The title of this article not to be taken as self-appraisal but it is the most frequently asked question to me frequently. I have come across this question by my friends & followers mostly. That is the reason I considered to document it whatever I know about my process. Honestly speaking I have not analysed on this earlier but after coming many queries I started to do that. I am listing some few points & I hope you may find it useful.
I like to shoot colors, shapes & patterns of an interesting subject mostly in everyday subjects. I have worked on many subjects like paper, water, fire, flowers, architecture etc. with an intention to explore hidden beauty in it. I think when it comes to everyday subjects the presentation becomes very important especially color tones, to take attention of viewer in everyday subject with different point of view. The reason is to overcome known form of the subject which is mostly boring in nature as everyone sees it often. I do take liberty to experiment with white balance/light temperature to get the required feel/mood in the photograph. Example 1 is closeup of beautiful leafs processed & visualised as little umbrellas. Example 2 is macro shot of color papers seen as mystical curves or caves. Example 3 is closeup shot of weathered window exploring texture & patterns.
Example 2 : Mystical Curves
Example 3 : Weathered Window
That's it ! It may seem very basic discussion but this is the procedure I follow. One has to develop his own style/workflow. Ultimately its personal choice when & where to stop the adjustment sliders & there is no standard settings for that because it is unique for every image. Keep shooting & experimenting !
I have been been member of National geographic magazine (NGM) website from 2009. I am uploading my selected photographs regularly under "Your shot". Fortunately enough, my several shots have been selected as NGM editors as favorite & have been published in Daily Dozen as well as stories under assignments.
Images published in Daily Dozen & your shot assignment stories on NGM
Under Daily Dozen, each weekday NGM editors showcase their top 12 submissions. Members vote on editors favorites, and the winners appear in the Editors' Spotlight and be featured on the @natgeoyourshot Instagram account.
Assignments are not contests. Assignments are designed to mimic the process of being a photographer on assignment for National Geographic magazine. The editor(s) have an idea for a story they want to publish. They give the assignment to a photographer, who then goes out in the field and shoots. The photographer often brings back 10,000-plus images, only a handful of which go into the story. Throughout the experience, the editor and photographer are working together to make sure the images that come back are in line with what the editor has in mind for the story. The final selection that gets published may not include what were technically the best photos, nor the ones that the photographer or other editors liked the most. Rather, they are the ones that the editor decided worked together to best tell the story. Editors make a subjective choice based on a lot of elements, including the technical quality, how an image portrays one aspect of a larger story, and even the layout that’s available on the page.
It came to my surprise that my recent shot "snowfall" was published in National geographic Your shot selection on 29.09.2016. I was surprized because it was relatively very simple shot of an ordinary subject straw in the garden. The shallow depth of field was giving interesting blur effect which I was visualising as snowfall because it appeared as small cute snowballs to me. For giving tint of cold I shifted white balance of the captured image in RAW during post processing.http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/daily-dozen/2012-02-13/
I was so happy to know that my photograph "Rush on Platform" was selected by editor of National Geographic (NG) your shot monthly assignment "Built To Walk". I feel getting noticed a image from more than 10,000 entries is itself a compliment which gets extended by having a editors note & published in the story on NG assignment.
I do participate in Your shot consistently & like to get feedback from all around.Moreover this shot has been earlier published on NG Daily Dozen on Feb13, 2012. Daily Dozen is collection of 12 curated images by the editors of NG from the weekly uploads. This shot was also shortlisted in top 50 images in Sony World Photography Organization 2013 international photo contest.
About the image:
This image was captured in my Betterphotography Magazines face off contest for better photographer of the year 2012. It was taken on Dadar railway station of Mumbai in morning before office hours elaborating the rush & hurry of people. The local train has became integral part of Mumbai & the peoples lifestyle.
EXIF Data: 1.3 sec , f16, ISO 100, 17mm
Fabulous. A diptych of human movement. There are so many balanced elements in this image of mass movement (light, space, symmetry) that the whole image is tensed--poised between calm and chaos. Bravo.
