Archive for the 'Photography' Category

Dayanita Singh’s #1 tip for young photographers

12 November 2013

The photographer Dayanita Singh in conversation with Shougat Dasgupta of Tehelka:

What also may appear archaic to young photographers is your insistence on reading. You advise photographers to take a course in literature rather than photography…

I don’t think there’s anything to go to photo school for. I could teach you how to make a photograph in two days. Where does that leave photography? So I say to young people, what you need to become is the author of your work.

How do you find your voice? Literature shows you something about life. The family portraits I could have taken had I known William Shakespeare when I took them. Who understands jealousy, betrayal, treachery, all these human emotions that are so much part of family life, better than Shakespeare?

A comparative literature course is a great one for anyone interested in photography. You can study how Italo Calvino finds a new form for every work; how Geoff Dyer completely takes the idea of the novel apart and stitches it back together, how he has the courage to write a book [Out of Sheer Rage] about a book that never gets written; how Michael Ondaatje knows just when to stop, to keep you guessing.

When I read [Dyer’s] Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, I was on a grant from Harvard to photograph ‘social issues’. It was a lot of money and very prestigious and it was a trap. I took the photographs I thought Harvard wanted during the day, and photos for myself at night. I was obsessed with this hallucinogenic colour of Calcutta at night. I learned from Dyer how you can weave together two different books and complicate both.

Photography: courtesy Arts Collaboratory

Read the full interview: Dayanita Singh

Also read: Raghu Rai on photography

T.S. Satyan on photography

Prashant Panjiar on photography

T.S. Nagarajan on photography

A ‘mile-high experience’ for the hack-pack

1 October 2013

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A picture tweeted by the prime minister’s office (PMO) of the media scrum accompanying Manmohan Singh, as he answers questions in mid-air on his way back home after a five-day visit to the United States.

Among those identifiable, Raj Chengappa, editor-in-chief of The Tribune, Chandigarh (in suit, ahead of mikes); Jayanta Ghosal of Ananda Bazaar Patrika (behind him); Vijay Kumar Chopra, editor, Punjab Kesari (front row, aisle); and Mihir S. Sharma of Business Standard (third row, window seat).

In all, there were 34 newspaper, magazine and TV journalists on board.

Portrait of a film critic at the cash counter

22 September 2013

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At Sooni Taraporevala‘s endearing exhibition of photographs of Parsis, chronicled since 1977, the very first exhibit is of Rashid Irani.

On the left is Irani last year; on the right is Irani 25 years ago.

Both pictures show Irani, the working partner of Brabourne, the eponymous Irani restaurant on Princess Street in Bombay with which his family has been associated since 1934, behind the cash counter.

But in his other life, in front of it, Irani is a cineaste, a connoisseur of poetry, and a long-time critic of English films—for The Times of India for the longest time, and lately for the Hindustan Times.

A trained accountant, who worked in a shipping company for 17 and a half years, Irani took his position at the till after the premature death of his father in 1965.

Sooni Taraporevala, who wrote the screenplay for the much-acclaimed Salaam Bombay, writes:

“Rashid has a remarkably international outlook entirely from his reading. He has never left India.”

The exhibition is on at the national gallery of modern art (NGMA) in New Delhi.

How some Bombay-ites read their newspapers

1 June 2013
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The Samrat Vachanalay at Shivaji Chowk in Chembur (East)

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The Shiv Sena-RPI stand at Lalubhai Complex, Mankhurd (W)

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The Dhakka group mitra mandal at G.D. Ambedkar Marg, Sewri

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RPI newspaper stall outside the Chembur (W) railway station

Vachanalays or newspaper reading centres, where locals read the papers and discuss the day’s news, have been a familiar sight in (and an integral part of) most neighbourhoods in Bombay.

Usually sponsored by the local ward of a political party or a mitra mandal (friends’ group), these informal newspaper points are stocked with the major Marathi newspapers, but several of them also do have Hindi, Gujarati and English newspapers depending on their location.

As can be seen in the second picture from the top (click on the picture to view a larger frame), there are designated slots for different newspaper brands. Readers are expected to place the paper back in them after perusing their daily poison.

The Shiv Sena, their electoral allies, and the groups associated with these parties maintain the largest number of these vachanalays in Bombay and there is sufficient academic indication that they helped the party mobilise the masses, especially in their initial days.

MNS, the Shiv Sena offshoot which too tried to set up vachanalays, however did not find the same success.

Some political parties, like the Republican Party of India (Athavale) even allow their vachanalays to be used by enterprising vendors to sell newspapers.

But in recent years, the vachanalays are slowly going out of fashion in most parts of the metropolis as people prefer to buy their own newspapers. Plus, there is the growing spread and reach of television and telephony. Or maybe there is just diminishning interest in reading newspapers.

The adman cum photographer M.S. Gopal, who runs the excellent Mumbai Paused blog that captures slices of urbs prima in Indus, has shot some pictures of vachanalays in Bombay. And they bring home the social intercourse that newspapers have created in the public space, thanks to the political parties.

View M.S. Gopal’s Bangalore pictures: Mains and Crosses

***

Also read: T.S. Satyan memorial awards

Every picture tells a tale, Babu‘s tells a tome

They also serve who sort, insert and distribute

21 May 2013

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In the Bangalore neighbourhood of Ulsoor, newspaper vendors slip pamphlets, flyers and other materials into the Sunday papers before heading off to doo-deliver them.

Photograph: M.S. Gopal/ Mumbai Paused

Also read: So, how many journos cracked CAT 2012?

