Three books that aren't about Photography.

But will help you capture better photos!

I am fortunate to live in India, where books are not taxed and are therefor incredibly cheap. This week I take a look at three books from my shelf. These books are not directly about photography, so are a good break from heavier reads. As photographers we are part of the art world and should look to it for inspiration. Theses books are all quick reads, leaving plenty of time for taking more photos!

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

Let me make this clear from the start. Photography is art, and I believe that it is art in all forms, from travel and macro to documentary and street. If you are a photographer, then you are an artist.

Art matters and so does photography. According to Gaiman, it is not only art that matters but also libraries, reading and daydreaming. This book encourages you to make good art, no matter what happens. Gaiman also praises the artist who does not know the rules – as these artists can achieve the impossible. Buy this book or steal it from a friend, read it then give it to someone who needs reminding of why we should all make good art! It is a short read, with pictures that underline the point that we should all ‘make good art’.

Failed It by Erik Kessels

Fail, fail and fail again. We have all failed at taking photos at some point. I fail 99% of the time, so it is something I am really good at! Erik Kessels is a genius at telling us why failing is so important. Photography is entwined within this book, even though the topic is not expressly camera related. One classic example is when Kessel looks at the work of Street Photographer, Matt Stuart, whose work often looks at the humorous side to failure.

If you’re not making mistakes. If you’re not regularly feeling stupid. If you don’t believe your ideas are inadequate. If no one is arching an eyebrow while slowly, condescendingly asking why on earth you’re doing this. If your ideas aren’t routinely mocked when shared with those who follow the rules.

You’re probably doing it wrong.’

Erik Kessels

This is a great lazy Sunday morning read, plus it has photos (failed ones and good ones). Highly recommended.

Think Like an Artist by Will Gompertz

I have read both ‘Think Like an Artist’ and ‘Steal Like an Artist’. I’m writing about the book shown below as someone pinched the other. This is a slightly longer read than the previous book, but still manages to be light and humorous. The book has pictures and quotes written in very large fonts. In terms of an easy read, this is way ahead of Sontag’s ‘On Photography’ (which does not even include any photos!).

This book does not really deal with photography, so again, you will have to believe that as a photographer you are also an artist. Once you can do that, this book will lead you to a think Like an Artist and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life. Now who doesn’t want that…

That’s all today folks. Keep Clicking,

Chris

Three New Years Resolutions…

… you may wish to ignore

The booze has worn off and it’s back to work. At this time of year we start thinking about improving our lives and our photography. Once again I find myself promising to eat less and exercise more. But what photography resolutions are there to be made? There is a plethora of advise available on what to do in 2020, but I remain sceptical on some of the ideas published.

I have added three photos to this post, all taken during my last photo walk of 2019.

When life gives you lemons, sell lemons.

Always have a camera on you.

Firstly, we always have a phone on us anyway. But should you always have your pro, or street camera with you? I think not and here is why. When I have my camera on me I am always switched on and looking for a shot. I find it hard to forget about it. There are times I just want to chill out and relax. Yes I may miss an award winning photo opportunity, but dare I say it, some things are better off seen without the camera. Lastly I believe that to be creative you need a break from what you love – even for a little while. So occasionally, put down the camera and look up to smell the roses.

I couldn’t find a photo of roses….

Don’t Buy New Gear

We are often warned against GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), and are urged to stick with one camera and one lens for a year. This novel idea for a resolution is ‘guaranteed’ to make you a better photographer. I’m not convinced that less is always more. I generally use a 50mm prime lens, but sometime I want to go wider and use my 35mm lens. This Christmas I purchased a 28-75mm zoom, which will be great for travel. People should feel free to get the gear they need to do the job they want. One lens does not do everything, don’t believe the hype!

Woman and dog who were under a lorry

Start a Project

Starting a project is a great idea. However, if you are not engaged in a project then do not panic. During 2019 I became obsessed with finding the next ‘big’ project, often letting my desire for something new obscure the tasks at hand (and I had a lot of projects on the go anyway). This was crazy! During December I forgot about travel and street photography, instead I focused on candid images of family and friends. As a result I am now bristling with ideas for 2020. The take away from this is that projects are important, but taking a break from them can be priceless.

That all for today folks, keep clicking.

Chris

My Favourite Street Photo's of 2019

Without further ado and very few words, here are my favourite Street Photos of 2019…

Captured in a fishing village (Mumbai).
Laundry Worker (Mumbai)
Steel Worker (Mumbai)
Worker (Mumbai)
Bangla Road (Phuket/ Thailand)
Morning Wash (Delhi)
Chicken Butcher (Delhi)
Sugar Cane (Yelahanka New Town, Bangalore)
Night Time Yelahanka (Bangalore)
Mason, by Muslim Burial Ground near Hebbal (Bangalore/ India)
Steel Worker (Mumbai)
Fishing Village (Mumbai/ India)

Looking at this collection it appears that I achieve the best work when I travel and disappear by myself. Lets hope there will be more exploring in 2020. Happy New Year!

