Bombay based Photojournalist

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by sunilv, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. sunilv

    sunilv TPF Noob!

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    I was lucky to be born in the 70s. The last thirty odd years, (especially in India) have been a transitional phase. An incredibly rapid evolution, driven by avarice, compulsion, globalisation, and changing societal values!

    I have seen it all, Y2K babies will not be as fortunate—they will live in the pseudo realism of the 21st century: From a black and white television that aired a single government owned channel—to a 99 channel coloured television, which airs programmes even from our suspiciously friendly neighbour Pakistan. From fully clad heroes and heroines of the late 70s to the bare-it-all stars of today. From snail mail to E-mail, rotary phones to mobiles, the grubby Udupi hotel that was once the pride of every neighbourhood to lounge bars and discothèques. From the little affordable cinema houses, where you shared a seat with bed bugs, and strained your ears to hear the dialogue over the din of dangerously gyrating fans, to the unreasonably expensive multiplexes, and from the close camaraderie that every Bombayite shared to this selfishness which guides urban existence today.

    The locality where I reside was just a village then, there were hardly any cars on the once tranquil streets, and the Ambassador, Fiat, and Morris Minor vied for attention. In summer, bright yellow flowers of the Copper Shield tree made the streets shimmer, as if they were paved with gold, and in the monsoons, all the drains and puddles would be the venue for paper boat regattas, winters are non-existent in Bombay. The adventurous youth rode a Rajdooth Motorcycle, and cycles were still in vogue. The link-road behind my house, where I can barely walk today (without the fear of being run over) was where my friends and I learnt to ride a cycle, and during the kite festival of 'Sankranti' hundreds of children would converge on that dirt track and flaunt their homemade kites, and the sky would be blanketed with coloured paper diamonds. Despite the convenience that change has offered us, I secretly yearn for the simplicity of rural living. This is why the little potters' village tucked in a corner of Dharavi remains my favourite subject. This transitional phase, which I refer to also saw a major change in the way art was beginning to be perceived, the reformist art of Ara, Souza Paul, and Hussain would gain acceptance, although I was oblivious to art then, I unconsciously grew up with it, my conscious obsession with art began much later. This transition would form the basis of a personal style that would be based on the paradoxes, which this magnificent country offers.

    A journey through India has to be unplanned—Planning spoils everything—it is against everything Indian I guess. There is a certain kind of order in its chaos. A certain sanity that is born out of the insane and inane.

    River Yatra was not a travel photography assignment, but a personal quest—and the ambiguity of this journey in itself provided the structure. This was not envisaged as a traveller's handbook, but a photographer's diary. My love affair with images spans a decade. Photography has become a religion for me—a way of life. It has also taught me the art of inconspicuousness; this ability to go unnoticed is necessary for candid portraiture. No, I do not claim to be an archimage with a cloak of invisibility nor a Manitou from the X-files. As an amateur—you act. As a professional—you react; and very often, you do so unconsciously. This invisibility is the art of pointing your camera at someone from five feet away, and being able to capture that person's most intimate expression unpretentiously. Proximity to my subjects is essential, for otherwise I can never capture their quintessence. Photography has been a very gratifying experience for me; to claim that it has made me a better human being might be an exaggeration, but yes, it has certainly made me more sensitive to my surroundings and I hope compassion is contagious.

    All the images on my site www.riveryatra.com are shot on 35mm. (Nikon film cameras, Digital Cameras, and Leica rangefinders) I personally prefer rangefinders; they are less intimidating. As usual, I have relied on my instincts and a handheld exposure meter, rather than on TTL metering.

    Tripods are necessary; I carry two tripods on assignment, a Manfrotto 058 with a 229-3D pro head for very long exposures, which I use for planned shots, and a lighter Slik 300 DX or the Gitzo Mountaineer (the Gitzo can also be used as a Monopod, as one of its legs is detachable). I avoid flashguns like the plague, and hate to alter ambient light ratios, however I do carry two Nikon 80 DX flashguns for controlled lighting along with Nikon's very handy wireless slave flash controller unit SU-4. The combination gives you remarkable control over your lighting, and the thoughtful addition of a modelling lamp by Nikon's designers (the strobe flickers for 10 to 15 seconds) gives the photographer the ability to prejudge shadows. I also carry a six cell Maglite, and use it as a Hosemaster for painting with light; this really comes in handy, especially in archaeological sites where flashguns are prohibited.


