Don McCULLIN Exhibition Review 1

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

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/don-mccullin


Hope Foundation Photography Workshop 2

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. https://www.thehopefoundation.org.uk/

Read more about documentary street photography in Kolkata https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/documentary-photography/photography-training-kolkata/

 


Travel Photography Tips 3

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 Learn 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.

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


National Geographic Photographer 4

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 https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/documentary-photography/photography-training-kolkata/

 

 

 

 


An Indian Adventure 5

An Indian Adventure

Street and Travel photography from Nagaland, Varanasi and Kolkata

Top tips for street and travel photography

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.

5 Learn 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 har 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.

An Indian Adventure

Started at the beginning of November flying into Guwahati airport we spent a couple of days at the world-renowned Kamakhya temple where thousands of people queued each day to pay their respects to the mother goddess Kamakhya.

Early afternoon we started the long drive towards Nagaland stopping off for a night in the Kaziranga national park for a mini safari on elephant back before going on to Sivisgar where we photographed the Mayamara people in their small remote village.

Next day we continued on our adventure to Nagaland, you definitely needed a fixer here as even getting across the border was problematic, but once thru we took the extremely bumpy roads towards Mon to visit the Konyak tribesmen. WOW . is all I can say, just to sit with these guys was incredible and then to spend most of the day in their remote village was a true experience.

The following day we travelled further up the mountain to Longhwra reaching a height of nearly 2000m above sea level this was truly remote. We were greeted by the locals and stayed over in the only guest house there. To call it a hotel would be pushing it with no heating and no running water and being so high the temperature was extremely cold. One of the few nights I struggled sleeping with two thick blankets and all my clothes on I still shivered thru the night.

The next morning as the sun rose we were taken to the Longwa tribe and the chief’s house. Well, I thought yesterday was amazing, but this was a new level …. Incredible! The Longwa tribe invited us into the chief’s house where we drank incredibly strong coffee and took photos whilst they smoked and chanted. The rest of the day was spent photographing them individually in their environment and the other local people.

We finally returned to the temple at Kamakhya before flying into a very different world of the religious, busy and extremely vibrant Varanasi spending much time down at the Ghats and walking the narrow lanes of the old town.

After a week in Varanasi I headed to Kolkata for two weeks , the first week being a training course where I was met by five fellow photographers all waiting to explore the city and photograph its people as they went about their daily life whilst the second week was devoted to my contract with National Geographic Traveller to produce a four-page spread about the city for publication later this year.

 

Why not join us later this year when we plan to visit Istanbul, Vietnam, Kolkata, Cuba and Nagaland, Sign up here to find out first or just give me a call on 07786 377197

Images were taken by attendees

A short slideshow of some of my favourite images from the trip

Please leave a a comment below.. Thankyou

An Indian Adventure 2018 from Mark Seymour on Vimeo.


Trapani street photography 2018 6

Trapani street photography 2018

Trapani Street Photography 2018

Every year we take a group of photographers to Sicily for Easter, for a documentary workshop; here is a slideshow of our Trapani Street Photography 2018.

Misteri Di Trapani

Misteri Di Trapani is one of the oldest Easter celebrations and is a procession of twenty ornately carved floats carried through the street over 24 hours from Good Friday into Saturday morning.

Documenting the procession

I edit the images in black and white using DXO B & W software to reflect the solemnity of the procession alongside the music played by each band that accompanies each float.

This is an incredible experience and we are able to be inside the church and get up close to the action to document with our photography press passes.

Read the blog from this year's workshop here 

Inspired to photograph Misteri Di Trapani in 2019? Get in touch if you would like to book on Street Photography Trapani 2019

All of the images were taken using the diminutive 35mm 2.8 Zeiss lens along with the 18 and 25mm Zeiss Batis lenses.

https://www.zeiss.co.uk/camera-lenses/photography/products/batis-lenses/batis-2818.html

https://www.zeiss.co.uk/camera-lenses/photography.html


Easter photography workshop Trapani 7

Easter photography workshop Trapani

Easter photography workshop Trapani, 2018

There are many Easter celebrations that capture the imagination of photographers around the world, and none more so for me than the Misteri di Trapani which is where I take a group of photographers on my Easter photography workshop Trapani.

Trapani, Sicily:

Trapani is the capital of the Province of Trapani on the west coast of Sicily. Travel takes about twenty minutes from the local airport Trapani, reached via a short flight from Milan Linate, or about an hour drive from the Palermo airport which can be reached directly from most UK airports. With warm sunshine the pastel hues of the baroque buildings look beautiful and there are many interesting sights locally such as the famous Marsala region. Reaching out into the Mediterranean Sea, walk along the coastline and visit the busy port. Look out for the local coral jewellery and pottery shops and of course enjoy the amazing local wine and seafood in the many cafes and restaurants. It’s worth taking a cable car ride up Mount Erice on one day. The old train station, early morning fish market and the salt pans and windmills are also of interest to the travel photographer.

