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? How did you get started, your first camera
— Back in 1999, I used to take a lot of random images with my father’s Pentax Asahi film camera. Though the result was not always good but I was always excited to take photograph with it. During college times somehow I lost touch with photography and it was around 2010 again that I started taking photographs seriously and consciously. The documentary film «Baraka» and photographs of Mr. Sebastian Salgado played a significant role to stir up taking photographs again.
? Who are your favorite photographers?
— It was photographs of Mr. Sebastian Salgado which inspired me to take up social documentary photography. But I love the works of many photographers — James Nachtwey, Alex Webb, Darcy Padilla, Dorothea Lange, Joseph Koudelka, Raghubir Singh, Eugene Smith, Robert Capa, Eugene Richards to name a few.
? What books on photography, which should be read
— On Photography by Susan Sontag — It takes more of a philosophical look at how photography has changed the world and the way we learn. Susan Sontag discusses the excess of visual material in modern life, how photography has affected the way we learn (and understand history), and also how photography represents (and distorts) reality.
«Genesis», «Migration» and «Workers» by Sebastian Salgado — In the epic book ‘Genesis’ Salgado brings together Human (and) nature. Epic journeys to the ends of the earth: Salgado’s opus on our planet in its natural state. Salgado possessed a deep love and respect for nature; he was also particularly sensitive to the ways in which human beings are affected by their often devastating socio-economic conditions. Of the myriad works Salgado has produced in his esteemed career, three long-term projects stand out: “Workers” (1993), documenting the vanishing way of life of manual laborers across the world, “Migrations” (2000), a tribute to mass migration driven by hunger, natural disasters, environmental degradation and demographic pressure, and this new opus, “Genesis”, the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society – the land and life of a still-pristine planet. To me the book has been such an inspiration to find that cause of love for photography.
The Suffering of Light by Alex Webb — The Suffering of Light is the first comprehensive monograph charting the career of acclaimed American photographer Alex Webb, gathering some of his most iconic images. His work, with its richly layered and complex composition, touches on multiple genres, including street photography, photojournalism, and fine art, but as Webb claims, “to me it all is photography. This book really teaches you some real lessons through photographs.
The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum — This book is perhaps can be described as the most readable, understandable, and complete textbook on photography. With well over 100 beautiful photographic illustrations in both black-and-white and color, as well as numerous charts, graphs, and tables, this book presents the world of photography to beginner, intermediate, and advanced photographers seeking to make a personal statement through the medium of photography. Without talking down to anyone, or talking over anyone’s head, Barnbaum presents “how to” techniques for both traditional and digital approaches. Yet he goes well beyond the technical, as he delves deeply into the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography that are so often avoided in other books.
? Tell me one or a few tips for beginners.
— I would say, it is very important to realize why you are photographing and what you are photographing. Find the inspiration. If you love taking photos of babies, do that but do it beautifully and the result will come surely. Practice, trying something new and being a self critic is very important too. Always keep learning — never think that your photographs cannot get better.
? What is most important for you in your work?
— As I am keen on doing social documentary photography, I would say the content and story remains one of the most important part of the frame. For me the photograph should reflect the genuine and true story of the work and I try to add some drama if possible so that it engages the viewers.
? What the most memorable episode or event?
— After starting, I was not sure exactly what kind of photography would I follow. I was taking all kind of photographs from landscape to portraits. However in 2012 a trip to the local fishing village made me realize that I would love to do documentary work. After seeing the poor condition of the sea fishing village I wanted to portray it through a series of photographs. I did it and I think this trip found the direction for my photography. For me this moment is most memorable and important. I am happy that it happened.
? Do you have a treasured mascot?
— Not in object form but the support I get from the family have always played the role of a treasured mascot for me.
? What do you like to photograph the most?
— I want to photograph and through photograph document the various contemporary affairs prevalent in our society, interesting events and festivals, communities and people.
? Your plans for the future?
— This year I want to work on lifestyle and condition of people living in heavy industrial area and a communities of people affected by prevailing caste system in India.
? What cameras and lenses do you use today?
— Most of the time I use Canon 5D mk-II with a 24-105 f4L and a 35 mm f2 lens.
? Tell the story of the creation of the winning photo in the contest 35Awards
— I was covering the event of «Biswa Ijtema» — a congregation held by Muslims near Dhaka city in Bangladesh. Lots and lots of people come to attend the event and most of them come by trains. They come travelling on the roof of train also. At the station where they disembark I saw lots of people are jumping from one train to the other. It was an interesting frame and I tried to capture a man on the midway. I succeeded in this photo where it looked a man hung in the air between two trains, and the birds added an extra bit of drama to it.
? What are your impressions about the photo contest 35Awards? Why photographers need to participate in photo contests?
— I have a very positive impression about 35Awards. I liked the way it brought together the judges, curators and audience at different stages. I found it very transparent and the ability of all to express themselves. Very interesting and creative approach, option to evaluate one’s own work is great.
It feels very nice to e among winners and I congratulate all the others winners and their wonderful photographs and the entire team of 35Awards.