Plus 3 SUPPLEMENTS: SHOWCASE OF WPOY • Joy of success • SHARE your memories
II y pl g! 8 VR im in f/2.
s nn mm u 0 st 70-20 r ko Nik
May 2010 • Rs. 100
MAGIC OF LIGHT & SHADOWS • Exclusive Test: Canon EOS 550D • Great masters: James waterhouse
Better Technique. Better Insight. Better Pictures
, chniques tests, te e PLUS f o s e g a P d advic ideas an prehensive m o c a uide Buyer’s G
Make stunning pictures by capturing surreal reflections LEARN TO CREATE MAGIC WITH
Light& Shadows Ways to play with colours, patterns & architectural shapes
Vol. 13 • No. 12 • May 2010
EXCLUSIVE TESTS Adobe Photoshop CS5 Canon EOS 550D Sony Cyber-shot TX7 On Assignment
Exploring light and form in urban architecture
The extraordinary career of James Waterhouse
Introduce a graphic feel in your photographs Photofeature
From cloth to nothingness: the story of Mumbai’s mills
Chirodeep Chaudhuri on the importance of style and ideas
Book Review The Digital Field Guide
Website Review viiphoto.com
Look Who’s Shooting Paromita Deb Areng
ON THE COVER
Photograph: Shruti Biyani Design: Pradeep Kumar B Nambiar
Canon EOS 550D Full HD video in an entry-level DSLR
Photo Graphics Create a graphic feel using shapes and lines
Shadow Theatre 20 ways in which you can use shadows as a subject
india’s first Review
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7 Ultraslim touchscreen
Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II The very latest from Nikon
Adobe Photoshop CS5 An incredibly featurepacked upgrade
Shades in Geometry Light, form and colour in urban architecture
A Dual Reality Playing with illusory reflections
TIPS & TRICKS
Expert advice on shooting flames, capturing silhouettes and more
t upplemen Special S issue is th h it w
ASE a SHOWCia’s OF ind ding d first weraphy photogrds awa
Chirodeep Chaudhuri On exploring style, concepts and ideas
My Best Shot
Story Behind the Picture
Amit Ashar GREAT MASTERS
James Waterhouse His extraordinary photographic career
Ashish Raje Spinning Into Nothingness
The Rule of Four History of Photography
The Negative Story How an accidental discovery changed photography Profit by Socialising Using social networking websites to promote your work The Blue Marble
Regulars Feedback.............................................................12 PHOTOCRITIQUE....................................................70 Q & A................................................................... 78 1000 WORDS......................................................... 96 Your Pictures...................................................104 BP Buyer’s Guide...............................................156
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Leaf Aptus-II 10R with rotating sensor
Wedding Photographer of the Year 2009 Awards
The Leaf Aptus-II 10R is a digital back with an internal rotating sensor. The digital back has a 56MP sensor that is 56 X 36mm in dimensions. The digital back enables you to use the full width of the sensor for both portrait and landscape shots by allowing you to shift orientation without removing, shutting down or turning the camera back. This not only saves time but also prevents sensor exposure to the elements. The Leaf Aptus-II 10R is priced at 24,995 euro (approx. Rs. 14,74,705)
Sigma 150–500mm f/5-6.3 for Sony & Pentax mounts
Sigma APO 150–500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM has now been released for Sony and Pentax mounts. Until now, this super telephoto lens was available only for the Canon, Nikon amd Sigma mounts. The lens incorporates Sigma’s original OS (Optical Stabiliser) technology that allows you to use shutterspeeds four stops slower than normal. It incorporates a HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which ensures a quiet and high-speed autofocus, as well as full-time manual focus override.
Olympus Viewer 2 The Olympus Viewer 2 is an image and movie editing software that has been specially designed for the Olympus E-system and PEN series of cameras. The software is a successor to Olympus Master 2 and Olympus Studio 2. It also allows you to edit RAW images and apply Art Filter effects to the photographs. According to the company, the software will be available as a free download from Olympus’s website from early May 2010.