    SEE MY IMAGES AT http://[URL="http://www.riveryatra.com"]www.riveryatra.com[/URL]

    and http://www.riveryatra.com/portfolio/default.htm

    Happy Shooting, Keep the faith

    Sunil
     
  2. Puscas

    Puscas TPF Noob!

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    Hi Sunil,

    Welcome to TPF. This must be the longest introduction ever, but it's interesting. And you've got some great pictures on your site. So once again: welcome!



    I so totally disagree. You (we, I was also born in the 70's) haven't seen what change really means. These Y2K - kids as you call them, will probably live longer and see change happen in a much higher tempo. Imagine being born in a time were people drive a car, and then taking a 5 week holiday to a different planet at the age of 45 (!). Yes, I know it all differs per country (so if you're talking about India and India only, forget my remarks), but still...



    pascal
     
  3. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

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    You write a profound statement of comparisons.
    I briefly viewed your website photos and find them very interesting. I also bookmarked you site to return with more time to read your preface’s and captions. Your photos and work are first class. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

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    After Pascal's statement, I had to add:

    Change….??? I grew up listening to the Green Hornet and the Shadow on radio, AM stations only! Living through your 70’s was a sobering event to what the future held. I truly am sad for those maturing today, as I have witnessed the rapid decline of love, compassion and most of all understanding for one another whilst being replaced with greed and self importance. Even our governments have dehumanized us. Enough said…..but it’s fair to say that today’s world will never care to know the past.
     
  5. sunilv

    sunilv TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the responses---River Yatra is a journey through which I hope to usher in change---so spread the word around

    S
     
  6. emogirl

    emogirl TPF Noob!

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    Sunil....positively beautiful work. You have a great balance of light& dark in your work, good depth in your shadows...and of coarse, the colours, are amazing. Never thought I'd want to go to india before..but now, would love to. Wonderful work. The few images that really stood out for me, where the babies in the doorway, the man in the window with the garments hanging outside of it, and the men onthe fishing boats with the golden sky....just beautiful work. I look forward to seeing your posts.
     
  7. shmspac

    shmspac TPF Noob!

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    Having been born and raised in America (born in the 40’s) and now living in a third world, developing country, I can understand your perspective of what the future may hold for the “Y2K” generation, on the other hand having lived in Asia for nearly ten (10) years, I can attested to the fact that new generations adapt quickly and readily accept change, whereas their parents (older generations) have far more difficulty coping with accelerated development, so I would suspect the Y2K generation has a bright future, although, they will never know or understand the tranquility enjoyed by their parents, in an environment void of technology. But then again, my parents were born at the turn of the century (1900’s) and I managed to survive the technical evolution of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s….and even with all the advancement, I can still relate to a simpler time, the time of my parents youth. We went from no TV (radio only in those days) to 2006 electronic entertainment and adapted without much difficulty. Consider that knowing the past is of great value, it’s the basis of our foundation, but the future offers limitless possibilities, especially in developing countries.

    I looked at your website and your photos, those I viewed, are really good, although I was somewhat frustrated by not knowing what photo I was on, or knowing how many remained to be viewed, and as they are large, even with a high-speed connection, they took time to load. I would suggest that you divide the photos by category, or offer thumbnails or let a viewer know where they are, i.e. photo 1 of x. Everyone likes to know where they are and where their going.
     
  8. Michaelaw

    Michaelaw TPF Noob!

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    There are some exceptional images in your portfolio...Very nice work indeed. My only complaint is that the gallery of yours I was looking at came to an end. Thanks for the link!
     
  9. MrMatthieu

    MrMatthieu TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    Don't want to read the whole discussion, too complicate for me:mrgreen:
    But your picture are really great. This is an anmazing point of view of Indian reallity, that I know quite well (for a foreigner of course!!!) as I stayed there 1 year.

    Great quality picture really.

    Matthieu
     

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