Thursday, January 27, 2011

On my roof, January 2011

Delhi had some pretty grey days this winter, but one cold January day, just after New Year's Eve, the sun came out for like, half a second, and I grabbed my camera and a book and went to bask in the sun. Not because I was expecting anything spectacular to happen, but I really like my roof. It's got a nice view and I put the original folding cot that was in my flat, upstairs, so there's place to sit. As soon as the weather's a little better, more predictable, I plan on having a long boozy lunch up there. 

I shot most of these in black and white, because some of the images struck me as being bleak. Maybe I was just in a bleak mood, despite the sunshine? I wanted to talk about lives being lived, even as we closet ourselves indoors, things growing, the urban landscapes, where roofs are the only place where you're out in the open (unless you have a garden, and not many people I know actually spend time in their gardens.)

Jaipur, January 2011

I was at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year, which you already know if you read my blog. But since I've started taking pictures, I find myself more drawn to portraits, or just people interacting with each other. I love my random "arty" shots of trees and buildings and things very close up, but a good picture of a person always thrills me. Especially if I manage to get an expression correct, or capture something I didn't even know I could capture.

One of the problems is, though, that I'm always a little shy of taking pictures of people. I feel like I need to ask permission, or like, acknowledge I'm taking the picture instead of just quickly snapping it and walking away as many other photographers do. It's a dilemma that's raged across internet forums as far as I can see--doing some Google research, I found people were mostly divided.

So what's a (sort of) shy person to do? I went online to Digital Photography School (a great website for beginner's tips, I've learnt a lot just from browsing there) and found this article by street photographer James Maher. His tip was to keep your camera as innocuous as possible, even shooting from the hip, which I wasn't entirely sure I agreed with. I don't know if you've done a lot of pictures of people when you're pointing up the lens at them, but it's never very flattering, and it makes their noses look HUGE. Instead, I hung my camera round my neck and each time I passed something I wanted to click, I very slightly changed the angle of the lens and just pressed the button. It gave me some interesting perspectives as you will see in the last four pictures.

Finally, I stumbled across this blog and this wonderful woman's work, and it made me realise what I want to develop the most in my photos, candid, artless street portraits of people doing their own thing. I have a long, long, LONG way to go, but you know, practice, perfect, etc.


I've been taking lots of pictures lately, and this is the companion blog to my writing blog The Compulsive Confessor. Even though I upload on Flickr and Facebook, I'm essentially a writer, and part of why I like taking pictures is so I can tell a story side by side.

Until very recently, I used a Canon Powershot A480, but recently have upgraded to the Canon 1000D, which I use with the starter lens (I'm not great at specs, but Google it, and you should find out.) This is what I see.