Theme winners pose with the judge of the final face-off, Prakash Tilokani. Also seen in the photograph are Lakshmi Narasimhan, CEO-Publishing-Infomedia18 Limited; P N Raghuvir, Vice President-Marketing-Kodak India and K Madhavan Pillai, Editor-Better Photography.
etter Photography in association with Kodak organised India’s first ever wedding photography contest, Wedding Photographer of the Year 2009 Awards. The contest showcased the talent of wedding photographers who are passionate about capturing moments and make them timeless. To cover the wide range of emotions, relationships and moments associated with weddings, the contest invited entries on Bridal Portraiture, Couple Portraiture, Behind the Scenes, Emotions, Family & Friends and even a Photo Series on a Single Wedding. Six of the biggest names in the wedding photography industry
chose the theme winners, while wedding photography maestro Prakash Tilokani was the final judge. Six finalists were chosen from 8,000 entries after an elaborate judging process. The winners were presented a common shooting situation—to shoot a couple in the midst of an elaborate wedding set. The finalists were allotted an hour each, with the theme being Magical Moments with a Wedding Couple. Pune-based photographer Ranjan Zingade emerged as the winner of the Wedding Photographer of the Year 2009 award. Zingade had won the Emotions category and carved a place for himself in the finals.
Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies. Diane Arbus (1923-1971) Born to Jewish American parents, Diane Arbus was an iconic American photographer and writer noted for her strange and disturbing images. These were black and white photographs of a minority of people who seemed deviant, ugly, abnormal or surreal. They included people like dwarves, giants, transvestites, nudists and circus performers. Arbus, prone to depressive episodes and violent mood swings, took her own life in 1971. A year after her suicide, she became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale, a major art exhibition held in Italy. Millions of people viewed travelling exhibitions of her work and a 2006 film called ‘Fur’, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story.
Image source: Allan Arbus/The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC
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Carl Zeiss Cine Lenses for DSLRs Carl Zeiss has made a unique line of lenses, specially for shooting HD video on DSLRs. These lenses are available in focal lengths from 18mm to 85mm. The Compact Prime CP.2 lens covers a full-frame 24 X 36 image format without vignetting. The line of lenses will be based around a common aperture of T2.1 for the standard set, which is an improvement over the first generation of lenses. These lenses are available in the Canon EF and Nikon F mount. They will be available from June 2010.
Sigma Photo Pro 4.0 Sigma Photo Pro 4.0 is the latest image processing software for users of the Foveon sensor cameras. The software supports Sigma’s DP1 and DP2 compacts and their DSLR models SD9, SD10, and SD14. This new version offers great amounts of file information and basic navigation.
GetOlympus App for iPhone and iPad 18
If you are an Olympus user and own an iPhone, iPod, or an iPad, this is an application for you. The GetOlympus application enables users to access offers and promotions, tips, a list so you can save your favourite photographs and news. The app also includes a user gallery that showcases images submitted by the users.
Eye-Fi Connect X2 and Explore X2 The Eye-Fi Connect X2 and Explore X2 join the Pro X2 as Eye-Fi’s new family of products, each with Class 6 performance, an 802.11n radio for significantly faster uploads and Endless Memory mode. The “X2” family of Eye-Fi cards have faster wireless photo and video uploads, improved performance, and virtually endless storage capacity with Endless Memory mode.
GigaPan Epic Pro motorized panorama head Gigapan systems is a well-known name in manufacturing motorised panoramic head. The new design is designed to meet the challenges thrown at it by the most demanding photographers. The Multiple Triggering Option allows the EPIC Pro to take multiple pictures at each image location up to 20 times per position for exposure bracketing or multiple image enhancements. As many as 360 panoramic images are possible with the head rotation of -65/+90 tilt. Better Photography
Adobe Announces Photoshop Creative Suite 5 T he multimedia giant, Adobe, officially launched Photoshop CS5 on 12 April 2010. The changes made to the software this time around eclipse the ones which were made in the CS4 version. The newest Photoshop CS5 implements features like a new RAW converter, one step as content duplication function and others which aid in selection, painting, and high dynamic range (HDR) photography. Another important improvement in CS5 is in the Lens Correction feature. In this version, Adobe has focussed on the potentially time-consuming and tedious job of making selections by enhancing the Refine Edge tool. The software is priced at USD 699 (approx. Rs.31,100) and the extended version of Photoshop is for USD 999 (approx. Rs. 44,450).
