Istanbul Mark Seymour 31 of 32 Istanbul Street Photography

Istanbul Street Photography

Istanbul Street Photography

About Istanbul

Istanbul formally known as Constantinople is one of the greatest cities in the world for Istanbul street photography where you can see both a modern western city combined with traditional eastern culture, It is the only place in the world that straddles the two continents of Europe and Asia. The Grand Bazaar is the largest covered bazaar in the world with over 3000 shops

We made our base just of Istiklal street ,and whilst not the quietest location for access to Taksim square its was unbeatable as we were in the action after just a couple of minutes walk.

Istanbul is one of my favourite street photography locations in the world due to its diverse life , colourful streets and extremely friendly people.

Taksim square and Istaklal street photography are great locations, extrremley busy pretty much 24/7, have said that its quite challenging to get good street photographs unless you select a few great backgrounds and then wait for people to enter that space giving you both a good composition and a great background. I find this to be one of the toughest lessons that its better to choose a great location and wait rather than sometimes keep chasing new locations.  Taksim Square,  is really popularlocation with lots of shops, bars and restaurants.  The main avenue running through it is a pedestrian only avenue called Istikla and it's a great location for Street Photography

Over The Galata bridge  and into Eminou are both great locations for the street photographer with fishermen lined up across the bridge with their rods waiting for bites whilst Eminou a busy place with boats coming and going all dcay and evening and people going about their daily tasks giving ample opportunity for the street photographer.

Moving on to the Spice bazzar and The old bazzar, whilst still great places to capture life they tend to be similar to the Blue mosque I that they are places virtually every tourist visits whilst in Istanbul. I prefer to spend time in Balat and Eyup as they are more of the beaten track and you will see far less tourists in these areas.

Eyup has one of the oldest mosques in Istanbul and here your find life a lot slower with many traditional folk. I can quite easily spend a day here as the movement of people as prayer time approaches swells . Don’t be afraid to venture inside the mosque where although it says no photography people don’t tend to mind as long as you are respectful.

Another favourite area is Balat, totally different from other locations its where traditional meets the young and trendy with countless coffee shops and bars all independently owned and each with their own unique character. Wander the streets going into old coffee shops , people watching and older establishments with local characters playing dominoes and cards.



Please get in touch if youd like to visit and photograph  Istanbul with us with a small number of other photographers

Book a workshop


Main Portfolio


Nagaland Mark Seymour 2011 Nagaland photography course

Nagaland photography course

About Nagaland

Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders Assam to the west and north with Myanmar to the east and It's home to diverse range of indigenous tribes, with many festivals and markets celebrating the different tribes traditions and cultures.Their individual rituals, festivals and beliefs of each  tribe differentiates it from other tribes.

Nagaland is inhabited by 16 major tribes - Ao, Angami, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sumi, Chakhesang, Khiamniungan, Kachari, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam, Yimchungrü, Kuki, Zeliang and Pochury . WIth aach tribe is unique in character, dress and has its own unique distinct customs and dress although they have two main things in common which are language and religion - English is in predominant use and Nagaland is one of three states in India where the population is predominantly Methodist / Christian.

Hornbill Festival

Taking place at tyhe beginning of December each year it lasts for ten days and takes place in Kohima and takes place to protect, sustain, and promote the richness of the Naga heritage and their traditional traditions.

At the Hornbill festival, all the Naga tribes come together on various days to celebrate and display their traditions and culture and it’s a time where all the tribes gather up to show the world their age old traditions along with letting them bond and get closer to knowing each other.

The main events of the Hornbill Festival take place at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 kms from Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. Traditional Naga huts and Morungs   The festival  is scenic and mystical, and simply awesome to be a witness to.

Visiting Nagaland

Nagaland and the Konyak tribes are both not that easy to get to or find even once you are in the vicinity. Its a several day car trip from Guwahati where we start our adventure from with mini adventures along the way makiing this a truly memorable Nagaland photography course.

This year we started the trip of in a little luxury with a short stay at The Guwhati Raddison Blue Hotel and take a trip to the beautiful Kamakhya Temple where Lord Shiva's wifes body parts were dropped and is now a famous pilgrimage site in Assam. Its a great place to photograph with streams of people from first light to dusk mostling taking a pilgrimage ti visit this holy temple. Id really reccommend getting here early as the light is beautiful. You can get great images both inside the main temple although not the inner temple and the surrounding areas.