 

We stayed in the modern Hotel Vittoria, within a fifteen-minute walk of the old town and the heart of the procession. As a group I always ensure we have dinner one night at one of the most famous pizzeria restaurants in Sicily, Calvino, established in 1946, proper stone baked base, oozing with Gorgonzola and spicy salami perfect with an Italian beer.

Trapani Easter Festival:

The Processione dei Misteri di Trapani, dates back to the sixteenth century and is the culmination of Holy Week, retelling the passions and death of Christ. Twenty elaborately carved wooden floats are carried through the streets of Trapani before returning to the church the following morning. Each float is the responsibility of one of the Guilds of Trapani including; fishermen, bakers, carpenters, and pasta makers. Each float is incredibly heavy and takes twenty men to carry and is accompanied by a band. The effort of the procession is to reflect the suffering endured by Christ.

 

Workshop:

The procession lasts around twenty-four hours, and this photography workshop Trapani, is a full-on experience over three days, so bring your camera, walking boots, and stamina!

The photography workshop Trapani starts on Holy Thursday at the hotel and we talk about how best to document the procession to capture the story of the event. We photograph the Guild’s and their families as they prepare the floats in the church, Chiesa del Purgatorio, adorning the carved figures with candles, flowers and silver. In the church we met with photographer Ernesto Bazan with his workshop group. Thursday is also an opportunity to walk some of the streets so that everyone can familiarise themselves with the route.

 

The many churches in Trapani hold services that start with the traditional washing of the feet. It is worth visiting the Cattedrale San Lorenzo, with many historic paintings including its own Caravaggio on the wall.

 

Thanks to a local photographer and a friend in the Carabinieri, we are very honoured to have fotografo and stampa passes which allow us in the church on Good Friday and allow us to walk alongside the floats as the process through the streets. This means we can really get up close to the action for our photography workshop Trapani.

We return to the church at about 11 am on Good Friday and it is even busier with the floats receiving their final touches and those who would be carrying and escorting the floats in the church. The crowds take to line the streets and the doors to the church are closed during the last hour of preparations.

 

The procession begins at two o'clock outside with prayers before the church door is hit with the palm of the hand three times. Inside, two men are lifted up to unlock and open the door to cheers, and the loud clapping sound of the wooden clackers. As the doors open the first band is in position playing, the attendants walk out then the first float.

 

The bands play a solemn piece that creates a wall of sound in the narrow streets. The musicians and those walking ahead of each float repeat a rocking step which has a hypnotic rhythm and keeps the procession slowly walking through the streets as each band and float join in turn.

 

We remain within the church for the first few floats then make out way outside to photograph the floats as they make their way through the door and turn to take their place in the procession. We continue to photograph along the route before taking a well-earned break for dinner and rest.

 

The crowds are waiting for the float of the Madonna and by the time we re-join the procession, it is dark. The Madonna is positioned to look into either side of the street as they make their way slowly along the route, the priests praying and rose petals are cascaded from the balconies overhead.

 

In the narrow streets, the floats take on an atmospheric quality with the candle lights and shadows being cast upwards on the buildings.

 

The procession continues through the night, although the bands stop playing at midnight. We return to the hotel to sleep before going out early on Saturday morning to document the floats as they make their way back to the church.

 

The atmosphere is emotionally intense, there were smiles and hugs as people greet each other, but for many, the overwhelming responsibility of the procession brings moments of quiet reflection and tears. It is really important to steal your own emotions from the situation and record what you see, but it is not easy.

 

The photography workshop Trapani, is not just about being out on the streets photographing the procession, in the afternoon is spent editing our images; I took around 3000 over the three days; top tip 1 when you are going out to photograph an event like this you must take extra charged batteries and spare memory cards with you. The aim is to get 10-20 images that tell the story of Misteri di Trapani.

 

For me I edit my Trapani images in black and white as I feel is reflects the solemnity and emotions of the procession.  I recommend photo mechanic for quick importing and identifying your best photographs, and then photoshop and silver efex for processing your images into high contrasting black and white images. Ultimately the images can then be put into a slideshow presentation accompanied by some of the procession music; top tip 2 taking all your photographs landscape will create a more professional looking slideshow.

