Thank you Gurunathan Ramakrishnan for being the honorable Guest Mentor of In-Street Monthly Thematic Contest, October 2019.
We are very happy to publish an exclusive interview with Gurunathan Ramakrishnan to know his view and approach to Photography.
– Please tell us a bit about yourself and How did you start in photography?
[Guru] Hi all, I am Gurunathan Ramakrishnan, an architect based out of Chennai, like to click whenever time permits.
It started around 2008, when i started exploring my new DSLR. I joined a group here (Chennai Weekend Clickers, CWC). Slowly my time spent on photography increased and my ideas towards photography evolved. Gradually it shifted towards street photography, when I started liking the cityscapes, funny moments, life, light, culture etc.
The works of Henri Cartier Bresson and Alex Webb helped me to identify a path, still I have to work more on that.
– What makes street photography so special for you and what according to you makes a good street shot?
[Guru] I like shooting candid, and taking a casual approach. I guess that is one main thing which attracts me towards street photography. Besides, you can study light, forms, people, when you practice this genre. That’s very interesting.
A good street shot should have a moment, light and composition in general. But we see a lot of photographs nowadays which defies all/some of these elements yet makes good impactful photographs. So it’s an evolving concept I guess.
– These days we are seeing so many great works of current photographers and masters available on the Internet and otherwise. As such, how can we try to be original in our approach?
[Guru] Really appreciate the question.
First we have to decide, what exactly we want to focus on. Instead of travelling to done and dusted places, we can also travel to remote locations, where the photographs are not explored. Also instead of finding photographs outside, we can try to create photographs which reflects us and our own journey. (For example, as an architect, I like to take photographs during my site visits or official travel).
– Tell us about your approach on the streets.
[Guru] There are 2 basic approaches which most of us follow. 1. Fishing – wait for something to happen at the right time / moment at a given potential place. 2. Hunting – Walk a lot and capture along the way. Though we have to balance both, I am slightly inclined towards the first approach or I should say, I spend more time waiting in a place.
– Projects or single images? If so why?
[Guru] To me, it is singles. Since I have to balance between my work and photography, I prefer singles. Besides, I like the idea of a single photograph telling many stories, asking many questions, rather than a set of images.
– The important lesson you’ve learned being a street photographer.
[Guru] Of late, I am more inclined towards getting more drama out of sheer light. Some would say, light is everything in photography. Even if we visit the same place, the light each time is quite different and we can start exploring it.
Street photography has helped me to observe more and being a bit more alert (There are positives as well as negatives in that). As a person, I know better when to be an observer and when to be a participant.
– What advice would you offer any aspiring street photographers?
[Guru] To some extent, photography has became a competition nowadays. We like to click more and get more likes, thanks to social media.
My main recommendation would be to produce genuine works, instead of repeating what is already done, work on creating something anew.
Learn to respect other’s work.
– Your favourite photographers and any reference books?
[Guru] Alex Webb, Henri Cartier Bresson, TrentParke.
The Suffering of Light, Minutes to Midnight.