white just because I would like to show the varying shades of only two colours, black and white. In Chhordima, as you read the story, the lady crossed many hurdles and restrictions of society in her life. Thus I wanted to contrast positivity & negativity, by using these two ‘shades’.  In Upanayanam also I used black and white to show the transformation of a Brahmin boy, from his colourful childhood, he enters into a very strict disciplined life, where he can visualize the future paths of life. The rays indicate the positive ways for him and black & white referred to the very simple, straightforward and strict disciplined life he entered into.


 

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