Thank you Koushik Sinha Roy for being the honorable Guest Mentor of In-Street Monthly Thematic Contest, January 2020.
We are very happy to publish an exclusive interview with Koushik Sinha Roy to know his view and approach to Photography.
– Please tell us a bit about yourself and How did you start in photography?
[Koushik] Hello guys. Happy New Year, 2020 to you all. I was born in a subdivisional town known as Uluberia of Howrah district under West Bengal state in India in the year 1982. I am a High School Teacher by profession and teach Geography.
Travelling during vacation and capturing photos using my mobile phones is always a hobby of mine. I used to take snapshots of nature, people and trees. I bought my first camera (Canon 1200D) in 2015 and shooting nature and wildlife was my main hobbies by then. Earlier during my college tour in North Bengal I had memory of using my uncle’s Film Camera (Zenit) and I still have few photos captured by that very camera. I came in contact with an international street photography group known as APF (Art Photo Feature) mentored by Vineet Vohra and Rohit Vohra at the end of 2015. One of my student once suggested me that very group seeing my photos inclined towards street. My real journey of learning street photography started from there.
– What makes street photography so special for you and what according to you makes a good street shot?
[Koushik] Yes, street photography is so special for me because,
1. HUMANITARIAN GROUND: Street Photography allows me (as a photographer) to enter into the domain of public life of people and record and feel their psychological drama simultaneously through delicate visual interaction .
2. NO CHALLENGE, NO FUN: The difficulty or challenge and candidness of street photography always draw myself into this photographic genre. The joy and satisfaction of capturing a good street photo is something you can not express in words.
3. THERAPY: Street Photography is a therapy to me as it turns introvert people like me to extrovert while shooting.
-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?
[Koushik] Each and every person in this world are somehow different from each other and creatively original. Trendy pictures get the attention of mass on social media and ‘LIKE’ culture has turned into a disease to the youth. The problem is photographers have no time to search and feel their originality. They want to be famous as early as possible. I think every photographer have potential and if they listen to their soul and give time to get matured, at least some will surely do wonders.
The beauty of street photography is that it gives pleasant surprises every time and everywhere. Being a street photographer, we need to be there to feel and react to those moments in order to capture them. Capturing decisive moment is possible when feeling and reacting to an unfolding scene happen simultaneously in the mind/brain of a photographer. The photographer is in complete meditative state when the shutter is pressed. Original photo is born when a photographer is unable to detach himself or herself from this meditative state. Unless or until we raise ourselves to such mental standard of shooting , we may only create already done images.
– Tell us about your approach on the streets.
[Koushik] I am a ‘pause and shoot’ photographer. I generally don’t wait for a scene to be unfolded for more than 2-3 minutes. It’s just my own style. I walk and when I see or sense something interesting happening or going to happen, I pause and shoot. That’s why I don’t have a pile of contact sheets. Either bulls eye or miss. Since I shoot going very close to people, sometimes subjects may oppose thus offering smile helps.
– Projects or single images? If so why?
[Koushik] Single Photograph. I am a hardcore street photographer and I don’t like continuity. I photograph what I see for a specific moment and it can be absolutely different photograph in my next few steps ahead.
– The important lesson you’ve learned being a street photographer.
[Koushik] Being a street photographer the important lesson I’ve learnt to use my 6th sense (or gut feeling). Intuition plays an important role in street photography.
– What advice would you offer any aspiring street photographers?
[Koushik] 1. Have faith that you can do it. Street Photography is difficult, accept it. There is no alternative of continuous practice and honesty. Follow those like fundamental principles of street photography.
2. No point in repeating same work, so create your own voice. Dig deep down your psyche and listen to your own melody first and then reflect the very tune (feelings) in your photos.
3. Follow your gut feelings while shooting.
4. Do experiment, it’s the primary way to learn and evolve.
5. Follow only your inner voice.
6. Train your eyes to see the oddity in chaos.
– Your favourite photographers and any reference books?
[Koushik] Images of Garry Winogrand, Ernst Haas, Trent Parke, Josef Koudelka etc are my favouite from classics. I love the work of contemporary photographers like Barry Talis, Rohit Vohra, Graciela Magnoni, Muhammad Imam Hassan, Udai Singh, Edas Wong , Julie Hrudova, Swapnil Jedhe, Stavros Stamatiou, Zisis Kardianos, Forrest Walker, and Bojan Nicolic for their originality.
‘The Decisive Moment’ by HCB, ‘Minutes to Midnight’ by Trent Parke, ‘Road To Seeing’ by Dan Winters, ‘Robert Doisneau’ by Jean Claude Gautrand etc.