From Guwhati we took a people carrier and a five hour drive to Kazingra National Park where we stayed at the Wild Grass Lodge for a relaxing evening before taking an early start the following morning into the park for an elephant and rhino safari before making our way on a four hour car journey to Sivasagar which is again a bustling great place for street photography.

Early the next morning we entered Nagaland through its old style border crossing and made our way to Mon stopping several time on the way as we passed throug remote rural villages photographing locals stayed at the only hotel. The Hotels are a lot more basic out here but still offer comfort and great local food.

Over the next couple of days we spend all our time with a couple of tribes taking pictures of both the tribesmen and weomen along with the people in the local villages. Ive now managed to build up a great trusting relationship with these people visiting thier homes that lets us get great access to them enabling you to capture truly unique pictures and experience their lives and homes up close.

Pictures and Videos from the trip

Testimonial.. David Huggett

I have been away with Mark 4 times since meeting him 2 years ago, visiting Varanasi twice, and have learned an incredible amount about photographic principles and street photography, and indeed the whole concept of what makes a good image. He doesn’t beat around the bush, if an image is poor he will tell you so, yet then take the time to explain how a better result could have been achieved. For me, this works. If an image is good he will constructively help you to maximise its potential in post.
I have seen both amateur and professional photographers struggle to interpret the environments he has taken them to (myself included), and the revelations when Mark helps you to see what is there.
It is my opinion that attending one of his workshops will absolutely raise your photography to a higher level, as well as being an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.

I can’t recommend him enough. He runs some of the best photography courses around so take a leap of faith and sign up! You won’t ever regret it.

Book a course


Guwhati Hotels

The Guwahati Raddison Blue Hotel

Shreemoyee Inn Hotel Guwahati

The Picolo Hotel Sivisgar

Wild Grass Lodge Hotel

Kazingra Park Elephant Safari


What people say


Varanasi Mark Seymour 0001 Varanasi Street Photography Workshop

Varanasi Street Photography Workshop

Varanasi Street Photography Workshop .... A place like no other 

About Varanasi . One of the seven holy cities in India

Mark Twain famously said “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

Varanasi is truly unlike any other place in the world. One of the world’s oldest and holiest cities, you can really feel this in its atmosphere. The holy river, the ghats filled with life, the chaotic spirituality and more make this a city you can’t forget. From early morning to night, Varanasi is one magical place.

As Mark twain said everything here is full of character, feels like its been there forever andis a photographers dream as every corner you turn there are new and great photographic opportunities.

Id recommend staying at a hotel within walking distance of the main ghats so each the atmosphere in the morning can be savoured and at first light you can witness all the characters that are here on a daily basis such as seeing people bathe, street hairdressers, locals wahing laundry and clothes, kids playing with kites and cows walking around aimlessly.

Most people agree  that Varanasi is both magical and mysterious with rituals of life and death taking place in open view, whilst the sights, sounds and smells along the Ghats are something which you’ll never forget

Places we visit on a Varanasi Street Photography Workshop

The first rule of photographing Varanasi on a street photography workshop is get up early and be at your location  before first light . Its a purley magical time of day and even more so in this truly religious and cultural epicentre of India . It really is an exprience you want to live, and document as a street photographer.


Travel to the other side of the river Ganges. Take a boat across the other side, its almost like you are on another place and almost desert like in its apperance. Here you will find religious sadus and other nomads leading the most simple life. Its a must to get there before the sun rises.

Ganga Aarti Evening festival. This takes place every evening on the main Dashashwamedh ghat. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma created this ghat to welcome Lord Shiva.As a photographer id normally visit here two or three times to really document the festival well. You can both hire a boat and witness the ceremony from the river which gives you a great view and then the second evening do this from the banks capturing the key moments as you now have an idea of what is happening.

The Ghats alongside the mother Ganges river. There are over 88 seperate ghats that are mainly used for bathing. The main ceremonial ghat is the Dashashwamedh ghat The main group contains around 25 of them, and it extends from Assi Ghat north to Raj Ghat. The ghats date back to the 14th century but most were rebuilt, along with Varanasi, in the 18th century by Maratha rulers.