I was so happy to know that my photograph "Curves" was selected by editor of NGM your shot monthly assignment "Create It". I feel getting noticed a image out of around 11k entries is itself a compliment which gets extended by having a editors note & published in the story on assignment. I do participate in Your shot consistently & like to get feedback from all around.
About the image:
I worked on the series of paper abstract quiet a long. This work includes getting closeup of color papers exploring interesting forms & colors. This all work was done using my macro lens. I simply get fascinated while doing this kind of work & can invest my hours while working on it. This image was created by using simple paper curves with a spotlight. The shape gives a feel like lady resting on a beach to me. Although everyone is free to interpret there own feelings in abstract photography.
Let there be light! The lines, contrasts, movements, lights, and use of colors. What is there not to like about this picture? The abstract feeling and the minimalistic approach. This picture is so aesthetic and beautiful. - Liz Andersen, guest editor for the Create It assignment
Earlier my image "Sky & Clouds" was picked up by editor with his note on assignment " Nature in Black and white" The image was captured from the corridor of my house presenting a view of sky through the frame. This was giving a illusion as reflection of cloud in a big mirror ? Whereas it is a straight view of sky from my balcony on a cloudy day.
Nice idea of looking at nature from a man made structure. - Peter Essick (National Geographic Photographer)
I hope my images get noticed by the editors in future too :)
Dear friends during online surfing it took to me surprise that my image "painter" was shortlisted in National Geographic Daily Dozon for the 3rd week of May 2011. Unfortunately I didn't got any mail intimating that to me but seeing my image as a part of shortlisted group of images was nice experience.
For those who don't know about Daily Dozen NGM from the Daily Dozen, Photographer across the world post their images under the section "Your Shot". Images under these categories were shortlisted for the Daily Dozen. a selection of photos publishes in monthly National Geographic magazine if photograph gets qualified through voting machine.
I am happy to share with all of you that my photograph : "Apartment: Reflection" has been displayed on the home page of National geographic My Shot page on 4/8/2010.
This is my first time to get such an honor on this site. I hope to like repeat such success in future also.
About The Image:
This shot was taken during photowalk 2010 in Indore near Bombay Hospital. I like the distorted reflection of the building forming in glasses of another building. Unfortunately from the road I was only able to see a partial reflection. I realised that the view could be better from the upper floor. I requested the watchman of the building to allow me to get a shot from the required point of view. He not only allowed me to do so but also came with me & guided for the location. You can find me with a shadow of that watchman under center blue arch.
0.033 sec (1/30)
Off, Did not fire
This Photograph has been selected in Top 10 images as "Honorable Mention" in Worldwide Photowalk 2010.
I am happy to share with you all I recently got an opportunity to participate in a group art exhibition "Emulsion" at Indore. In this blog I am going to share with you all my personal experience in this event. This art exhibition was displaying work of seven photographers & four sculptors. This was organised at “Canarys Art Gallery” Indore. The event was inaugurated at 5:30 pm on 16th September 2016 & was open up to 20th September.
Details of participant & event is as given below:
Image 1 : Invitation for the event & Participants
After a long break of almost 3 years I participated in a group art exhibition “Emulsion” an art exhibition by photographers & sculptors. I find the process of preparing, getting prints, mounting framing work, displaying it a bit hectic. After the exhibition storing & maintaining the work also seems to be challenging, so I am quiet reluctant for participating in the exhibitions. The reason for this might be being unfriendly with the overall process because I started photography with digital camera (started working after 2006) & mostly share my work online like on my websites, Facebook & photo sharing sites.
My photography work was almost halted from about a year except few clicks once in a while. As interest in shooting get drops, it’s difficult to start over. During such phase one thing can be done is start clicking, participate in art related activities, visiting exhibitions or simply keep exploring work of whom you follow. But instead I do find myself avoiding all these activities, more on that not visiting Facebook & other photo sharing sites. The reason for getting work stuck is mostly due to time constraints because of busy schedules & only keep thinking on ideas without attempting for execution. I do believe for such phase no valid reason is required, though for taking a fresh start requires a many.
