Loopers workshop with Matt Stuart & Jesse Marlow

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Just came back from Bangkok after attending a 4-day workshop with Matt Stuart & Jesse Marlow. This is by far the best 4 days of street-photographic education I have had. Matt & Jesse are so hands-on they are with you almost all the time keeping an eye on your technique, constantly prodding and pushing you to improve. The changes they suggested for me made a dramatic improvement in my photography. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. All pictures in this post were either taken during the workshop or were taken after the workshop in the past week.

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The first thing I learned was to properly read the light and get better control of the exposure. Autoexposure gets the job done for plain documentary situations but when you keep moving between light and shadow, you better get a grip over your camera. This was the most difficult exercise for me and I ended up with quite a few underexposed or overexposed pictures. Gradually things have gotten better and are pretty much under control.

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The second thing I learned from the workshop was to change from my personal favorite 50mm to a more standard 35mm lens. This did two things. I had to get closer to the subject to avoid wasted space around the frame. I now didn’t have to back up too much into the streets to get wide scenes. I thought this would be very challenging but I adjusted almost immediately.

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The creative technique I learned was to identify a potential picture and wait ‘fishing’ for the magic subject to arrive. Sometimes it takes 10-15 minutes and sometimes the subject never turns up. That wait for the unexpected subject was quite enjoyable and I started to like this technique a lot.

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The other creative technique I learned was to identify a potential ‘intereting’ subject and to tail them for some distance until they meet the ‘right’ background. I tried this only a few times since I was happier with the ‘fishing’ technique. Looks like I am a fisherman after all.

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The most important thing is to take pictures when the light is good and to rest and regain your strength when the light turns bad. Midday and mushy light is challenging to shoot. Unless you are working on using these light situations consciously, have a break or hang out with friends and come again later.

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Bangkok is a lively city. It was full of action and the people were very welcoming. Thai people are extremely curteous and very rarely object to have their picture taken. Bangkok is a fun place to try different ways of taking street pictures. And before I forget, the food is great.

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Loopers Collective, the Bangkok-based street photography collective organized the workshop. These guys are photographers who love street photography. They know their Bangkok like the back of their palms. It was great fun taking pictures accompanied by these guys. I got to develop new friendships that I hope will carry on for a long time.

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I already miss the buzz of the streets of Bangkok. The other most important thing I learned was to seek interesting situations in my own city and take pictures using my new-found skills.

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Even when people do not want their picture taken, they can contribute to a good picture.

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Fishing in Al Wakra

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The Al Wakra port in Qatar is home to a lot of amateur fishermen!!

Streets of Goa

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I had this wonderful opportunity of participating in GoaPhoto 2015, the inaugural event of the annual GoaPhoto show. I was one of 24 participants in the Magnum Photo workshops.

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Richard Kalvar, Magnum Photos, was my mentor. He was very meticulous in editing our images and spent a lot of time on critique. It was a great experience having him review most of our images and selecting the best ones. I continued shooting even after the show was done and so I have featured more images than what I showed as my final sequence in the photo show.

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I spent most of my time stalking the streets of Fontainhas seeking out images.

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The four days were spent shooting and reviewing selected images of the previous day’s shoot.

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You get a lot of insight into how a professional photographer’s selection process (called editing) works.

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In a way editing is probably the most important part of the work.

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Goa was colorful and the people were really friendly.

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They let us take pictures freely and sometimes they wanted us to take more pictures. Welcome break from Doha.

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The food was fantastic if spicy food is your kind of thing. The Goans do fix you up with good drinks. You’ll never go thirsty in this place.

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The weather was muggy as summer just started. The schools will be off in a few weeks time.

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The Goan people are a mix of rural and cosmopolitan people.

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I would love to go back to Goa and continue shoot more pictures of the amazing Goan people.

Florence Diaries. Day-28.

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Made a field trip to Pisa. This is my first visit to Pisa and the place lived up to its billing as one of the seven wonders of the world. Some of the sculptures seemed to preempt the Renaissance style to me. Giovanni Pisano may be one of the most underappreciated pre-renaissance artist. The relief work on the pulpit of the Pisa cathedral seem to have a similar style of the great baptistery doors of Florence.

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Can’t wait to get one of this picture off of my list.

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Back to Florence in the evening and Piazza San Giovanni was packed with action.

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Florence Diaries. Day-25.

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For starters, couldn’t post any images in the last two days. I try and post images shot the same day and so couldn’t post since my work was focused entirely on black and white film. Some day I’ll scan those images when I am back in Doha.

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Today I made the short trip to Montevarchi (near Arezzo) to visit Bottega Antonio Manta, the best print shop in Europe run by photographer and printer emeritus Antonio Manta (http://www.bottegamanta.com). Some of the Platinum/Palladium archival prints made by his workshop (bottega) are real pieces of art. You have to see them to believe them. The level of details available in the prints are unbelievable.

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Shooting digital back in Firenze was fun. One of the points Antonio insisted on his documentary shoots was to always focus on the subject rather than using hyper-focal scales. I started giving it a try.

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Some pets have all the fun all the time.

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Firenze is a clean city but I wouldn’t advise this to anyone.

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Street performers just show up from all over Europe. One day two music students just started singing and some of the onlookers started dropping coins!

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Cool dads are always fun to have around.