Its def worth taking a boat one eveing or a stroll in the day down to the burning Ghat also known as the Manikarnika Ghat where you will see piles of wood for the fires line the Ganges. The fires continuously burn with a constant stream of dead bodies wrapped in cloth and carried through the old market lanes on makeshift wooden stretchers

The Tulsi Ghat is worth a visit again one early morning to witness the Mud wrestlers. The day always starts with a short prayer session at the tiny alter inside the mud ring which are devoted to Lord Rama Many men train here under the tutelage of doyen Siyaramji. You will see them doing many exercises such as pull ups, squats whilst some will swing around a gadha expertly around their heads, lift weights before getting into the ring to wrestle.

The Old markets, that include a small intimate goat traders market in the old muslim dominated area and the vegtable and small chicken markets . This is a great walk for street phortographers starting out at The goat maket and wandering the old ancient streets and ending up at the vegtable market . After the Veg market Id normally take a Tuk Tuk to the main train station looking for the older style trains with the open bar windows with station food sellers offering their wares to passengers. The fish market is just a short walk from the main Dashashwamedh Ghat.

The Old Town Just a short walk from the main Ghats where you will find life around every corner you turn with lots of photographic opportunities from shpos, temples and local characters. Id recommend using a wider lens here as the lanes are so narrow and they are often quite crowded with no sense of order you'll see cows, rickshaws, dogs motorbikes and people all tyring to navigate the tiny streets.
The old Town is also home to several temples including the Kali temple and the Golden temple however both normally have long queue's. A couple of places worth visiting for a pit stop are the Blue lassi Shop and the Dossa Cafe right next to the Vishwanath Gali.

A great Time to Go !  Dev Deepawali

This festival is a major attraction, with the sight of millions of candle lamps lighting both the ghats and river Ganges its a breathtaking sight. Thousands of devotees from the holy city of Varanasi and surrounding villages, gather in the evening on the Dashashwamedh ghat to watch the Ganga Aarti.

The Dev Deepavali (“Festival of Lights of the Gods”) is where Kartik Poornima is celebrated in Varanasi. It always happens on the full moon of November / December fifteen days after Diwali. The steps of all the ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges River are lit with more than a million small earthen lamps and the gods are believed to descend to Earth to bathe in the Ganges on this day. .

During Dev Deepawali, houses are decorated with oil lamps and coloured designs on their front doors. Firecrackers are burnt at night, processions of decorated deities are taken out into the streets of Varanasi, and oil lamps are set afloat on the river.

The main rituals performed by devotees consist of taking a holy bath in the Ganges and offering the oil lighted lamps to mother Ganga in the evening. The Ganga aarti is also performed in the evening.

Over 100,000 pilgrims visit the riverfront to watch the river aglitter with lamps


Sarnarth is well worth a visit as its just 6 miles from Varanasi as It is one the four main holy sites of the Buddha. The other four being where Buddha was born (Lumbini), reached enlightenment (Bodhgaya), gave his first sermon (Sarnarth), and where he passed (Kushinagar). Its well worth 1/2 a day to go and experience and get some great people photographs.

You will see many Buddhists Monks from around the world practicing their various ceremonies on the lawns and around the main temple which is a giant domed shaped brick sculpture called a stupa apparently where Buddha gave his first talk.

Places Ive used

Hotel . The ganges Grand

we also ate here most evenings.. good value food



Holy Chopsticks

Great food but no Alcohol

Barbeque Nation 

Dolphin Restaurant .

Blue Lassi Shop

No website but easy to find in the old town.


Links . internal . / external

Book a Workshop with Shoot The Street

Read what others say about the courses



Kolkata . Mark Seymour 0001 Kolkata Street Photography workshop

Kolkata Street Photography workshop

Kolkata...India's cultural heart

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India's West Bengal state, originally founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals and is regarded as India’s intellectual, artistic and cultural capital.

It is one of India’s largest cities with a population of around 15m and one of India's major ports that is centred on the banks of the river Hooghly.

Kolkata... Street Photography on Steroids !

The Best Locations for a Kolkata Street Photography Workshop


This is a traditional area and one of the most fascinating areas to explore with many potters making sculptures of their god idols along with other figures for the various festivals that take place in Kolkata each year. Its an extremely busy area and worth wandering down the main street and its many ally ways especially as it gets closer to each festival with the biggest being Durga Puja . You can watch and photograph crafsmen build the goddess Kali from a straw frame and then cover them with clay  extracted from the river before ritually immersing them in the river Hooghly during the amzing Durga Puja festival every late September / early October.

