Thank you Sam Walzade for being the honorable Guest Mentor of In-Street Monthly Thematic Contest, May 2020.
We are very happy to publish an exclusive interview with Sam Walzade to know his view and approach to Photography.
– Please tell us a bit about yourself and How did you start in photography?
[SW] My journey with photography began after a couple of years into my corporate life. Before that, my creative energy had an outlet through music and theatre. Once I began working, it was difficult to find time for these creative pursuits and somehow I ended up buying a second hand camera to take pictures while I was travelling. Vineet Vohra, a family friend, was (and still is) my first mentor – he introduced me to street photography. After that there was no going back. I began shooting a lot more and studying the medium as well. My wife Ekta started learning with me. A few years later, we began a wedding photography & filmmaking company called ‘Sam & Ekta’. We shoot weddings for a living, and do street photography projects in our personal time.
– What makes street photography so special for you and what according to you makes a good street shot?
[SW] What I love most about street photography is that it allows us to capture the beauty in unpredictability. It opens up a world of stories and possibilities based on how one sees things. And everything becomes so much more interesting when you’re looking beyond the obvious, trusting your subconscious to find little connections, etc. A good street photograph is one which invites you into its world, makes you connect to what is happening and generates some sort of emotional response. Often, I find that the first connect with a good street shot is very instantaneous – there is often an ‘aha’ moment internally when I come across a good shot, and then my eyes tend to linger on it, trying to soak everything in.
-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?
[SW] There is a theory called ‘The Helsinki Bus Theory’. I’d urge all creatives to look it up and read it. What it basically says is that one needs to continue to persevere – it is possible that in your initial years, your work does look like it is inspired by the greats, but as you continue to practice and get better, you will be able to add your own unique voice and create work which reflects who you are.
– Tell us about your approach on the streets.
[SW] I try to adapt my approach to the realities of the space I inhabit at that point of time. In chaotic situations, I don’t mind being super active to get to a position to get my shot. In situations that require me to shoot sensitively, I try to navigate the space and time my shot accordingly. I listen to my subconscious – if it tells me to walk in a certain direction, I do. If it tells me to wait in a place for some time, I do. I try to observe a lot, and sometimes when my senses of observation get overwhelmed, I take a step back to disconnect. I’m still discovering my approach and it is a constant process that is evolving with time.
– Projects or single images? If so why?
[SW] So far, I have been shooting single images. I will be attempting projects in the future – it is something I really want to explore.
– The important lesson you’ve learned being a street photographer.
[SW] You lose 100% of the shots you don’t take.
– What advice would you offer any aspiring street photographers?
[SW] Study, shoot, edit & repeat. Stay humble and try to experience more of the world – through travel, art, films, music etc. Grow as a person and you will grow as a photographer.
– Your favourite photographers and any reference books?
[SW] There are so many. Off the top of my head – Alex Webb, Harry Benson, Raghu Rai, Swapan Parekh, Martin Parr; but there are so many more. The Suffering of Light is my favourite photobook, but again, I am continuously looking at and learning from as many sources as possible.