TIPA Announces Imaging Awards for 2010 T
echnical Image Press Association (TIPA) Awards are recognised as the most coveted photo and imaging awards worldwide. TIPA was founded in 1991 as an independent, non-profit association of European photo and imaging magazines. Every year, TIPA editors vote for the best photo and imaging products introduced in the market during the previous 12 months. The awards take into account innovation, the use of leading-edge technology, design and ergonomics, ease-of-use, as well as price/performance ratio. Canon took away five awards including Best DSLR in the Advanced and Expert categories for the EOS 550D and 7D respectively while the Nikon D3S was named as the best professional DSLR. Adobe won the best photo software award for the sixth time for its image editing software Photoshop CS5. • Best Photo Software: Adobe Photoshop CS5 • Best D-SLR Advanced: Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i • Best Expert Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot G11 • Best D-SLR Expert: Canon EOS 7D • Best Rugged Compact Camera: Casio EXILIM EX-G1 • Best Superzoom Camera: Fujifilm
FinePix HS10 • Best Imaging Innovation: Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D Technology • Best Photo Bag: Vanguard UP-Rise series • Best Medium Format D-System: Hasselblad H4D-40 • Best D-SLR Entry Level: Pentax K-x • Best Special Award: The Impossible Project • Best Prestige Camera: Leica M9 • Best Accessory: Manfrotto RC2 Joystick Heads, series • Best Flash System: Multiblitz PROFILUX PLUS, series • Best Professional Lens: Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II • Best D-SLR Professional: Nikon D3S • Best Compact System Camera Entry Level: Olympus PEN E-PL1 • Best Compact System Camera Advanced: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G2 • Best Storage Media: SanDisk Extreme Pro, series • Best Entry Level Lens: Sigma 17–70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM • Best Expert Lens: Sony 28–75mm f/72.8 SAM • Best Compact Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5V m ay 2 0 1 0
How We Test Product Categorisation We first segregate products into categories for the purpose of equitability in testing. The DSLR is divided into entrylevel, semi-professional and professional categories. For compacts, we distinguish between advanced and basic compact cameras. Similarly, we also test consumer and pro lenses, flashguns, printers, and other photographic accessories and gear.
The Process We primarily test for features, performance, build, ergonomics, warranty and support. While this remains constant, the weightage we give to these parameter differs from category to category, because different types of consumers have diverse expectations from products.
Final Ratings Under each main parameter, we 34 list out hundreds of individual variables (for eg. colour accuracy for individual colours in different lighting, individual features, dynamic range, center-to-edge definition, light fall-off, etc.) against which we either give points or simply mark ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Thus, we arrive at a score for that parameter, and then, the final score, denoted as a percentage. Additionally, based on the current pricing of a product, a star rating for ‘Value for Money’ is considered. Value for Money does not affect the final percentage, because prices for products change constantly.
Canon EOS 550D
A Legacy Of Vision
Our Seals of Approval Any product that scores 80% or higher in individual tests gets Weightage of ‘BP Recommended’—a seal parameters of approval from our team. In comparison tests, we also tag products as ‘BP Best Performer’ 5% and ‘BP Best Value 15%for Money’.