 

After dinner, we have an open critique of the photographer's work and complete this on the Sunday morning after breakfast. The critique is a very important part of the photography workshop Trapani, as everyone has the chance to share their images and learn from each other.

 

What do you need to get great documentary photography?

All the photographs I shot during the workshop were taken using the phenomenal Zeiss lenses 35mm F28, 18mm and 25mm Batis lens

For more information about the individual lenses visit the Zeiss website here

 

Workshops around the world;

Have you been inspired to join me on a photography workshop? We have many courses booking to develop your documentary photography through experiencing the real life of a county and it's people, and of course, you can book for Easter 2019.

Here's a taster of one of our  photography workshops  in Jodhpur, India.

 


Myanmar Photography Workshop 2018

Myanmar Photography Workshop 2018

Myanmar Photography Workshop 

This February I took a group of photographers on a Myanmar photography workshop, with Nikon School UK. The group included professional working photographers and keen amateurs, but everyone had a passion for photography and was ready for an adventure.

We all flew into Yangon (Rangoon), with an opportunity to photograph the street life of the capital city, before taking an internal flight on an old prop-plane down to Myeik in southern Myanmar and spending the next 14 days working our way back photographing the villages and local life of Dawei, Ye and Mawlamyine, before returning to Yangon and then home.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has only become open to Western tourists in the last few years, so it is still pretty unexplored and a great source for observational documentary street and travel photography.

My workshops are a total immersion experience, we stay, travel and eat alongside the locals, and spend every day exploring the streets, markets and temples, photographing, with the evenings reviewing and editing our images and talking all things photography.

Highlights of Myanmar

Some of the highlights of Myanmar photography workshop,  include the fishing harbours, where you will photograph the workers shifting huge blocks of ice to be chipped for storing the fish as it’s transported around Myanmar, and the abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat being sold in the marketplaces. Myanmar has been in the news recently regarding the religious conflicts, the country remains predominantly Buddhist, and there are many monasteries and temples to visit.

In Yangon, we took a water taxi across the river to photograph at sunset, and spent a night in 19th Street in China Town. In Myeik we took a boat across to the island to photograph the famous reclining Buddha and local monastery. Travelling by minibus to Dawei we photographed basic roads being constructed by human labour, a hot and arduous occupation by both women and men. We also go to take a little time out to enjoy some time at the unspoiled beach of Dawei.  We took traditional boats along the River Ye to a rural village, and we even waded out into the water to photograph the local fishermen up close. In Mawlamyine, we took some interesting photographs of the traditional pancake/wraps being made on a blazing hot plate by hand.

The people are incredibly welcoming and you will find yourself being invited into temples, shops, and homes to photograph everyday life. One thing you will notice is the makeup/sunscreen that the women and children apply to their faces in broad stripes, thanakha, made from ground bark and water.

Documentary photography in Myanmar

Myanmar photography workshop enables me to develop some of the key documentary techniques with the photographers on the course; environmental portraiture, making the most of natural light to add dimension and texture, as well as lighting the focal point/subject, composition including photographing landscape and using thirds, separation and heads in spaces, layering, consistency, and the most important skill for getting great documentary photography on the streets, staying with the moment. By the end of the workshop, everyone was able to reflect on their individual experience of Myanmar through their images, making connections with the people and daily lives in contrast to their own.

Want to join us?

If you are interested in joining me on a photographic workshop adventure there are lots of courses available to book on the Nikon School UK website and contact me directly for more information. In 2018 we are travelling to Sicily, India: Pushkar, Varanasi, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Sonepur, and Vietnam's capital Hanoi.

Read about Jodhpur photography workshop 2017 https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/documentary-photography/photography-workshop-training-jodhpur/

find out and book on a street photography course with Nikon School UK https://nikonschool.co.uk/courses/street-photography

Myanmar photography workshop

 

TESTIMONIALS from the Trip

Mark Ashworth

I had an amazing experience in Myanmar 2018 with Mark Seymour on the street photography workshop.  I have been a professional photographer for over 20 years mainly in social photography which a bias towards studio work.  I wanted to challenge myself and take images for personal development.  Mark’s enthusiasm, energy and attitude helped me to understand that the barriers photographers have which this genre are often only in themselves.  If you approach things with the right mindset and put your fears to one side, you can and do achieve amazing results.  Its fairly easy knowing how to take great images, but if you put yourself where others wouldn’t your images will be even better.  I have learnt so much from this course, and much of it being about taking a new approach, having the right attitude and staying with scenes long enough to develop into stunning street images.