Every picture tells a tale. Babu‘s tells a tome

When Chamundi betta relocates to amchi Mumbai

Congratulations. We have the worst job on Earth.

25 April 2013

Worse than a lumberjack, if you know what it means.

Worse than a dishwasher.

Worse than a garbage collector.

Worse than a dairy farmer.

That’s the job of a news reporter.

The worst job on earth.

That’s the finding, if you believe that kind of thing, of Career Cast, an American human resource consultancy firm. On its website, the researcher lists low pay, stress, etc as the causes.

The study said:

“…(News reporting) has lost its lustre dramatically over the past five years and is expected to plummet even further by 2020.”

News reporters are ranked at No. 200, photojournalists are only slightly better at 188. But look at the bright side: none of the other 199 “better” professions than ours can report this piece of news.

Image: courtesy Hindustan Times

Also read: A happy new year to all you psychopaths!

Also read: The ten worst jobs on earth

Eight reasons journalism is best profession

External reading: Ten worst jobs of 2012

Ten worst jobs of 2013

Learning photography 10,000 feet above sea

21 April 2013

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What can two photojournalists with enviable CVs do when the bug to do something away from the straight and narrow of daily and weekly deadlines, bites them?

T. Narayan and Sanjay Sharma provide some inspiration to their kinsmen with a photography workshop 10,122 feet above sea level.

The first batch will be held from April 25-28, the second from May 16-19. For further details, call Narayan on 08826212122 or Sanjay on 09811083888. Email: tnssphotography@gmail.com

Indian Express 2-month course in photography

10 January 2013

express

The TOI lensman who nailed Ajmal Kasab’s fate

22 November 2012

Sebastian D’Souza, the photo editor of Mumbai Mirror, with the photograph that he took of Ajmal Kasab inside Victoria Terminus on the night of 26 November 2008

Sebastian D’Douza, then photo editor of Mumbai Mirror, took 19 photographs on the night of 26 November 2008, including the iconic one of Ajmal Kasab striding across the corridors of Bombay’s Victoria Terminus station, spraying bullets.

Now retired, “Saby”, as the lensman is known to friends and colleagues, testified before the trial judge, M.L. Tahiliyani, who called his testimony “blemishless”.

In August this year, the Supreme Court noted:

“While dealing with the VT carnage, we must take note of two witnesses (Saby and Shriram Vernekar). Their evidence is extraordinary in that they not only witnessed the incident but also made a visual record of the event by taking pictures of the two killers in action and their victims… Both the witnesses, caring little for their own safety and displaying exemplary professionalism, followed the killers,” said the SC.

After Kasab was hanged yesterday, The Times of India quotes Sebastian D’Souza as saying:

“While I can’t be happy over anybody’s death, Kasab’s hanging does put an end to this sordid chapter and may help the victims get some closure.”

***

Thomas Fuller profiled D’Souza for the International Herald Tribune:

When the gunfire started, Sebastian D’Souza was well placed to respond. From his office directly across the street, D’Souza, the photo editor of Mumbai Mirror, grabbed his Nikon and two lenses and headed out into the blood-soaked night.

Peering from behind pillars and running in and out of empty train cars, he emerged with the singular iconic image of the attacks: a clear shot of one of the gunmen.

“I was shaking, but I kept shooting,” D’Souza said as he scrolled through his pictures of the attacks in a recent interview at his office.

D’Souza’s photo of Muhammad Ajmal Kasab confidently striding through Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus carrying an assault rife with one hand, finger extended toward the trigger, has been printed and reprinted in newspapers here and flashed daily on television screens.

Sebastian D’Souza recounted the story in The Times of India:

“In the distance we saw two dark figures carrying rucksacks but weren’t sure who they were.”

Saby asked the constable to fire. One of the two figures swung at the sound and fired back. Looking over the barrel of a government-issue rifle Saby took his first shot of the night. Seconds later, he saw the owner of the book stall at the platform slump down, writhing in pain.

This was Saby’s second shot before he saw Shashank Shinde’s lifeless body. “It was the first realisation I had that I was in a far more serious situation than anything I’d covered before.” He watched the gunmen pump two more bullets into the book stall owner to make sure he was dead.

He also saw, from his hiding place, an old woman in an orange navwari sari walk past, oblivious as a sleepwalker; the gunmen looking at her and then away for other targets.

“I was terrified for her but they just let her walk by. I wonder why.”

By now he was hiding in one of the empty train compartments where he fitted the telephoto lens onto his Nikon D-200, and then crouching out barely a few inches he shot a couple of frames of one of the terrorists. He was no more than a boy, hair cut like Shah Rukh Khan in his Baazigar days, dressed in neatly ironed gray cargos, black tee-shirt, and carrying a bag that seemed heavier than his weight.

In the other hand he carried a Kalashnikov which, Saby saw clearly through his lens now, was raised in his direction.

Link via M.V.J. Kar

Also read: ‘I wish I had a gun rather than a camera’

External reading: Supreme Court praises TOI photographers

An Angry Young Man gets good media @ 70

11 October 2012

Amitabh Bachchan, the BBC’s “star of the millennium”, peers through a front-page of the Europe edition of The Wall Street Journal, in photographer Daboo Ratnani‘s calendar for October 2012.

Libran Mr Bachchan, who has had a stormy relationship with the Indian media, turns 70 today.

Also read: Amitabh Bachchan versus the Mumbai Mirror

Look, who wants to be a journo (after rebirth)

Sting camera that Amitabh Bachchan didn’t see

Jug Suraiya takes on the mighty Big Bachchan

When Prabhu Chawla called up Amar Singh

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