BP Excellence Awards
20% At the end of the calendar year, 30% the five highest rated products in each category automatically gets nominated for the ‘Better Features Photography Excellence Awards’. Performance A panel of experts then decide the Build Quality winners. This is BP’s recognition of Ergonomics the very best products launched Warranty & in the course of the year, and the Support companies that made them. Better Photography
Weightage of parameters
Features Performance Build Quality Ergonomics Warranty & Support
A higher resolution, Full HD video functionality and many other high-end features—Shridhar Kunte finds out what exactly makes the Canon EOS 550D special.
anon has been very aggressive in the upper entry-level DSLR segment, and they continue this tradition with the 550D. The launch of this camera has set a new point of reference, in terms of the sheer amount of features that can be packed into an inexpensive camera. It shares a number of features with the high-end Canon EOS 7D. So I was keen to see if it matches up in performance too.
Features The Canon EOS 550D is an 18MP DSLR camera that incorporates an APS-C sized sensor that is similar to the one that is used in the Canon EOS 7D. This sensor features condensed circuitry with improved sensitivity and increased capacity of the photodiodes, which enables shooting at high ISO and prevents overloading when shooting in bright conditions. The EOS 550D is the most inexpensive camera that m ay 2 0 1 0
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7
Touch and Control
In the crowded space of slim, touchscreen cameras, Shridhar Kunte finds that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX7 stands out. Find out how...
T Weightage of parameters 10% 15% 15%
Features Performance Build Quality Ergonomics Warranty & Support Better Photography
he first camera in the T series of ultra compact cameras was introduced as far back as early 2003. Since then, Sony has really given this line of cameras a makeover, by making it tinier and packing more features for the user. The Sony Cyber-shot TX7 is an ultra slim touchscreen camera that takes things a step further by adding a number of features that are commonly found in more expensive cameras.
Features The TX7 has a 10.2MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor and a 4x zoom lens, starting at 25mm. This makes the camera very useful for day-to-day usage, and the wide focal length also helps you shoot subjects like architecture, landscapes and while shooting in cramped
environments. It is also admirable that Sony managed to pack in a lens this wide in an ultra slim camera like this one. The camera has a useful Handheld Twilight mode for low-light shooting and also includes an updated version of the Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode, which does a more efficient job of shooting panoramas by ensuring that moving subjects are not chopped off. The TX7 also captures 1080i Full HD video. Since the camera is so small, its flash unit is equally small, and has a usable flash range of only up to 6 feet.
Handling The TX7 is a really tiny camera which can easily be slipped into your shirt pocket and carried along. A majority of its tiny body is occupied by a large 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD. The LCD is big and
What’s in the box • Sony DSC-TX7 • AV Cable • Paint Pen • Rechargeable Battery (NP-BN) • USB Cable • CD-ROM m ay 2 0 1 0
Nikkor AF-S 70–200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
A Heavyweight Stunner Raj Lalwani tests the Nikkor AF-S 70–200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, to see if this versatile lens delivers the quality expected from an expensive pro lens.
T Weightage of parameters 10% 15% 15% 25%
Features Performance Build Quality Ergonomics Warranty & Support Better Photography
he high-end f/2.8 zoom lenses that Nikon had announced in the late 90s and early 2000s were considered to be flawless performers… up until a few years ago. In truth, they were rather soft in the corners, and also showed a lot of vignetting. However, these problems were often hidden because Nikon did not produce a full-frame DSLR at that time and the smaller sensors in DX cameras eliminated these problem areas due to the crop factor. When Nikon finally announced the D3 in 2007, things were put into perspective. As the problems began to stand out, photographers demanded higher-quality lenses from the company. This led to a complete redesign of the f/2.8 zoom lenses. The first two lenses that came out of this exercise were the Nikkor 14–24mm f/2.8 and the Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8. The latest version to have hit the market is the Nikkor AF-S 70–200mm f/2.8G ED VR II.
