If your muse is not a scenic landscape or an exotic face, but India's chaotic roads, perhaps street photography is your calling. Four street photographers have launched a collective, That's Life. Sunday MiD DAY catches up with one of them, Kaushal Parikh
What is That's Life about?
That's Life is a collective of photographers, showcasing a range of street photography created in India. We currently have four members and are on the lookout for more talent. We hope to make it the default site for anyone who wants to see great street photography from India.
A photograph taken in Mumbai by Parikh
How did the idea come about?
I have been shooting on the streets of India for a few years, but it took a long time for my work to get noticed. With reassurance from some prominent international street photographers and a big push from Eric Kim (a well-known street photographer from Los Angeles) I decided to try and form a collective. There are a lot of talented street photographers in India who continue to shoot in a bubble and often go unnoticed. As a collective we can wield more power and gain more exposure.
A photograph taken in Bengaluru by Suyog Gaidhani
What is it like shooting such pictures here?
On the whole, India is a haven for street photography. Street images from India have a very different look as compared to those shot in New York or London. Secondly, people are by and large open to being photographed, as long as they don't think you are being sneaky or exploitative. If you're friendly about it, people are often welcoming. The challenge is to stay invisible to get candid pictures as opposed to ones where the subjects are smiling joyously into the camera.
In Mumbai by Kaushal Parikh. PICS courtesy/ Suyog Gaidhani & Kaushal
Why do you prefer this form?
Street photography is the most honest and most challenging form of photography out there. With today's digital technology, almost everyone can take great images in Lakshadweep or in Ladakh. But put photographers on the streets of Mumbai or Begaluru, and they will end up with mostly unsatisfying images.
In Kolkata by Prantik Mazumder. Pics courtesy/ Kaushal Parikh & Prantik
Street photography is not for everyone and that's because it's not easy to make a good street image. It's even harder to make one that someone would like to hang in his or her home. But it is real and in a way it is a documentation of history. The Himalayas are not going anywhere (hopefully), but what you see on the streets today will be radically different, or even non-existent, a decade from now.
Those interested in joining the collective can visit the submissions section at www.thatslife.in