However when I somehow started I was getting in tune with my style of work & started enjoying that. This exhibition was planned on a very short notice so I was again a bit hesitant on participating but the initiative taken by senior photographer Mr. Tanveer Farooqui ji with responsibility of taking care of the reasons mentioned earlier for not participating, left only work of selecting & preparing the files for printing. This also happened for my last exhibition “Photon” in 2013 with similar help by senior photographer Mr. Upendra Upadhya ji. So I simply accepted it because I thought it can add further momentum to my photography work. This time I was certain about displaying my latest work of macro shots, captured in last few months.
I am working on everyday subjects from few years because of my comfort level with it and important reason is I do enjoy the process of discovering beauty in these everyday subjects. I will like to continue on that subject, hoping in future long breaks will be restricted.
About the Display
Subject of Displayed Work : Beauty in leaves.
Image 2 : My Ten displayed images in the exhibition
About The Theme : Flowers are beautiful, undoubtedly but it doesn't mean leaves are not ! This is a little attempt to focus your attention on the beauty of leaves. I believe pearls get conceived by oyster when it receives a drop of rain or dew, but I have experienced glittering them no less than a pearl on the leaves. I have observed contour of butterflies, stars even the pure sound of "OM" in these leaves & tried to capture, present it within my limits.
From last few exhibition I am following an exercise of making small thumbnails of the images to be displayed so that I can finalise the arrangement for final display. This saves lot of time during installation in gallery. It also avoids confusion on arrangement at last moment. I finalised ten images to be mounted on a same wall in two rows, because I like the way they all were complementing to each other.
During The Event
I was participating with some renowned photographers from Indore & I took it as learning experience. Though lot of tutorials discussing about technicalities in photography are abundant on internet & books, very less can be discovered on the topic of exploring on aesthetics. This can be gained by having discussions with the senior artist, photographers, painters by understanding the their thought process on displayed art. This also enriched me by observing the layers of response from a common man to a senior artist on displayed art.
Event Images with Shriram Jog ji, Hemshankar Pathal ji & kirti pandya (Photo Courtesy Balwant Chouhan)
The important aspect was getting interaction with the participants, artists from other fields & friends. I do like to get review about my work especially from painters because I work mostly on shapes, patterns & colours. I am happy to say I got very positive response as well as interesting observations and suggestions.
Slideshow : Images from the event (Photo Courtesy Tanveer Farooqui ji & Balwant Chouhan)
The interesting highlight of the event was getting familiar with an renowned theater artist Mr. Shriram Jog ji. Coincidentally I witnessed his great artistic skill in a Marathi drama “Kahi Teri Kara Re” at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore. Another highlight was the visit of owner of “Vaibhav Nursery” Kirti Pandya at the gallery. I have been shooting at his nursery from about 8 to 9 years as desired with his kind support. After going through the displayed images, his acceptance about finding a refreshing eye for seeing towards these plants was very touching. The peak of the event was discussion with senior photographer Mr. Hemshankar Pathak ji. His minute observations, fine composition improvements, appreciation as refreshing work & discussion about photoshop hype for processing images was very special.
A Note about hype of processing using photoshop
I also found most of viewers were thinking too much on how the effect was achieved? On which media & where it was printed? How much was the role of photoshop for getting final effect? How much it was edited? In fact earlier I was also thinking on same lines but I dropped that practice. I believe for getting desired effect & feel using whatever tools available, requires the vision of an artist. Then why to bind him with any restrictions? If one is not shooting for scientific documentation then he should be free to treat on subject as he desire. The treatment to be kept in limit without loosing the natural beauty of subject. For me when I see others work I just ask myself whether it's working for me or not, irrespective of the method by which the result has been achieved.