Features The lens has a rather exotic optical design, that includes seven ED glass elements and Nano Crystal Coating. This helps minimise flare even in extreme backlit situations. You can switch between two VR modes— Active and Normal, depending on whether you want the lens to correct panning motion or not. The focus limiter settings have been changed too. As compared to the previous lens that had a 2.5m to infinity setting, you can now limit AF between 5m and infinity. This is useful for those who will be using the lens from a distance, for shooting subjects like sports or wildlife. Surprisingly, while shooting at 200mm, at the minimum focusing distance of the lens, the actual field of view is much wider than the 200mm end of the original 70–200mm. It is as wide as 135 or 140mm when standing close to the subject! This phenomenon is called ‘focus breathing’ and is restricted only to close-up shooting. According to Nikon, this is due
P lu s • Excellent optics • Great build and ergonomics • VR works well Minus • Field of view at close distances • No AF-stop button m ay 2 0 1 0
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Searching for Perfection Adobe Photoshop CS5 was released worldwide barely a few days ago. However, for the past three weeks, Raj Lalwani has been taking it through the grind for a very exclusive test report.
he May 2009 issue of Better Photography had us proclaiming Adobe Photoshop CS4 as the ultimate in image editing. Exactly a year later, CS4 is passĂŠ, and the world was speculating about the various new features that CS5 would incorporate. While the software was announced by the company on April 12, we got our hands on the fully licensed software three weeks before the announcement. The Automated Lens Correction tool removes aberrations automatically by detecting the lens that has been used.
The Magical Fill Unlike Adobe Photoshop CS4 that was a refined but subtle upgrade, Photoshop CS5 brings a lot of new things to the table.
Most new features have been designed to make things faster and easier for the photographer. The Puppet Wrap tool, for instance, can even reshape arms, trunks and other loose objects. This tool can also change the pose of your model if she is posing against a plain background! HDR imaging has been improved to a large degree, and there is also a new HDR Toning feature that uses tonemapping and contrast adjustment to make an HDR image from a single JPEG file. The feature that has been generating the most hype is Content Aware Fill, that intelligently heals, clones and even replaces large subjects in a matter of minutes.
Photoshop CS5 has some exciting features like the unique Content Aware Fill and Automated Lens Correction tool.
Weightage of parameters
All photographs by Raj Lalwani
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40% 30% Features Ease of Use Performance Better Photography
Sho ot ing T echniq ue
Shadow Theatre Everywhere we go, shadows are constant companions. As photographers, we often fail to notice their form and beauty. Shobhan describes 20 easy ways to capture shadows.
Mornings and evening sunlight throws long, exaggerated shadows. To make them seem darker and longer, let the shadow dominate the foreground and expose for the highlights.
he very meaning of the word ‘photography’ is drawing with light. In some places around the world, photography is also depicted as the recording of shadows. In Hindi, photography is called ‘chhaya-chitra-kala’, or the art of creating pictures using shadows. Renaissance painters from Italy coined the term ‘chiaroscuro’ for the use of contrasts in shade
and light to create mood. Indeed, shadows are just as much a part of a photograph as highlights and they can be used to make stunning photographs. Observation is the key to capturing shadows well. They can vary greatly depending on the time of the day and change according to the position and type of light. Here are some great ideas to get you started.
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Photo Graphics Create a graphic quality in photos
Shades in Geometry Light, form & colour in urban architecture
A Dual Reality Exploring the illusory world of reflections
Arches, corridors and grills make great subjects for shadows. IfÂ the building is close by, it is worthwhile to keep visiting it through the year. Shadows change depending on the relative position of the sun. m ay 2 0 1 0
Sho ot ing T echniq ue
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Sho o t ing T echnique
Photo Graphics D
aily life brings us in contact with things like doors, windows, shutters, road markers and so on. But, we rarely pay any attention to them. If you observe closely, you will notice geometrical forms like lines, circles and triangles in these seemingly ordinary articles of daily use. At a road crossing you can find geometry in a traffic signal, m ay 2 0 1 0
in zebra stripes, even in overhead wires. You may wonder how to go about spotting shapes and lines. We explain how you can make use of similar, day-to-day shapes and lines to make great pictures.
Find Geometric Shapes Look around and identify the shape of every object that you see. You will see
A striking yellow wall against a deep blue window make for a strong colour contrast. The sharp lines of the wall and the window-grid form a similar pattern. Better Photography
Ambarin Afsar tells you how you can capture shapes, lines and contours present in your everyday surroundings, to introduce a graphical quality in your images.
