“From the very beginning I used to take pictures of candid moments, even when I was not aware of the different genres of photography. My imagination is not very strong. Rather, I always believe that reality can be stranger than what I can think of.”
Saumalya Ghosh began his photographic journey in 2012 when he took to the streets of Kolkata with a camera in hand. His aim is to connect with people through his photography. A software engineer by profession, he makes it a point to practice his art every weekend. Creative Image caught up with the photographer for a brief chat. Here are a few excerpts:
Q. Most of your pictures capture human subjects in their natural state, how do you create that raw, comfortable and candid atmosphere in and out of the frame?
Firstly, I’m fortunate that I live in India where going close to the people on the streets is comparatively easy. Secondly, I think faith, confidence and patience play a vital role for the way I operate. I have enough faith in people. And it has increased over time.
Additionally, I make sure that I maintain a low profile on the streets, so that I can better camouflage with people. I always try to get the picture before I get noticed. If I get the picture before I get noticed then well and good. I get a raw and natural expression. Otherwise, if I get noticed, then also I remain composed. I try to maintain a body-language that suggests I’m least interested about what is happening. I try to suppress my curiosity.
Sometimes patience is also a key thing. If I see a possibility, I wait for a long time until people start ignoring me. And thus, I again become invisible to them. So, the atmosphere eventually becomes comfortable and candid for me.
Q. Your work varies from monochrome to vibrant colourful compositions, which do you prefer and what’s the story you’re trying to create with the difference in colours?
Yes, I agree I have both monochrome and colourful compositions. However, I personally prefer colour than monochrome. Only when I feel colour will not add any value to my image, then I convert the same to monochrome.
As the visual language is my mode of expression, I think it’s important that my photograph tells a story, evoke a particular emotion or surprise the viewers. Sometimes I want my story to remain incomplete or ambiguous so that it becomes subject to interpretations. Anyway, for me, in most of the cases, colour plays a vital role to incorporate a psychological or emotional component into my image. I think colour adds more information and increases the impact of my narrative.
Q. Who are some contemporary and legendary street/documentary photographers you admire and what is your advice to emerging photographers?
I admire many legendary and contemporary photographers. It is quite difficult to just name a few! Some of the masters are Alex Webb, Henri Cartier Bresson, Joel Meyerowitz, Elliott Erwitt, Richard Kalvar, Raghubir Singh, Raghu Rai and some contemporary photographers such as Matt Stuart, Maciej Dakowicz, Tavepong Pratoomwong and Vineet Vohra.
I cannot give advice to the emerging photographers. All what I can say is – Friends, please read more, see works of the masters and contemporary photographers, but in the end simply follow your heart and shoot what you love. Just enjoy the journey!