David Huggett

I first saw this course advertised online and was really tempted to sign up.  However, I do have a few reasonably significant disabilities which restrict my levels of physical activity and the last thing I wanted to be was in the way or a burden on the group.  To this end, I rang Mark and discussed things with him.  He put all my fears to rest, discussing the itinerary, its flexibility and what was required from participants.  After putting the phone down I booked my place.
On arriving in Myanmar I found myself in a group of amazing people, whose ability covered a whole spectrum of photographic levels.  The atmosphere was excellent and I did not hear one negative word the entire trip.  We kept alternating the smaller groups we worked in, and everyone was happy working with and helping everyone else.
The list of what I learned is long.  Very long.  It encompasses the technical use of camera systems, photographic composition, interacting with and directing subjects, finding the moment and seeing the light. I also learned significantly more about myself and my enjoyment of different types of photography.
It was a privilege to attend Mark’s course and to meet the other people on it, the group of us now being good friends with a collective experience that will stay with us for life.
I fully intend do attend more of Mark’s courses.  I highly recommend them and look forward to meeting new friends there in the future.
Keith Owen
Fantastic!
What a fantastic opportunity to visit a fascinating country, and learn from street photographer Mark Seymour, one of the best in the business! Mark had scouted many locations beforehand, so we were able to get a flying start, immersed in the rich and vibrant sights of Myanmar from dawn until dusk. With a small group of just 7 (including Mark), the workshop provided excellent group and 1-on-1 tuition time, as well as enjoyable discussions and reviews over dinner in the evenings. Thoroughly recommended if you want to improve your street photography skills!
Andy Mac

"Having been on a number of Mark Seymour's photography workshops abroad I am always so brilliantly surprised by how much more there is to learn, how much more fun we seem to have on each adventure and how much better my photography becomes as well as the level of confidence in photographic travel that I seem to build.

The photography course in Myanmar was an adventure through a country where quite often, I felt like the first Western-looking person that many locals may have seen with their own eyes.  The hustle and bustle of the markets, the smiles and kindness of local people, a truly different way of life that is rarely documented in the West, really makes for a life-long memory with an abundance of great pictures to hang on my wall.

More than this, however, is the great company that Mark provides - the course is made special by his personality, his humour, his down-to-earth approach, his friendly humility and the teachings of all things photography when out shooting in the day as well as back in the hotel in the evening - going through images and critiquing how we could each improve the next day.

Highly highly recommended"

 

Want to find out about more of my courses.... just fill in the contact form and you'll be amongst the first to know https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/contact or visit https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/street-photography/street-photography-in-myanmar/ 

 


Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur 8

Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur

Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur, India - The Blue City of India's Rajasthan

Jodhpur, the famous blue walled city of Rajhastan, captures the romantic traditional vision of India with its intense colour and scents and is an incredible source for dramatic and dynamic photography for my Indian photography workshop.

Based at The Kings Retreat, at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort, we explore the old city and the wider villages of the Thar Desert and Rajhasthan, with a mixture of documentary street photography and travel photography.

The Clock Tower, Ghanta Ghar, is the central point for our street photography of the Sardar market and bustling narrow lanes of the surrounding bizarre. Also home to the famous Shahi Samosa and the Makhaniya lassi, favourites for our lunch whilst photographing! The busy markets are a great source of inspiration for storytelling images; it’s really important to look for heads in spaces to compose the best image possible. Developing your photographer’s eye is key here, and look for the unusual in the usual.

The Blue City was made famous by Steve McCurry, and we spend time capturing environmental portraits of the Babas with the background of the narrow blue streets, stepwells and temples of Mandore Gardens. Working with the Baba’s we focus on developing posing in portraiture skills and the importance of communication with your subject.

We spend a day visiting the Bishnoi tribes in their homes and get to take part with a Ramu holding a traditional Kal ceremony. We visit the famous clay potters who still use a stone wheel and make the spherical water pots which naturally filter the water and keep it cool, and a weavers homestay, that continues the tradition on making hand-woven durry carpets. A local family make us a traditional Rajasthani lunch based on millet. This trip is about experiencing India as well as providing a range of different photographic opportunities.

We take a drive out for an overnight stay at The Country Retreat Farmstay, which feels likes a tranquil oasis of rural India compared to the busy tuk tuk filled roads left behind in Jodhpur, with an incredible meal prepared on the rooftop and a night sleeping under the stars.

This is where we explore some travel photography, capturing the dramatic red of the Reika tribemans’ turbans against the dusk sky. We visit the Reika tribes in their homes the next day and a settled Yogi, nomadic gypsy, village for real-life portraiture. The focus of these portraits is to capture the story of these individuals, their life, what is important to them, where they live and work.