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My assignment needed me to capture geometrical shadows, and then darken those shadows further in post-processing.
Shades of Geometry
Gianni Galassi points his camera at different forms of urban architecture and explores the magic of light, colour, shapes, shadows and form. Better Photography
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My Assignment Description To capture the geometrical relationship between light and shadow by shooting architecture.
Duration It is a work in progress—I have been working on this project since over five years.
A small camera never weighs you down, and is convenient when travelling to find the best possible location.
Zoom in close to your subject and concentrate on the details, to make stark, graphical images.
I often spend hours observing the surfaces of industrial buildings, noting the shapes formed by the play of light.
hotography is the best way to find out what a person likes. The things that he really likes always come through in his photographs, in terms of the subjects he shoots and the way in which he shoots them. Images help you identify his feelings, thoughts, vision and obsessions.
Over the years, my true obsession has been the geometrical relationship between light and shadow. m ay 2 0 1 0
Over the years, my true obsession has been the geometrical relationship between light and shadow. When I started shooting this assignment, I realised that certain subjects suit this kind of photography a lot more. Industrial buildings have been an ideal canvas for my images. These structures have an inherent beauty that literally explodes when the right kind of light kisses their surface. Civilian architecture can also look beautiful, as long as there is no human presence within the frame. Earlier, I was comfortable shooting only rectangular images—after all, we all watch television shows and movies on rectangular screens. My thinking changed when I joined Flickr.com, the popular photo sharing website. I slowly learnt the discipline of maintaining balance in a square frame, and have used that format for this assignment since then.
to work. So if it is a dull day, I sit at home, editing photographs. My images comprise stark shadows that strongly depend on the time of day. I go out early in the morning, when the sun is low on the horizon. When such light hits one side of the architecture, it creates a contrasty shadow area on the other side. I have made a habit of noting down any interesting places I come across. Then, based on this ‘research’, I sometimes deliberately choose these locations for my shoots. Sometimes, I go back to the same place a number of times, in different lighting situations. On other occasions, I simply come across a beautiful piece of architecture serendipitously. Most importantly, I always carry a camera with me, whether I plan to shoot or not. Framing is a very important part of my photographs. I recently discovered that the Live View mode in today’s digital cameras can be very useful; I never liked it before. It gives me an uninhibited approach to framing that I did not have earlier. But I
Shutters make excellent subjects. Their grey tones work well, especially when combined with a strong primary colour.
The Process The two most important things for my project are light and location—I need a good amount of sunlight for the image Better Photography
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A Dual Reality
The world in reflections can be both real and illusory. Suresh Narayanan attempts to capture the magical duality of the reflected and the reflection.
My Assignment Description To capture the innumerable reflections found on natural as well as artificial reflective surfaces
Duration It is an ongoing project.
Notes While shooting reflections, concentrate on highlights rather than shadows. Ensure that the blacks and whites in the image are exposed correctly. Better Photography
hotographs of reflections bewitch and dazzle people. My interest in reflections sparked off way back in 1998, while I was shooting a Ganapati procession in Pune. One of the chariots in the procession was decorated with colourful neon lights. I noticed that the Ganapati idol was kept on an uneven, highly reflective surface. The distorted reflection of the neon lights was creating colourful abstract
patterns. Every time I moved slightly, IÂ saw a unique pattern form on the uneven surface. I was amazed and shot a number of pictures from various angles. ThisÂ chance encounter left me captivated by reflections and led to an ongoing series of images on these gleaming marvels.
My Perspective The incident with the Ganapati procession left me thinking that everything we m ay 2 0 1 0
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The frame is divided into two equal halves by the horizon line. A line of trees receding towards the left, give a sense of depth. The dark foreground adds to the feel of the entire image. Exposure: 1/20sec at f/5.6 m ay 2 0 1 0
Prof i l e
Entitled ‘Gateway of India - Durbeenwallahs’, this is Chirodeep’s favourite image amongst those he has shot so far. It is also on the opening page of his website. Better Photography
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My Best Shot
Amit Ashar On his favourite image
James Waterhouse The earliest chronicler of India
Ashish Raje Profile How Mumbai’s cloth mills are fast vanishing
The Non-Conformist Chirodeep Chaudhuri
• He considers his first photograph as his best image yet. • After years of documenting Mumbai’s local trains, he forgot his backpack in one of the compartments and lost all his gear. • The walls in his house have a large poster of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup and one that carries the motto of Life magazine.