College Street Book market.

One of the worlds largest book markets and a paradise for both book lovers and street photographers located in the center of Kolkatas literary crowd is a must visit location for the street photographer with rickshaws, Tuk Tuks and taxis weaving thru the narrow streets ferrying people and delivering books and stationary. You’ll discover hundreds of both old traditional book stalls along with many makeshift stalls made from bamboo and canvas.

Apart from taking some great photographs here Ive also added to my book collection on most visits here with recent purchases of books with Ragu Rai’s work.

College street is definitely the best place for street photographers to practice and hone layering.

Whilst photographing the streets take a break in the world famous Indian coffee house in College Street with its charm from a bygone era filled with college students and literary intellectuals and the odd book buying tourist.

College street doesn’t normally get going till around 11.00 am !

Sudder Street

One of my favourite areas for a Kolkata Street Photography workshop with never a dull moment with Chai tea stalls, the odd cow, countless rickshaws, old yellow ambassador taxi’s and a traditional market selling fresh goat meat, chicken and fish.

If you want a decent break from the street head over to The Elgin Fairlawn Hotel for a cup of tea and cake. It’s a place of peace and tranquillity just a few meters from the street.

Pet Market

Based in Galiff Street the market is a once a week affair every Sunday stating at around 6.00 am when traders set out their stalls . It’s a great location but get their early as by 9.00am its so busy you can hardly move due to the amount of people either coming aout as a family or bartering to buy their favourite pet. Its also worth walking over the bridge where you will see street tatooists inking locals.

Youll see a huge number of pets for sale from puppies, pigeons, parrots, hens and parakeets alongside flowers, pot plants, bird cages and street food.

Mullik Ghat , Mud wrestlers and The Flower Market

I've grouped these three locations as they virtually run into each other. Make your way to the Armenian Ferry crossing and Ghat and from there walk towards the Flower market where you can explore the Ghat and photograph locals as the wash in the river Hooley with the backdrop of the magnificant Howrah Bridge. Explore all the little avenues that run off the flower market where you will find religious temples and Sadu’s.

In the corner of the Ghat you will find mud wrestlers with them practicing twice a day but be prepared they always ask for a donation if you would like to photograph them in action.

Walking on you can explore under the road bridge where you will find more flower sellers , street barbers and fruit traders.. This is definitely a must visit.

Koley market…. Vegtable Market

Koley Market is located very near Seldah train station and is predominately a wholesale market which you must to get to by first light as by midday it’s a lot quieter . Its quite a tough place to photograph but the rewards for the patcient are worth it. The main market hall is a little on the dark side but great photographs can be had on the outer walls that are both gritty and colurful. Also take time to explore the surrounding lanes that are a little less busy and take time out for a great cup of chai tea and biscuit from one of the many local vendors as you watch and photograph the may lorries unloading their goods and being carried to market on the heads of local workers. Another one of my favourite locations but the trick here is to select your location, blend in and wait for the reactions to happen.

Dalhousie Square

Dalhousie square is one of the business areas of Kolkata and also a place for great street food. Don’t turn up till at least 12.30 am and by 2.30 its almost too busy to photograph.

Head to Dacares Lane the main foodie road with a multitude of street vendors to both have a great snack lunch with locals and to capture some great street photography in Kolkata.

 Maniktala Market

This is Kolkata’s local fish market building with a famous clocktower on one corner although once inside the building you will see a thriving market in other meat products including goat, chicken and mutton. It’s a pretty raw market and you can take some great documentary street photographs as traders sell to the public.

Why come with Shoot the street.... 

  • You'll be taken and shown the best locations in a small group
  • You'll recieve an honest critique of your work
  • You'll shoot on a one to one basis with Mark on a regular basis
  • Youll be in a small group mixing with like minded fellow photographers
  • You'll have a great adventure going to places off the beaten track
  • Your street photography techniques will improve
  • You'll gain invaluable advice and tips and on a daily basis
  • You'll be staying at local hotels sourced and used by Mark
  • It doesn't matter your level, both professional and amature photographers shoot together
  • You will come back with some amazing photographs

Take a look at some of out testimonials to hear what people say...

