Thank you Mouhamed Moustapha for being the honorable Guest Mentor of In-Street Monthly Thematic Contest, September 2019.
We are very happy to publish an exclusive interview with Mouhamed Moustapha to know his view and approach to Photography.
– Please tell us a bit about yourself and How did you start in photography?
[Moustapha] I am an independent photographer hailing from a beautiful village near Pondicherry, India. I started photography in 2012 as a way to relieve my mental stress and now this passion has become my way of life.
– What makes street photography so special for you and what according to you makes a good street shot?
[Moustapha] It gives me freedom to express with the utmost understanding and reflect my inner feelings. The way I can connect humans in the visual medium makes street photography special for me. I believe a good street shot captures the energy of a place with diverse characters and expanding elements.
– 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?
[Moustapha] Every image we shoot is inspired by the Masters. However, I believe when you share your personal experience in a simple way and connect with the soul and the emotion of the content, you create true and original art.
– Tell us about your approach on the streets.
[Moustapha] I shoot with minimal equipment, my favourite camera is Fujifilm X series, 23mm lens. There are so many photographers and they all have different approaches. There are different compositional aspects like scale, geometric, figure to ground, layers etc. but for me, I just play with the characters. I love people, they are connected with nature, and they add life to my pictures, so I try to understand their comfort space, culture, and identity. Sometime I try to go back to my childhood memories.
Creating a human perspective through a compelling visual story is the key. I try to document everyday activities of normal people mostly in black and white.
– Projects or single images? If so why?
[Moustapha] I am interested in documenting the stories. Initially, we usually look for single shots; I used to shoot single images in my early stage. I gradually understood the process of creating stories and those single images helped me to learn how to handle a project.
– The important lesson you’ve learned being a street photographer.
[Moustapha] Photography as an art changes according to different people and their perspectives. I have learnt and realized it is all about the person who shoots and not the camera. If you can visualise an image beyond something ordinary then you’ll get that magic shot.
– What advice would you offer any aspiring street photographers?
[Moustapha] At first try to understand the light, improve the composition and understand different aspects of street photography.
It is all about connecting yourself with the image. Forget that you are shooting something but believe that you are seeing and creating something that is important for the society.
If you aspire to become a good photographer you should explore different genres of photography, meet various artists from different fields and learn from them. Building the right connections is also a key to success.
Share your ideas with fellow photographers and create the scope of healthy discussions to take your work to the next level. Another person’s perspective always adds some value.
– Your favourite photographers and any reference books?
[Moustapha] I haven’t bought any Master’s book till now but planning to buy some very soon. I often check other artist’s works on the internet & social media. I follow people for their works and their words.
Suresh Jayaram – Artist
Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, Clare Arni – Photographers
Rajkumar Sthabathy – Watercolor Artist