I totally respect, being as human the curiosity of understanding the process but find totally unconvincing to judge only on the basis of processing. It should also to be noted that earlier with film camera the processing was being done in darkroom for achieving the desired effect by an photographer.
For me the edit word in photography is very vague. When anyone asks or say “Edit kiya hein kya?“ it seems he is already convinced that anything can be done by processing tools which automatically takes care of turning a bad photograph into extraordinary image. Instead I see these tools as taking beautiful images to next level. Edit process can be subdivided into
Basic : Adjustment brightness, contrast, colors, cropping & rotation.
Advanced : Adjustment by basic editing + cloning small areas, dodging, burning etc.
Creative : Advanced editing + merging different images, adding elements not present in original frame.
For my style of photographs mostly basic or advanced editing is sufficient. Anyway this topic is never ending being a bit subjective. I also think sometimes due to overuse of processing (leading to unnatural look), the processing tools have lost a bit respect.
My kind advice to novice photographers is try to understand the perspective of an artist instead of focusing more on technical queries at such event, will be more helpful for them.
The event timing was 3 to 8 pm & I was eager not to miss a single feedback so I did tried to be at the gallery as much possible. I was fortunate to get interesting feedback about printing results on canvas vs paper, fine composition improvements in displayed images, compliments about color schemes, plant information from visitors was really interesting.
I will also like to thank all the participant especially seniors for providing me platform to display my work along with them. I also solicit their suggestions & guidance throughout the event. It’s impossible to mention each & every detail because it was almost five days event. I sincerely thank to everyone for their kind suggestions as well as appreciation of the displayed work. I am sure this participation will keep me inspired for continuing my photography work.
Since this event was planned on very short notice, it is quiet possible I was not able to invite many of you. We tried our best to invite through Facebook, Whatsapp, mails & messages mostly. In such case I request to forgive me considering it as human mistake. I also like to express my gratitude towards all friends, followers & guests for sharing their valuable time with us & encouraging feedback. I will also like to mention those who were not able to attend this event, I totally respect their personal reasons. I am already overwhelmed by the response & hope they will keep showering their love & affection to my work.
Today this website completes the first year. Last year I started this website basically to keep backup of my files & simultaneously to display in user friendly way to the viewers having interest to explore my photography work. I was really happy to receive overwhelming response & love. Over 6000 unique visitors visited this website & around 40 visitors taken effort to mention their valuable feedback & words of appreciation in the guestbook. I sincerely appreciate their feedback & expresses lot of thanks for loving my work !
The interesting data for me was there is some percent of serious fans who can stay on this website more than 20 minutes to hour. That's really encouraging to know.
I was planning to display a new set of work on this day but unfortunately due to busy schedule from some months I was not able to work on it. I regret for that but also hope very soon I will start sharing new work.
The experience with Zenfolio (the service provider) was really good. Regular updates were being added giving new features & templates. Though I have preferred the first designed template minor changes were added to the site like addition of new logo & watermark to the images. Your valuable feedback will be welcomed for adding any correction/features to the site.
Thanks to all of you & keep loving!!
Dear Friends on the occasion of festival Diwali I express my greetings to all of you. I wish this festival brings happiness in your life. I am happy to share with you all that my article "Me & My Photography" is published in annual "Diwali online Magazine" by Foto Circle Society.
'FOTO CIRCLE SOCIETY' is an organisation formed by a group of enthusiastic and active photographers in 1998, with motto - 'Together we progress'. They have started publishing online annual magazine FA FOTOCHA ( F for Fotography) exploring the artist mind instead of usual technical details we found every\where in other articles.
In this article I tried to open my mind as a photographer, my understanding towards Abstract photography & thought as well as some confused mind as openly as possible.
I hope you like it. Since it's in Marathi I am sorry for non-Marathi friends. Maybe someday I will translate in English on my blog. For this article after a long gap it inspired me to write down on paper in Marathi language. The electronic media really cut down my habit of writing letters/ diary..may be my lazy nature is more responsible than the electronic media.