Next year we are planning to extend our stay at the farm so that we can spend time walking with the Reika herdsmen and following their daily lives in their homes.

We visit a Government village school who I have developed a relationship with to support with equipment and resources – the wonderful thing is they know that I visit every year and the teachers report much higher attendance as a result.

You might be aware that the Hindu faith has 33 million Gods, but you may be surprised to know that one of the more recent deities, is the Motorbike God Om Banna, based on the story of a young man that had an accident in his Royal Enfield motorcycle. He site has grown over the last few years of visiting, and now there is a shrine around the bike which visitors come to daily to show their respect, even pouring over bottles of whiskey, stalls and a hotel. It makes the perfect half way stop on our journey.

This year I was in Jodhpur early enough to spend Diwali with our wonderful host and owner of the Kings Retreat, Vishal Bali and his family. He also invited us to a traditional wedding celebration.

As I am always looking for ways to develop my workshops I hired a driver for a couple of days and explored the famous Pushkar, which was every bit the experience I had imagined it would be, so much so that next year’s Jodhpur photography workshop will include an overnight stay in Vishal’s traditional farm and an opportunity to photograph the camel fair.

 

More Info on Nikon Documentary & Street Photography Workshops

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Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India 9

Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India

Photography Training Workshop in Kolkata, India

 

Every year I visit India to lead a series of photography training workshops, read this and join me next year!

Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, is the third most populated city in India, with an urban population 14.3 million, and believe me, you absolutely feel it! A city of diverse lifestyles, being the principal commercial city with modern tower-blocks, hotels and businesses, alongside some of the oldest and most extensive areas of homelessness and communities that have built their homes in temporary shacks alongside the city’s canals and railway lines.

Kolkata takes documentary street photography to another level; as a photographer, you can become overwhelmed by the intensity of the daily life that you see as you walk around, so during my photography training workshop I focus on key aspects and choose locations to develop these skills with my photographers.

Markets are the life-centres of Kolkata and we take early morning visits to two of the largest and busiest fish and vegetable markets near the Sealdah Station area of the city. We also visit the local market within walking distance of the hotel at different times of the day, which gives us opportunities to revisit and consider what we are going to focus on photographing. Getting your exposure right is key and using back button focus means you can concentrate on getting great shots of the action, and work the scene moving slightly to micro-compose what you see in the camera frame.

The Malki Ghat, flower market, that runs along the Hooghly River and ends beneath the Howrah Bridge, is the home to some of my favourite Indian portfolio. Not only are there many stalls selling flowers, petal, garlands and arrangements for the hotels, businesses and temples, but you will see the daily life of the locals washing their clothes and cooking implements, bathing and washing their teeth in the river, alongside rituals and ceremonies in the water that is considered holy as the river forms a distributary of The Ganges. There is also a temple with a collection of shrines, and large cauldrons on open fires preparing simple vegetarian food for those who need it. So many people all immersed in their daily lives, you can capture really candid shots un-noticed – just remember to get up close, look for noses and random dogs!

College Street is lined with tiny stalls all specialising in different educational books, from accountancy to chemistry and beyond. With a busy road of tuk tuks, students rushing to lessons, hand-pulled rickshaws and over-laden carts. We go upstairs to the Indian Coffee House, not a high-street brand name, but a traditional place to meet, eat and drink chai, dating back to the eighteen hundreds. I love this location for capturing layered shots, get yourself into the right position and then wait and keep shooting so you don’t miss out on the ‘wow’ moment by checking the back of your camera or walking away.

We spend a day in the pottery quarter, Kumortuli, where the incredible sculptures of straw and clay are created for the various festivals. The craftsmanship is fascinating and great for some close-up images of hands. You will also the last of the traditional chai cups being made, as most of India now use branded paper cups to sell this aromatic sweet tea, and cotton mills with vast spindles of yarn being spun. Walking into the quarter amongst the locals you can capture everyday life, women hanging out their saris to dry, children playing, washing along the river, and squeezed between the homes small stall holders and businesses; paper-makers, laundry, and a dentist that is not exactly your NHS clinic.

With the Hope Foundation, we visit the railway community, daily life literary alongside the tracks with trains passing children playing, women cooking and washing laid out across the tracks held in place with stones. Using a slow shutter speed enables you to capture the action frozen still in the foreground central to the image, whilst showing the blurred trains behind shows the movement in comparison

 

If you would like to find out more about Mark Seymours Workshops please sign up to my mail list here https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/contact/

https://nikonschool.co.uk/courses/street-photography Nikon street photography training workshops

https://www.thehopefoundation.org.uk/ Find out more and support the work of The Hope Foundation