I have had numerous questions about our trip to India.
Wendy and I had a wondrous time in India. The people there are so warm and friendly that is hard for me to describe them. They are constantly smiling and very comfortable to be around. The sensitive and respectful photographer will have no trouble at all photographing in India. I found the people to be the best that I have ever encountered. My main interest in photography is the human condition and its relationship to the environment and India proved to be the perfect location. I have posted some of my photographs on my Facebook page.
Many of the questions about our trip were technical in nature, so I will attempt to describe how I photographed there. I took Dorothea Lange’s advice and went in stupid. I agreed with Dorothea, that to prepare studying India would not serve me as would as my own personal reaction to whatever I encountered.
For equipment, I relied on my Nikon F-3 with 55mm Micro 2.8 lens. It’s very sharp and needs no lens shade. I also used my 40 year-old Nikon F with a 28mm F-2 lens. I usually just carry one camera with the 55mm lens, but this time I knew that I would be working in very close quarters and that I would need a wide angle lens. My 28mm is one of the best wide angle lenses ever made and is extremely sharp. For film, it was Arista premium 400 speed black and white film, developed in Kodak D-76 1-1 at 68 degrees for 11 minutes.
I use the Nikon F-3 for the simple reason that the viewfinder shows 100% of the image being photographed. That is very important to me, as I do not crop my photos later in the darkroom. Most cameras do not show 100% in the viewfinder. The F-3 is very easy to handle and operate. It’s quick, smooth and precise. Focusing is a must for me. Manual focus is for me, because I hardly ever focus on a spot in the center, but usually at the center of interest which is usually off to the side. I have tried rangefinder cameras in the past, but their poor focusing controls and their not so accurate viewfinder made it difficult for me to be as quick as I am with the F-3.
When I photograph, I am not just looking for possible subjects, as much as I am looking for three things at once. I am always thinking of three or more elements and factors that I can assemble into a photograph. Three things. Maybe one item will catch my eye and I will work with it to try and find other elements, factors, and very importantly, the details that are always present in a subject area. By a thoughtful and logical process, I try to build something out of all the details. The great Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “It’s all in the details”. Proper use of the details provides extra strength for the center of interest.
Photographing in India was one of the great highlights of my 43 year career as a social documentary photographer. What made the trip even more pleasurable was the fact that the love of my life went with me and we both enjoyed the trip together. Hooray for the wonderful people of India.
#The Human Condition
#Social Documentary Photography