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An Interview with the Guest Photographer Navin Kumar Vatsa from India

RK : Say something about you.

With a good academic record I have Master’s Degree in Computer Applications and taught computers to graduate and post graduate students for over 9 years. I served Jagannath University, Jaipur as Joint Registrar for another 7 years, and now from last 4 years I have devoted my full time to Photography.

RK : What are your favourite genres of Photography?

Travel and street are my main interest as both genre makes us more responsible towards society. It takes us close to the real life.

RK : Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become a photographer?

14 years back I purchased a simple film camera of very low budget, Kodak-K10 and started shooting with it some family moments. In 2006 December when we blessed with a Son, I got habitual to click him daily after returning from my day long job. Kid’s moments are really very precious. Some moments between Mother and son was like my life time memories and I am very much emotionally attached to it… Unfortunately in November 2009, I lost my wife in an accident and suddenly life got changed. I was almost helpless and clueless in finding the way how I will live and handle my Son for the rest of life. Almost a 10 years of beautiful journey with her came to a complete halt and there was a complete void in my life for several year and almost I forget everything about photography.

Four years back when my Son got slightly mature and strong, I started looking back to my past journey and thousands of printed photographs of my Son and my wife pricked me so many times and I realized I am missing something very badly. It was very tough but I reunited myself, purchased a DSLR and decided to make stories through photographs for rest of the journey of my life…

RK : What was the first camera that you received?

It was Kodak K-10, a very simple film camera almost 14 years back and with that I was habitual to shoot family events that time.

RK : Which is your favourite lens? Why?

I always believe on the thought process behind capturing any image. Lens hardly matters to me. But yes professionally I am a Sony user and using A6000 with 24mm Prime lens and A77 with Tokina 11-16 pro DX-II and its kit lens. But frankly saying camera and equipment’s are just tools, photographs are actually created in Artists mind that only a camera can capture. That’s why I never worried for equipment. Worries starts when my mind’s eye stops thinking.

Would like to quote here:

“Best equipment’s produce incredible results only when they are in best hands”

RK : Do you believe the phrase ‘A picture is worth a thousand words?’

Yes more than 100%... Photography is a very serious form of Art, where each photograph must tell a unique story and if not than it just a snapshot in my opinion.

RK : What does ‘street photography’ mean to you?

- Street photography is most difficult and challenging genre of photography. It’s a process of capturing candid un-noticed moments and things by isolating the situations in some Story telling form where each and every fraction of seconds are very important…

This can be some stolen moments from daily life in and around us…Street photography is a real form of Art that make us true Artist…

RK : What do you think makes a memorable street photograph?

A moment that defines the complete frame where each and every included elements communicate to the viewer directly, and have the capability to stop our eyes to read them for longer time.

RK : How does black and white vs colour play into your work? Do you find them to be totally separate beasts—or complementary?

-Both carry its own meaning and story either Black & white or colour… It’s all about the Vision behind. I my opinion when a black & white photograph has the power to spread colour in the minds of viewer than it becomes image. So it sometimes complementary and sometimes a separate beasts…

RK : When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?

- In case of Travel zone the things can be planned up to some extent as its place oriented, but in Street zone we can’t plan the things as its moment oriented… A moment that is going to happen next can be imagined, before actuals, just because of reading and deep observations on subjects we are following to frame in, but they can’t be planned. They are always spontaneous, and this is the beauty of street photography

RK : Who are the photographers that inspire you or have inspired you in your photographic work?

There are so many people those who inspired me and still I am taking inspiration from them. I love to read “Failure Stories” rather success stories of people to understand the real toughness of life.

I’m a very keen observer and gives priority to reading and understanding of various photographers works done during 80s and 90s. But yes some names like Sir Raghu Rai, Sir S. Paul, Sir Henri Cartier, Sir Raghubir Singh and from recent days the name of Mr. Vineet Vohra would like to mention here. As far as the inspiration is concern some names from Indian Cinema, Music Industry, Lyricist/writers and Cricketers, I would like to mention here are Mr. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ms. Nandita Das, Mr. Piyush Mishra, Sir Gulzar Saheb and Mr. MS Dhoni are on my priority list.

RK : As a travel photographer, in your opinion, what makes a good travel photograph?

In Photography of Travel zone, Observation and Imagination are more important than only knowledge… Here we need “Third Eye” to see things differently & we have to bring out the best from “Un-noticed” and rather in hurry give proper time at one place to understand it first…

RK : What have been your top 3 places to photograph so far and why?

Travel and street are my main interest as both genre makes us more responsible towards society. It takes us close to the real life. Travelling destination is all depends upon the thought process. Even my city Delhi and its surrounding till Agra, that I am exploring from last 4 years, I feel there are lot yet to explore from these places. The spiritual City Varanasi and the cold desert Ladakh are my other favorite Places to explore… I am planning to explore the rich culture of the state Bihar in coming years…

RK : You’ve taken thousands of photos over the years, but do you have a favorite?

As an Artist it’s nearly impossible to say a favorite one from list, but yes this photograph gave me identity in the field of Art and others an eye to think beyond box.


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