Where we stay and why

I was first introduced to The Excutive Suites by The Hope Foundation over seven years ago and have been staying here ever since. Its located virtually opposite the Tollygunge Golf Club and is in a safe secure area. Its not really a hotel more a homestay as Rupa and her family occupy the property with 7 bedrooms and a nice meeting area on the top floor.

I stay here not because of its location but because of the incredibly friendly service I received from Rupa and her family.

There are some great street photography locations locally with my favourite being a small market for locals selling everything from fresh meat to lovely fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. I’m reliably informed that the chef Rick Stein filmed an episode on Bengali food here !

Great places to eat

Although Kolkata is known as the Street food capital of India and we do often eat on the street I can really recommend the following places

Dollys Tea shop.. If you want a great cuppa from 1st flush darjeeling to the finest Assam or just a great cup of English breakfast tea served in a fine bone china cup all for just around 100 rupees !

Silver Screen, A great restaurant near the Tollygunge Golf Club used by many locals that apart Dalhouse Square

from serving great food has glass cabinets full of old film and cine cameras. Average price of a dish is around 300 rupees.

Barbeque Nation , Park Street

I first visited BBQ Nation in Guwhati, Assam and then Varanassi and now Kolkata. Ive never had a bad meal. Ok it’s a chain but the food is great and you can eat as much as you like for a fixed price

Mocambo Restaurant, Park Street Area

Defo my favourite restaurant in Kolkata with a great atmosphere and nice leather chairs.

Every time I’ve been here I have the Chateaubriand and a Carlsberg smooth beer . Considering how lovely the place is the meals are around  300 rupees with the chateaubriand being just 450 rupees.

Kusum Rolls

Located near the Park Hotel in Park Street this is a great place to grab a spot of lunch. Made fresh in front of you as you wait they do both meat and vegetarian but my personal fav is the chicken Kathi Roll. A great lunch that will fill you up for under 100 rupees.

Dalhousie Square

Dalhousie square is one of the business areas of Kolkata and also a place for great street food. Don’t turn up till at least 12.30 am and by 2.30 its almost too busy to move. Dacares square is Kolkatas foodie area with many local business people choosing hear to take lunch on the street

Getting Around Kolkata

Trams , The Metro, Yellow Cabs and Uber.. def worth downloading the Uber App as the cabs are so cheap compared to Europe and the app will take you door to door.

Festivals in Kolkata .. The Best Times to Visit

  • Saraswati Puja (Between late January and early February )
  • Dol Purnima (March)
  • Poila Baisakh (April)
  • Nabo barsho (Mid of April)
  • Rathyatra (Late June or early July)
  • Durga Puja (September – October)
  • Laxmi Puja (October Every Year)
  • Kali Puja (October-November, 2 weeks after Laxmi Puja)
  • Bhai Phota (October, 2 days after the celebration of Kali puja)

Kolkata Photography Book.. coming soon…. Are you interested ? let me know and Ill add you as one of the first to be told.

BOOK your workshop here 


Photographs.. main Kolkata portfolio

National Geographic shoot in Kolkata

Kolkata Testimonials with Mark Seymour


Book a workshop

Hanoi Street Photography Mark Seymour 0028 Hanoi Street Photography

Hanoi Street Photography

Hanoi Street Photography

Ive recently returned from the street photographers paradise that is Hanoi with five students who came on my course covering street Photography in Hanoi.

We stayed at the ideally situated Tu Linh Legend Hotel located in the Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi which is ideal for walking to all the best locations for great street photography.

Flying into Hanoi airport you can get virtually all your essentials sorted out as you walk through customs such as your local currency, mobile phone card and book a local taxi to take you your hotel.

Some of the Best Locations for Hanoi Street Photography

Id recommend the following locations all within walking distance of the Tu Linh Hotel

  • Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Hanoi Street Train
  • Quan Thanh Temple
  • Yen Phu market
  • Lenin Park
  • Quoc Tu Giam Park
  • Long Bien market
  • Vietnam Military Museum
  • The Old Quater
  • Hang Bac
  • Temple of Literature
  • Dong Xuan Market
  • Chau Long market
  • Temple of the Jade Mountain
  • Tran Quac Pagoda
  • Ly Thai To Park
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum area
  • Quang Ba Flower Market
  • The French Quarter
  • Ba Da Pagoda

My Personal Favourites to visit for Street photography in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake 

You can pretty much walk around the lake 24 hours a day and you'll always find great activity. The Vietnamese people love to socialise and exercise and you will stumble across these at various times. There is one area early evening around the lake that many people gather to exercise which make great photographs. Try and make some unusual compositions and layered images as they go about their daily routines.

