Photography workshops in India

An Indian photographic adventure with photography workshops in India by Mark Seymour in association with Nikon UK.

It begins with a journey 31.10.16/01.11.16

 

As with all good adventures, this starts with a journey; 2 taxis, 2 flights, three airports and an exhausting 24 hours, London Heathrow to Jodhpur.

The journey to begin my photography workshops in India started with a long wait at Mumbai International, a beautiful airport with Indian treasures on display, clean, airy, and worth paying to stay in the travelers lounge to catch a nap on the comfy chairs!

Airport tiredness

Last year I flew into Delhi and wanted the full Indian experience so booked the train to Jodhpur, however this year I decided a flight was definitely a much better option. Jodhpur has a small airport, everything is still done by hand, but with only our flight landing it was actually quite a quick and simple process of picking up luggage and walking straight out the door into the Sun City, and that sudden smack of heat.

Our wonderful host and travel guide Vishal was waiting and it was so good to catch up with him on the journey back to the old city and his hotel the Kings Retreat, tucked away in the twisting alleyways that serve as roads from the Clock Tower up towards the Fort

 

Shopping trip in Jodhpur

 

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Re-hydrated with water and our first taste of sweet, milky Indian coffee we discussed the finer details of the course, and I have to tell you it’s going to be an amazing trip and course! Dropping our stuff in the room we head into town to pick up some essentials; mobile phone, memory card, and armed with my glasses prescription, I ordered three pairs of glasses and one pair of sunglasses to be made up, costing me less than one pair at home, bargain!

 

Walking along the main road you quickly get used to the sounds and frenetic nature of the traffic in India, people, cars, tuk tuks, motor bikes, bikes, and cows, competing for their space, creating their own unique music with their constant ‘I’m here’ with their horns.

Time for a cold beer, vegetable curry and tandoori paneer before crashing out!

 

So, let me introduce Jodhpur

Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan and at one time the princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Jodhpur is now popular with travelers and tourists seeking out an authentic Indian experience, with lots to see including the palaces, forts and temples, shopping in the market places and bazaars for spices,bangles, saris and cashmere pashminas, all set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert.

 

The city is known as the Sun City for the gorgeous sun-filled days it enjoys all year round. The old city circles the Fort and is bounded by a wall with several gates. Jodhpur has also been made famous as the Blue City of Rajasthan (Jaipur being known as the Pink City) for the indigo paint on the houses in the old city area and has drawn to it many photographer including myself, and Steve McCurry.

 

As a course leader on several photography workshops in India I like to walk the area myself to get familiar with the routes and identify key features and opportunities so that I can provide those attending the course the best possible photographic experience. This is also the time I get to take photographs as once the course begins my focus is on facilitating everyone else in getting great shots and my photographing becomes secondary.

 

We walked with one of the guys from the hotel around the old city near the Fort, visiting a couple of the stepwells nearby, the craftsman and artisans near the Clock Tower and down into the market place.

Approaching people on the street

One of the main questions I get asked is how do you go about photographing people on the streets, what do you do if they don’t like it? I acknowledge people, by smiling and saying hello.  Most people are happy to be photographed but if they put their hand up or turn away I will say that’s ok and just move on. I actually do not want to engage with people whilst I am taking their photograph, I want it to be totally natural, a candid portrayal of that person going about their daily life, so after they have acknowledged me I stay for a while and they return to what they were doing and I am able to continue photographing them naturally as they forget I am there. If you start to talk to them, they look at you and stop what they had been doing that was interesting and it becomes a static staged pose. If you are photographing in India a lot of people will try and stop you and get you to take their photo, they have quickly learnt the stop pose and smile for a few rupees. Be warned, if they have inter-mated that they want money before you take the photo you are entering a contract so if you have no intention of paying, (we do not encourage payment), then move on.

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Documentary street photography

Documentary street photography is about capturing a moment, an individual in a real life context. This does not mean that they are just random snaps. For me, I am constructing the image in front of my camera, looking for layers, interesting angles, using the environment to create frames, all to create a great storytelling image. Getting yourself into the right position is key and so is waiting. Sometimes you can find everything that will create a wonderful image but then you need to wait for the right combination of people to enter that space, and with the advantage of digital you can keep shooting, it costs nothing.

 

When I come back to the computer I edit hard, cull my images right down, you would be surprised at how many photographs you get left with – on average 1-3% of the images you have taken. I then begin the work flow process, to enhance the images NOT construct them out of the camera. So I will make a decision about whether the image should be in colour or black and white, then consider cropping, enhancing the colour and light balance to make the image the best possible version without changing the actual content or structure.

If you would like to find out more about my photography workshops in India, Vietnam and Myanmar please get in touch

I look forward to hearing from you

Mark

 

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