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

Photographic Marinade

Incase you have not noticed, Christmas is approaching fast. This is the time of year when it is good to take a look at the photos captured over the previous 12 months. This task involves deleting an awful lot of rubbish, but also helps uncover a few forgotten, or overlooked gems. This year’s annual cull started over the weekend and I found a batch of photos that had not been published. The images accompanying this article were all captured around the Bangla Road area of Phuket, and yes, I had forgotten about them!

Bangla Road, Phuket

The Marinade

I love a decent marinade. Yogurt with a good dollop of tikka masala will improve chicken, and beef rested in Guinness works a treat. The trick here is to LEAVE whatever you have done and come back to it later. In this sense ‘marinade’ has become a metaphor for leaving photos alone. Garry Winogrand is known for not even processing his images till a year had passed (he shot film…obviously).

Taxi!

The Importance of Time

Most of us are guilty of coming back from a photoshoot, processing the best images and uploading them to social media. However, it is hard to be a subjective judge of your own work. Often we judge photos based on the experience had while taking them, or the effort that was expended on travelling to a location. Street photography is difficult, and it can be hard to admit that a morning’s work may have ended with very little in the way of images worth publishing.

When we leave our photographs for weeks, months, or years, we lose our emotional attachment and see the images with new eyes.

Party Bus

Hidden Gems

When we first view our photos, there are always the initial obvious choices for editing and publishing. However, these choices are often cliched, or repetitions of similar other images often seen on social media. To stand out you need to be different – going back through earlier images may reveal gems previously missed. In addition, remember that photos change over time, the historical edge of a photo can make it stand out from the crowd.

That is all for today folks. Keep Clicking,

Chris

India’s Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle is India’s most popular tourist route. Not surprisingly, the journey encapsulates three major sites. The route generally starts at Delhi, a street photographers dream and a city steeped in history, myth and architectural beauty. From Delhi you head to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal and numerous lesser-known heritage sites. The final destination is Jaipur, also known as the Pink City.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Despite living in India for the last two and a half years, this was the first time I explored the Golden Triangle. The route has been photographed by millions, and on a short 5 day trip I was going to struggle in terms of getting the images I sought. The Taj itself must be one of the most photographed buildings in the world and I was fortunate that only a small part of it was in scaffold!

The Baby Taj

The Itimad-ud Daulah, is more conveniently referred to as the Baby Taj. I arrived here close to mid-day, so shooting conditions were poor. However, the site is much less crowded than the Taj itself.

‘Baby Taj’

Jaipur

Jaipur is a place I wish to return to for more photography, and to stop by as a gateway to Rajasthan; an area I would dearly like to further explore. If you enjoy wandering around ancient Forts, then this is the place for you. However, what really captured my imagination were the massive astronomical instruments of Jantar Mantar. As you can see below, the potential for some interesting architectural photography is huge.

Delhi

I did not take many pictures in Delhi, and some of the more interesting places to see did not allow any photography (such as the past residence of Indira Gandhi). However, phots taken earlier this year can be seen here.

Morning Wash, Delhi

Planning a Trip?

If you are planning a trip it is well worth doing your research first. For instance, tripods are often not allowed in many of the venues. Secondly, it is worth finding the best time of day for capturing the light in each location, with mornings and evenings obviously being best. As yet I feel I have only just scraped the surface of the potential each location has for photography and I plan to return at some point.

That’s all for today folks, keep clicking, Chris x

Old Delhi

I have recently returned from a brief photography trip to Delhi. This is a magical area for Street Photography. Markets and lanes are filled with colour and life. Early mornings helped produce the best images. As the sun rises the light is soft, and the streets are still quiet.

Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk is the area to go for the best Street Photography. It is loud, dirty, smelly and full of life. There are numerous rickshaw drivers who are happy to show you around, and drop you at various shops in the hope of a little commission. Refreshing ‘chai’ is readily available for 10 rupees a cup!

Other Areas of Delhi

If you do go to Delhi there are a few other areas worth checking out.

  • Garstin Bastion Road – A large red light area. Don’t try to take photos of the women who work there. During the day the area is full of tradespeople and quite safe. I would not go there are night. Even in the morning I felt unsafe.
  • Connaught Place – some people rave about this area. I did not find it great for photography, but there are some good restaurants to visit if you are hungry. I also headed here when I needed a coffee.
  • India Gate – this place is too much of a tourist trap for me. However, at night the area comes alive with Street Food hawkers, which may interest some.
Chicken Dealer

The Golden Triangle

Delhi is often the launching area for trips around the Golden Triangle. This was my next adventure. The golden triangle encompasses Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. My next blog will (probably) look at how I managed to capture the truly stunning Taj Mahul, and how my Sony A7iii escaped the confines of its shoulder strap and met with a near death experience.

For those of you that are interested in such things, most of my images were captured using the Sony 50mm 1.8 lens, which is the best piece of glass I own for low-light shooting. This lens is light, compactThat all today folks, take care and keep clicking.

The full set of images can be viewed HERE!

Chris

KR Market Re Visited

KR Market in Bangalore remains one of my favourite local photography locations. At first glance, the market appears an area of complete chaos. However, scratch under the surface and there is a structure that supports multiple industries, individuals and businesses. Many of my photographs are headshots, but recently I have been working on creating images that tell a bigger picture.

Smile!
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