An interview with the master of street photography – Swapnil Jedhe
From shooting on the streets in Pune to representing India in Miami Street Photography Festival. Swapnil Jedhe is one photographer who has achieved what every Photographer dreams of. Getting candid with him was an awesome experience for us as well.
Gaurav : How was the Miami Street Photography Festival ? Our readers would like to know your experience. And of course, you also won a Leica !!
Swapnil : It was certainly one of the best achievements in my photographic journey till date (However, I could not attend the festival personally). It helped me a lot in gaining significant recognition, internationally. The best part of it was that I was the only one representing India as a finalist and its a really proud feeling to have been able to win the competition. It was judged by none other than David Alan Harvey, Bruce Davidson, Peter Turnley and Maggie Steber, some of the biggest icons in the world of photography, who are looked up to by almost everyone.
Gaurav : What gear do you use ? Do you have a favorite lens that you bet upon whenever you are on the streets ?
Swapnil : I have produced most of my work on Nikon D610 with Nikkor 24-85mm. Recently; I have been shooting with the sweet little Leica Q, which I won at the Miami Street Photography Festival 2015. 28mm and 35mm is my favourite focal length.
Gaurav : Your images are very contemporary. It sure does take a lot of patience for getting such images. How do you decide about that decisive moment when you have to press the shutter ?
Swapnil : Yes, it takes a lot of patience to capture “that magical moment”.
My compositions are not deliberate efforts but more of natural instinct. I don’t over-think about the composition while shooting :), rather I see a story or a moment, and capture it as I see it. Normally, I shoot only when something pleases me the most, which is either a story or a scene. In fact, as I look at it, every scene lets our imagination craft a story behind it. I want my viewer to spend some time looking at the picture and observing it in his/her own way. For that, I try and organize the visual clutter (which is and will always be an integral part of India and its landscape) in my compositions, so that eyes flow swiftly all over the frame. At other times, I click a special moment, which might evoke viewer’s imagination. The results thus differ with the elements present in the frame.
Gaurav : What factor would you rate more for your success ? A natural instinct or a passionate attempt ? Both in which case may go hand in hand.
Swapnil : It’s difficult to say which factor is working for me. I think it’s mix of both along with a bit of luck. It’s as much about luck as about ‘right place’ and ‘right time’.
Gaurav : Who do you admire as a street photographer and for what reason ?
Swapnil : There are many photographers I admire. I really get inspired by Magnum photographer’s work.
More specifically, I look up to HCB, Raghu Rai, Trent Parke, Alex Webb and Gueorgui Pinkhassov.
These masters gave me the vision to look at the world around me with a different perspective altogether and made me believe that pictures can be made anywhere, anytime. They fuel my passion towards capturing mundane life in an extraordinary way. Also, there are fellow ‘That’s Life’ photographers and ‘in-public’, who I think are a huge source of inspiration for me.
Gaurav : Looking at your amazing compositions it immediately makes a viewer pause for a moment, think and smile. What was your most difficult shot like. can you share the experience with us ?
Swapnil : I’m proud of my ‘To play or not’ picture (Winning photograph at MSPF 2015) as it is very difficult shot to achieve.
When I clicked this image I was so sure that I have managed to capture something magical. I was so thrilled while clicking that I actually got goose bumps at that very moment.
The shot was taken at my favorite place, a ground near my house. On that day, the light was golden and was forming beautiful long shadows. The old architectural structure on the ground with yellow walls along with a subtle blue sky made a nice colour scheme. But the actual hook was the strong shadow of a kid in the foreground and the boy playing with a ball. I clicked few shots with the same setup but suddenly 2 kids entered the frame from left. I clicked vigorously and somehow I got the shot. The best part of the picture for me is the action packed moments spread over 3 parts with a twist of a shadow and the alignment of subjects within a frame. I consider myself very lucky as I was present at the right spot at the right time to witness the magical moment. That’s the best part of a street photography for me.
Gaurav : Tell us something about ‘That’s Life’
Swapnil : ‘That’s Life’ inspired me to get into photography and now, from last couple of years I’m a part of it. It’s really a proud feeling. I must say that, whatever little I have achieved, is due to ‘That’s Life’ and I would like to thank every member of it; especially Kaushal Parikh, for being very co-operative and supportive. TL is probably the only street photography collective from India. Every TL member has his own style and is always keen on taking Indian street photography to the next level, which makes it a really great platform.
Gaurav : With all the international recognition including exhibitions in Moscow, what’s next for Swapnil Jedhe ?
Swapnil : There’s no plan as such but I will continue enjoying the process of capturing magical moments in our daily life as long as it interests me.
That was Swapnil Jedhe giving the best of inputs on street photography. Visit Swapnil’s website for more wonderful pictures. Stay tuned for more intriguing encounters and subscribe with us for the best in the photography world.