In a freewheeling chat with Raj Lalwani, Chirodeep Chaudhuri debates the importance of style, content and ideas in modern-day photography.
hirodeep Chaudhuri had a sip of his black coffee and looked up, searching for the right words. “The problem, you know, with most photographers is that they only shoot images. There is not much of a thought process as to why
they are doing a particular thing,” he said. With that curious beginning to an interview that lasted over eight hours, the National Photo Editor of Time Out magazine started to talk about his views on photography and why he thinks that the medium is still not evolved in India.
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James Waterhouse Ambarin Afsar explores the extraordinary photographic career of James Waterhouse, an exemplary man acknowledged by his peers as the ‘father of photo-mechanical work’.
hile peeling through the pages of history, I am drawn into the great saga that is the life and times of James Waterhouse. It leaves me in awe of Waterhouse’s remarkable efforts to document Central India’s people in the late 1800s—a period when photography was taking its first halting steps. While viewing Waterhouse’s pictures, it is impossible not to feel the same photographic curiosity, interest and reverence that he must have felt as he studied his subjects. From his early years in India in the 1860s to his technical achievements in the 1900s—Waterhouse left a rich photographic legacy for future generations to come. It is this inheritance that has given us one of the earliest records of the people and history of Central India.
An Ascent into Photography The son of a London solicitor, Waterhouse applied for cadetship in the Bengal Artillery of the Indian Army. Photography was a part of the curriculum at the Addiscombe Military Seminary where he trained from 1857–59. But he did not take up photography until after his arrival in India. The young Lieutenant was soon dispatched to Calcutta (present day Kolkata), India and later posted at Meerut, Uttar Pradesh where he acquired his first camera. He described it as “a half-plate set made of the good old French walnut wood, and, though it was not brass bound, it stood the hot dry climate wonderfully well.”
Early Practical Experiments Waterhouse’s early photographic efforts were made towards calotype and waxed-
James Waterhouse, Bhe elalahs (Sehore), Albumen Silver Print, 28 Nov. 1862, 127 x 161 mm
“The photographer need only choose between the sciences and the graphic arts. In all there is something for him to do.”
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Bourne & Shepherd, Portrait of Nawab Sultan Shah Jehan Begum Sahiba, Albumen Silver Print, 1872, 340 x 267 mm m ay 2 0 1 0
Left: The negative image of a still scene through Wet Glass Plate Collodion Right: The positive image attained through contact printing, which appears reversed on production.
The Negative Story Sukruti Staneley takes a step back into the development of the negative, its invention and milestones that begin as early as 1727.
rofessor Johann Heinrich Schulze was experimenting with light sensitivity in his lab one day, when all of a sudden he noticed something unusual. All he did was mix some chalk, nitric acid and silver in a flask, when the matter instantly darkened. He wondered how this could happen. Then to his amazement he realised that it was simply the exposure to light that resulted in this phenomenon. This accidental discovery in 1727 was to become the basis of the negative as we know it today.
The Negative Beginning
An accidental discovery in 1727 was to become the basis of the negative as we know it today, a 100 years before photography was invented. Better Photography
Almost 100 years after Schulze’s experiment, William Henry Fox Talbot was in the process of conducting photographic experiments. He had a carpenter who would create various cameras for him. The tiniest camera that he created resembled a ‘mousetrap’. Talbot used it to create the first ever negative—the oldest surviving one today. Around the same time, Louis-JacquesMandé Daguerre, a professional scene painter for the opera, began experimenting with lighting effects. Using the camera obscura, he painted different scenes in one
perspective, but somehow he could not preserve the image. To solve this problem he invented the daguerreotype camera. However, he was not able to reproduce a copy of a picture without going through the entire process again—his pictures were unique and no copies could be made. Once again, Fox Talbot saved the day, when he found a way to reproduce pictures without going through the whole tedious process. He took the original photographs and coated them with a magic potion: silver iodide. He pressed the original photograph onto another sheet, and that created the second copy of the original image. A hero in his own true sense, we now call that process the Talbotype.
