Thank you Rammy Narula for being the honorable Guest Mentor of In-Street Monthly Thematic Contest, March 2020.
We are very happy to publish an exclusive interview withRammy Narula to know his view and approach to Photography.
– Please tell us a bit about yourself and How did you start in photography?
[RN] Hi, my name is Rammy Narula and I’m a Thai Indian born and bred in Bangkok. My start in photography came during a sort of quarter-life crisis while needing a change of perspective and focus. I would say getting out of the house to make pictures saved me, mentally and also physically, and so I haven’t stopped since.
– What makes street photography so special for you and what according to you makes a good street shot?
[RN] What’s special is really just the process of it. Whatever else comes after is too nice too, of course. The result, the audience, the appreciation, but it was the making of the pictures itself that got me hooked and that hasn’t changed. To be able to get out there and make a picture of whatever I think interests me and to make it an interesting way. Not many feelings can top it. A good street photo is one that communicates in a way that is open ended and allows room for imagination and interpretation. For it to evoke a sort of feeling or emotion is even better and makes it more powerful.
-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?
[RN] I don’t believe there’s such a thing as being completely original and that whatever we create is based off of something that’s come before us. So my recommended approach would be to just create and be honest with yourself in both the process of creation and the process of sharing. If you feel connected to what you make and you make it honestly, whether it’s original or not does not really matter. When you’re honest your work is truly yours and that is quite enough.
– Tell us about your approach on the streets.
[RN] My approach has changed over the years. I used to go out and hunt for photos. Have a preconception of what I want to get and go out to try and find it. After a while that approach felt forced and limiting, so I eventually veered away from it. These days I try to be as open as possible and my camera is ready to go when I need it to go. Whatever catches my attention I will make a picture of it. The photographs make less impact on immediate viewing but the process feels quite aligned with who I am and my way of being. It may yet change again, and I suppose all I can do when that happens is not try to stop it.
– Projects or single images? If so why?
[RN] Both work in their own ways and I’ve done both, though lately I lean towards making single images. Just because I make pictures of whatever I see through the day and not necessarily focused on a place or a story. I do like to put my photos together in mini sets from time to time when they feel like they work well together, but it’s not really a project and just a way to communicate. I will say if a possibility of project comes along and it feels interesting, I’ll definitely do it again. There’s a certain excitement about working on a project that feels quite different to making single images and that change of pace can sometimes be the very thing you need to broaden your horizon.
– The important lesson you’ve learned being a street photographer.
[RN] One of the more important lessons I’ve learnt being a street photographer is that I could learn to trust myself because there’s no absolute right or wrong when it comes to artistic creations. I try to study as much as possible. Look at a lot of photographs and photobooks. Learn as many things about the subject as possible and also other art when possible. I figured if I wanted to trust myself then I have to know more each day than the day before even if it’s just a little more.
– What advice would you offer any aspiring street photographers?
[RN] I think I just sort of gave it. Haha. Look at photos. Listen to talks. Watch films. Learn from others. Oh and of course, make a lot of pictures.
– Your favourite photographers and any reference books?
[RN] Harry Gruyaert, Christopher Anderson, Trent Parke and Narelle Autio. Their work and books will be a great reference point to my preferences in photography.