At weekends you will also see many couples having their wedding photographs taken around the lake with the temple of the jade mountain in the background. Ive photographed this many times but always try and make them a little unusual rather than just taking another pic of a stationary bride and groom.

You'll also see people just walking and talking , having their portrait painted, playing games and taking mini exercise classes which all make for great photographs taken from varying different angles.

As dusk arrives the bridge across the river is lit in a traditional bright red.

Tran Quac Pagoda

Its a little walk from the Lake but well worth it as Ive always seemed to strike lucky here but its a waiting game. A beautiful temple that you must take of your shoes to enter with amazing light streaming in , its a regular place formany both locals and visitors to go to and say their prayers. Put the camera on silent with a wide angle lens and wait for those perfect moments to open up in front of you.

Chang Long market

A great favourite, arrive mid morning to find all the market traders setting up, the small shops opening and people sitting around eating on mini seat. Just wander around with your 35mm lens and be ready to take pictures in all directions. I personally like to find little areas where there is a pool of people and then wait around until I see formations occuring that are pleasing to the eye. Quite often Ill find a street coffe shop nad buy a coffe and just sit and observe and thus becoming a part of the scene I want to photograph.

The Old Quarter

Another favourite is the Old Quarter with small old traditional shops with great characters going about their daily business, its a dream for street photographers .Just wander around and see hwere it takes you as every street and every corner there is something there to be photographed

Quac Tu Giam Park

In Quac Tu Giam Park you'll find people just sitting on benches playing draughts, chess and othe local games. Ive found the best way to photograph these people is to smile say hello and then just watch for a while whilst they become comfortable with you before you start taking photographs. Ive found if you go straight in you will be hit with please go away and no photographs please as they gamble on the throw of the dice. So be friendly and wait and you will be rewarded.

Just a short walk from the park is the Vietnam Military Museum thats well worth wandering around .



A few great places to eat in Hanoi

Cai Mam Restaurant .. Traditional Vietnamese Food

Highway 4 Restaurant 

Luc Thuy Restaurant

Grandmas Restaurant ( a real favourite )

Beer Corner is well worth a visit in the evening, It gets real busy and is a hub of beer stations and small restaurants. It can also be a great place for some twighlight photography.


Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is strong and powerful . French colonists introduced coffee to Vietnam, and nowthe morning cup of ca phe has become a local habit. With many variations Vietnamese coffee has developed a style of its own. Some of the local favoutrites are Egg coffee, Yoghurt coffee and Coffee smoothie, Try as much as you can on your trip to Hanoi

A few Great Coffee Shops

  • The Coffee House   Ha Ba Trung
  • Cong Caphe  ( Go upstairs on the terrace )
  • Giang Cafe
  • T-Coffee
  • Hanoi terrace cafe
  • I'mpresso coffe  ( owned by a local street Photographer ! )


What Photographers say after being on a Hanoi Street Photography course

Having visited Kolkata with Mark on a previous course I wanted my photography to go a stage further and get more confidence with ny street photography. The course delivered on all aspects and I honestly cant think of any way Mark can make this course any better. I can highly recommend attending one of Marks courses abroad.   Jim Morgan

Iwas interested in visiting Hanoi with a professional photographer to try and take my photography to another level. Mark always gave great encouragement, support and has an excellent local knowledge of the best locations and when to go to them. Mark has really helped me embrace street photography setting me challenges and giving great instruction. I honestly dont think I could have produced so many images that Im proud of without Mark.. He certainly made the difference !  Rik Grant


If you would like more information on courses I run both in Hanoi and the rest of the world please get in touch

I look forward to hearing from you



Further pics on Hanoi


MCCULLIN 0055 Don McCULLIN Exhibition Review

Don McCULLIN Exhibition Review

Don McCullin Exhibition at The Tate Modern, London


QUOTE from Don McCullin

"I started out in photography accidentally. A policeman came to a stop at the end of my street and a guy knifed him. Thats how I became a photographer. I photographed the gangs that I went to school with. I didnt choose photography, it seemed to choose me, but I've been loyal by risking my life for fifty years "

I'd been desperate to get to this exhibition to see McCullins great, iconic and gritty black & white images from his time as one of our best war, documentary and humanitarian photographers.