Paper to Glass A few years later, Frederick Scott Archer, a young man born in Hertfordshire, England, left home because he did not want to end up as a butcher like his father and older brother. He ventured into the big city of London and started to work as an apprentice under a silversmith. But the art of sculpting stole his heart, and he began his journey down that road. But he faced some obstacles—he could not capture an image of his subject to reproduce them as sculptures. This was m ay 2 0 1 0
The Continuous Wheel Process
A series of experiments and discovery of new processes mark the milestones of modern photography.
because of the poor quality of the Talbotype. This led him to discover a new process, where instead of using paper, he found that glass was steady and the quality of pictures was improved. Using a thick solution he produced pictures through a process called Wet Glass Plate Collodion.
Candy-coated Chemicals Richard Leach Maddox, an English physician and an amateur photographer, employed the Wet Glass Plate Collodion process to do microphotography. During his photographic experiments, he realised that he had to inhale a lot of the dangerous chemical called ‘ether’, which was mainly used in the process and proved to be harmful for him. His solution? Candies seemed to be the perfect answer! He suggested that by coating the glass with the transparent substance used to make candies, the harmful fumes would be reduced. This brilliant idea not only solved the problem, but now the wet plate became dry, which made it easier to work with. Additionally, the plate no longer needed to be developed immediately; they could be placed in compact cameras and were also portable. This was a giant leap in the world of photography.
Pictures Crack into Flexible Films George Eastman, a high school dropout, supported his entire family since the
Kodak developed the continuous wheel process for manufacturing a transparent film base, which had previously been coated on long tables. This was the first flexible negative film roll in the history of photographic film.
tender age of 14. After working as a junior clerk in an insurance agency he managed to save up enough money for a vacation trip to Santo Domingo. But when he decided that he would document the trip, he discovered photography. For him, the equipment he would have to carry was so huge—a ‘microwave-sized camera’ and ‘a horse load of production stuff’. He could not make the trip, but he invested that money and time in making photography simpler. The Wet Glass Plate Collodion process resulted in microscopic cracks on the plate and was incredibly fragile. After three years of experimentation, Eastman finally developed what we now call the ‘negative film’, a transparent flexible film that could preserve the image captured, before it would be processed. He even introduced a brand new Eastman Kodak camera that could use rolls of the negative film instead of single sheets of paper. This camera went on to become a model for the cameras existing today. Today, the influence of Schulze’s accidental discovery has transformed photography, making it simpler from level to level. It began the series of experiments and discovery of new processes that have marked the milestones of modern photography.
A Chronological Picture of the Development of the Negative
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1727: J Schulze mixes chalk, nitric acid, and silver. He notices darkening on the side of flask exposed to sunlight. This led to the first photo-sensitive compound.
1830: William Henry Fox Talbot, the ‘Father of Modern Photography’, invents the first positive/negative process for producing photographs.
1841: Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. This is known as the calotype process.
1851: Frederick Scott Archer improves resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton in ether and alcohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass.
1855-57: James Ambrose creates a direct positive image on glass (ambrotypes) and metal (tintypes or ferrotypes), which became popular in the US.
1871: Richard Leach Maddox, an English doctor, proposes the use of an emulsion of gelatine and silver bromide on a glass plate, dubbed as the ‘dry plate’ process.
1889: George Eastman invents the first of its kind negative transparent and flexible film and a Kodak camera that uses rolls of film instead of paper.
1907: Lumiere brothers in France patented a colour photography process, the “Autochrome Lumière”, launched in the market, using Autochrome plates.