Art on my mind

Yes, I have art on my mind. For instance, I am attracted to barren trees like a moth to a flame, there is something unique about their artsy stark appearance that begs for interpretation. Captured on camera and tweaked, they have the ability to look like abstract prints. I may or may not have earth shattering interpretations for each one, but I do feel a sense of minimalism when I see them. There is an overwhelming simplicity and symmetry to the craggy branches when shot against the background of a sky and converted to black and white. What appears as chaos, somehow fritters away into a simple symmetric form as you breakthrough the matrix of the frame. I could attach deeper meanings to that and draw parallels in real life, but art (to me) can only hint at something and the ultimate interpretation is up to the viewer. I have two principles when it comes to art, the first I just elaborated on in the previous sentence and the other is a borrowed philosophy that is in someways a product of my first principle. If you look at a piece of art and absolutely do not get it and do not want it – its perfectly okay!Art is a personal opinion and a statement, a signature created by self or someone else.

In that light, there are some prints that I have been working on. During the process of making these pictures, I have started to wonder whether as a photographer I can CREATE art. To take something and tweak it to create art – does it make for ethical photography? My judgement or rather justification is that I am not putting out a photo-journalistic piece, I am not putting up a picture to record an event. I am simply putting up a picture of something that can evoke the imagination and lull the right side of the brain from shriveling up. No, this is not meant to be a purely cerebral exercise, art is a form of entertainment and I do hope it evokes a sense of whimsical fun as well. Digressions aside, the ethical factor is taken care of, by the justification offered above.

I’ve played around on photoshop with photographs that I recently took. Converting them to black and whites and/or introducing an x amount of radial blur, tweaking the contrast and so on. So as you click on these photographs, please look at them as you would an art installation. If the first sight of these pictures with blur don’t get your cerebral juices going, here is a thought to jump start the process – try guessing what the original picture was!

I also happened to take a trip recently for a wedding and after an indulgent four days of fun, the parting sight as we boarded a train to head home was a spectacular sunset. What does it have to with such an artsy post? Nature, is an inspiration, the cragginess of the hills beyond, the birds and the trees offset against a setting sun….a sunset means so many things to so many people, sort of like art. It can evoke the imagination, ignite a passion and arouse your mind – my greatest achievement out of this post should be to deliver the same effect and I sincerely hope I do.

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Art on my mind

Family Portraits – the fun way

Shooting portraits are not that easy for me, they are always the jobs that bring out the self doubt monster. It is about the photographers’ creative vision of a client’s brief and when you add that to the dynamic definition of success in the eyes of your client, it makes for a nerve wrenching episode. It is easy to deal with one adult client but when there is an entire family with kids …..that’s a different ball game altogether.

The principles of group photos or family portraits don’t differ all that much. As I’ve mentioned in this post earlier, comfort is a key factor and getting to know your client is key. For me, being a beginner, my “clients” happen to be good friends and right away I can zero in on what they are looking for. Kids on the other hand take time, irrespective of whether you know them or not. As the photographer it is my job to make the kids comfortable with having me around with my camera and equipment. More often than not, smaller the child the better it is to let them be, give them their space and shoot them doing what they are most comfortable doing.  With toddlers and older kids, I find letting them play with my camera and allowing them to take a few snaps with careful supervision never fails to make them warm up to me. Sometimes, I let them be my “spot boy”, holding up reflectors or helping me screw on a filter or even better – instructing their parents about the next shot!!!

I got to learn and experiment all of the above with a friends’ family, who enlisted me for her family portraits. Some casual shots at the beach and some more formal shots at home with extended family.  I know this is just the beginning of many sessions that I will do with her and I know that she is happy with my work. I can hardly call it work, when you get to hang out with close friends drinking beer on a beach, whilst you shoot casual shots of them!

In the casual shots there are some photographs where there is a good deal of lens flare from putting the sun in front of me, but it adds to the character of the photograph in my mind when it plays with say, the lustrous locks of the child. For a good part there was no posing of people, it really does irk children a lot, to pose! I did not use any reflectors or diffusers for this section, despite shooting mid day. For the most part we were under some shade and did not require it. I did discuss with my client on what to wear and told her to keep away from busy prints and stick to pastels and white. It lends to a sense of uniformity and calm in the pictures whilst very subtly enhancing the mood of a beach background.

For the more formal portraits, which are all posed and were taken at home – I was fighting a dying sunset and lack of light within the house. In these photos, I had to use just the reflector for lack of a fill flash. I am yet to get myself a fill flash, I know , I know…I will, slowly but surely. When I have money enough to invest in studio equipment I will but all that. For now, its about making use of what I have. Think of it as another “boxing myself in” exercise.

Before I round out this post, I have to say my thank you’s. A big thank you to my friends Anju & Rajiv, who let me photograph their family and think I did a fantastic job. Second and most importantly to my spot boy and unpaid assistant N – what can I say, I wish everyone had one of you in their lives! Third but definitely not the least, to my little assistants – my clients children – who are such a treat to watch when left to themselves!

Do message me and leave me your email address if you are interested in booking a session with me. As usual all pictures and written material are under copyright, DO NOT reproduce either without permission. Please click on the pictures to view an enlarged version.

Family Portraits – the fun way