The exhibition exceeded all my expectations with 250 beautifully presented images in several halls, all printed by himself along with a short video presentation it covers his full career. I'd definitley recommend going.

Although I loved the whole exhibition I just wanted to talk about a handful of images that stand out for me personally and why they resonate with me and the style of photography that I so enjoy

Print 1 Vietnam

Without doubt one of my favourite images and I totally understand why this is the headline image for the exhibition.

It's a great storytelling documentary image, it may even be set up but who cares as it totally tells a story of a young soldier looking out of an apartment window perhaps thinking of his own family and homeland. What makes the picture great and takes it to the higest level is the vietnamese couple framed on the floor probably in their own appartment looking into the place they once hapilly lived.

I love the simplicity of the image, the powerful storytelling and the framing.

Print 2 The soldiers Foot

A great three layered photographers picture, probably taken on his rollicord camera due to the square crop. This type of camera has allowed the photograher to hold the camera low to get a great perspective with forground interest, a secondary layer of the soldier and the third layer showing daily life still going on.

Print 3 Northern Ireland

This is without doubt my favourite image and one that Id buy for myself. I love the composition and the fact that he's in close with the action. I love it because its storytlling, , all the spaces are filled and all the heads are in their own spaces . I think what elevates the picture is the young lad hanging and just about to jump filling the sapce between the two groups of three boys.

Images from around the exhibition

QUOTE from Don McCullin

"When I realised I had been given the go-ahead to photograph, I started composing my picturesin a very dignified way. It was the first time I had pictured somethingof this immense signigicance and I felt as if I had a canvas in front of me and I was, stroke by stroke, applying the compositionto a story that was telling itself. I was I realised later, trying to photograph in a way that Goya painted or did his war sketches".


QUOTE from Don McCullin

"I dont believe you can see whats beyond the edge unless you put your head over it; I've many times been right up to the precipice, not even a foot or an inch away. Thats the only place to be if your going to see and show what sufffering really means "


QUOTE from Don McCullin

 " The photograpic equipment I take on an assignmentis my head and my eyes and my heart. I could take the poorest equipment and I would still take the same photographs. They might not be as sharp, but they would certainly say the same thing "


To see or find out about the exhibition

Kolkata Travel Photography 97 Hope Foundation Photography Workshop

Hope Foundation Photography Workshop

Hope Foundation photography workshop

I am very proud of my work with Hope, and every year return to Kolkata to lead a Hope Foundation photography workshop. Included in the course fee is a donation to The Hope Foundation, and as part of the course we visit some of the inspirational work that Hope do as well as visiting some of the areas of deprivation in the city where Hope target their support; like the railway community.

We explore the city documenting life in Kolkata, and visit the Flower Market along the Hooghly River, the book markets of College Street and the bustling markets that are the life centre of one of India’s most populated cities.

Although the focus of the Hope Foundation photography workshop, is to develop your skills as a documentary street photographer, recognising the work that Hope do is an important element to the photographers that join me on this particular course. In the evening two photographers go out with the Hope team to take support and help out to those living on the streets. We visit the Hope hospital and meet some of the staff who work so hard there. As part of my yearly visit I photograph the children for their special Hope Christmas card and this means we have chance to visit the girls home and nursery school. We go to the Hope café for lunch which is always a feast, and visit the workshops upstairs where Hope provide vocational courses such as hair and beauty, IT and dress making.

November marks the anniversary of The Hope Foundation in Kolkata and we are lucky enough to be invited to the special fund raising event at the Tolly Golf Club. If we are really lucky our trip coincides with the wonderful Maureen Forrest, founder of Hope and we have chance to meet up with her too.

Hope welcome donations and encourage you to become a sponsor of one of their children if you are interested follow the link and help Hope changed another child’s life, thank you.

Read more about documentary street photography in Kolkata


Vietnam Travel Photography 21 Travel Photography Tips

Travel Photography Tips

Travel Photography Tips

These are all of the things that I do prior and once travelling, but Id say the most important is preparation before you go

1  Thorough preparation do your homework and lots of detailed research is the first step and vitally important to ensure you get the most from your planned trip

2  Speak to locals, it gets you in places you wouldn’t have dreamt of and opens up many doors

3  Travel light, all my images were taken on a single camera with just a 35mm lens. Probably the greatest lens for the street and with a prime you just get to know the lens and its capabilities inside out. The only other stuff I take out is a small bottle of water and a spare battery, load up the camera with 128g cards and you’ll be great for the day, oh and get yourself a comfy pair of shoes or sandals if your visiting lots of temples. My fav trainers are made by Merrill and probably the comfiest sandals are a pair of Birkenstock Arizona’s

4  Stay with the moment and shoot through capturing the reactions, not just the action. My biggest lesson came a few years ago when travelling with a guy that could barely walk. He stayed in one chosen location for several hours at a time but boy at the end of the day did he have some cracking images.

TOP Travel Photography tips

5 L earn to use Google maps and build up a history of where you’ve been, what look like great places when you're engaging with others and from your research

6  Learn a few basic words in the native language. A simple Hello or thank you with a smile both buys you many brownie points and opens up new doors with locals.

7  Shoot had and Edit hard and then just show your best

8  Vary your shots. Everything gets boring if all your images are taken from the same viewpoint, take your safety shot then ask yourself how I can take this better

9  Get up early, the light is beautiful, rest in the middle of the day if you need and then shoot thru sunset and the golden hour for the best pictures

10  Go with a group and critique each other’s work daily we all love a pat on the back and lots of likes but the best way to improve is constructive feedback amongst each other.


Here what people say about a Street Photography course with Mark Seymour

Sign up to my newsletter to find all about the up and coming trips to India, Myanmar, Nagaland, Vietnam and Istanbul and get more Travel photography tips in the future

Kolkata Street Photography 130 Kolkata train Shot

Kolkata train Shot

How I took this Shot


Click on the video link below to hear and see my thought process as the scene develops and I get this four layered shot


People often ask what my thought process is when I see an opportunity or when Im working a scene or even how you see a layered shot. Here I share my thoughts as I photograph down on the railway track and take you through my thoughts as I photograph a scene and adapt to get a great multi-layered image.


I took inspiration from the Magnum photography book called Contac Sheets

Kolkata 2018 059 1 National Geographic Photographer

National Geographic Photographer

Special assignment by Mark Seymour on Kolkata

How the project came about

Becoming a Nikon Ambassador has certainly opened many amazing doors for me but non greater than being given an opportunity to have my work published as a National Geographic Photographer in this iconic magazine that we all see in many receptions around the world.

Three years ago Nikon approached me and asked as part of my street and travel photography courses could I do a presentation at the National Geographic Traveller show in London giving a talk on how to get into travel photography, how to prepare your trip and what to do once you are there along with talking about various techniques to make your images varied and more interesting.

Lady Luck

As they say luck always plays a huge part and today was one of those special days ! The co-ordinator from National Geographic that was going to be present during my talk turned out to be the key person within the organisation when I found out after asking 'So who is responsible for the allocation of photographic projects within the magazine'  .... to which I received the reply... 'Its me' I was kinda knocked of my feet and immediately knew that this was one of those opportunities that when presented you grasp with both hands!

The room was packed with over 150 paying photographers wanting to hear how I had managed to make this my career and to develop themselves into this genre of travel and documentary photography. The rest as they say is history with a meeting quickly set up at their London publication office to discuss shooting a furture project and for me to present my portfolio of street photography from around the world. My work was highly praised by the picture editor but with the caveat that although the imagery is more than good enough there is not enough detail and scene setting pictures to make a great magazine article.

We'll be in touch

Some fifteen months later and several meetings I finally received that call asking if I could shoot a seven page feature for April's issue on Kolkata, as a National Geographic Photographer, a place I knew extremley well.

The brief came through with a journalist assigned to me to word the article along with some must have shots , some ideas but overall to give me artistic licence to shoot my style of images.

The Shoot

November came and I was fortunate to tag the National Geographic shoot onto the end of one of the street and travel photography courses I was holding for Nikon Uk in Kolkata that I have now been holding for five years. Included in the final images given to the magazine to select from I included many of my favourite photographs of street scenes in Kolkata along with images specifically photographed for the commission of some of the iconic buildings and locations along with small details that people would encounter on their personal travels when the visit Kolkata.

The seven page featured in National Geographic Magazine


Would you like to travel with Mark Seymour to Kolkata.. check out his courses here


See more work in Kolkata here