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VISUAL MUSINGS: THE MUCH DEBATED BABA RAMDEV COVER

REMEMBERING BILL CUNNINGHAM

www.betterphotography.in

Better Technique. Better Insight. Better Pictures

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Bill Cunningham Thomas Sauvin Bandeep Singh Felice Beato Joshua Sariñana

THE THRILL OF SHOOTING

ON THE GO Traffic trails, silent alleys, bustling trains & photos shot along the road less taken

BOOK REVIEW

Kaushal Parikh's self published 'Fragments of a Spinning Rock'

ON ASSIGNMENT

Christopher Forsyth's look at metro stations worldwide

FRAME THE STAR

Our selection of the strongest photos from the first round

CAMERA REVIEWS

The BP verdict on the much awaited Canon EOS-1D X II

IDE INS

(Total 164 pages)

TS IGH HY INS AP & GR TS TO ES HO FT EP SO N GE HO PA LLP 24 N CE O

August 2016 • Rs. 150


discovering the Wonderful Joy of Books

editorial

“There is a beauty to an old book, or even an old paperback novel, which you will certainly not find with an old iPad.”

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There is something about books that make you feel you’ve come home, or that you’ve arrived at a point in life where the good things make a difference. To enjoy a good book, you need to make it an occasion—an event for which you make an appointment with yourself. Sit down. Take the book in your hands. Look at the covers. Open it. If the book is large, it may not open all the way and you must respect that. You may also need to cradle it so that its own weight does not damage the bind. Carefully ‘collect’ a page from the top right corner. Use just the tips of your fingers to turn it over, to prevent the inevitable oils on the skin from causing smudges. Turn, but never flip, or the paper may crack. Now, immerse yourself into what the book has to offer. Mull over. Reflect. Bring in all your thoughts, experiences and memories to relate to the writing or photography therein. Revel in the connections that occur. The journey you are now a part of may take you thousands of miles away, perhaps to a different time. In a single moment, you will know more than you have ever before. A cup of Earl Grey or adrak chai would help put things into the correct perspective. A phone or tablet cannot really replace a book. You can never luxuriate in the touch and smell of paper, or appreciate a certain size or format, or quality of print, on a tablet. Books age. And if you keep them carefully, they age gracefully. There is a beauty to an old book, or even an old paperback novel, which you will certainly not find with an old iPad. Would you feel the same way about an old ebook or PDF, that someone someplace happened to email, sometime, as an attachment? For that matter, would you feel any sense of attachment at all? But to take a little bit of extra trouble to hand over a book to someone... there is joy in the act, for both giver and receiver. Many photographers love the idea of publishing a book. A few of those that are eventually produced become collectibles, because photobooks are printed in small numbers. Even more precious are the single editions—family photo albums and personal memoirs. There is something classic and timeless about them. Yet, unlike the billions of unseen photos preserved pixel by pixel within the electronic haze of the net, books age, some fade, yet others are lost to be found again by strangers. Perhaps it is this very nature that make them resemble photographers and photography.

K Madhavan Pillai

editor@betterphotography.in

Editta Sherman on the Train to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden by Bill Cunningham, Silver Gelatin Print

Extremely humble and generous despite not having any material wealth to speak of, Bill had the purity and simplicity of ideal that most aspire to follow. The streets of New York was his second home, where he made thousands of photos of everyday fashion. “If you don’t take their money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid”, he would say. He passed away on 25 June 2016.

To read more about Bill Cunningham’s extraordinary life and vision— Turn to page 112 Better PhotograPhy

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For Your Pictures, Reader’s Gallery and Reader’s Tip: Visit http://betterphotography.in/contests and register yourself on the website Participate in the relavant contests on the page. There will always be a contest open for you to take part in! For Reader’s Gallery contests, make sure the images have been made using a cellphone For Reader’s Tip and Your Pictures contests, include a 100-word note on how and why you shot the image Winners of all the contests get featured on our website and can be featured in the magazine too. They will also receive special prizes!

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To have your images reviewed by our panel of experts: photocritique@betterphotography.in To showcase your best photographs: entries@betterphotography.in To contribute articles and for questions on photography: editor@betterphotography.in For your suggestions, appreciation and criticism on the magazine: feedback@betterphotography.in Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd (Network18)*, its publisher and/or editors. We at Network18 do our best to verify the information published but do not take any responsibility for the absolute accuracy of the information. Network18 does not accept the responsibility for any investment or other decision taken by readers on the basis of information provided herein. Network18 does not take responsibility for returning unsolicited material sent without due postal stamps for return postage. No part of this magazine can be reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher. Network18 reserves the right to use the information published herein in any manner whatsoever.

Published and Printed by Amit Seth on behalf of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd. Editor: K Madhavan Pillai Printed at Indigo Press (India) Pvt. Ltd., Plot # 1 C/716, Off Dadoji Konddeo Cross Road Between Sussex & Retiwala Indl., Estate, Byculla, Mumbai - 400027, & published at Network 18 Media & Investments Ltd., Empire Complex, 1st Floor, 414, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai - 400013. Better Photography is registered with the Registrar of Newspapers of India under No. 69122. Network18 does not take any responsibility for loss or damage incurred or suffered by any subscriber of this magazine as a result of his/her accepting any invitation/offer published in this edition. * Ownership of this magazine stands transferred from Infomedia18 Limited (Infomedia18) to Network18 Media & Investments Limited (Network18) in pursuance of the scheme of arrangement between Network18 and Infomedia18 and their respective shareholders and creditors, as approved by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the necessary approval of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is being obtained.

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August 2016

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68 SnapShots

GearGuide

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Book Review ‘Fragments of a Spinning Rock’ by Kaushal Parikh

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Visual Musings Reading into the Baba Ramdev India Today cover, photographed by Bandeep Singh

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ON THE COVER

Better Technique. Better Insight. Better Pictures

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Bill Cunningham Thomas Sauvin Bandeep Singh Felice Beato Joshua Sariñana

THE THRILL OF SHOOTING

VOL. 20 • NO. 3 • AUGUST 2016

ON THE GO Traffic trails, silent alleys, bustling trains & photos shot along the road less taken Christopher Forsyth's look at metro stations worldwide

FRAME THE STAR

Our selection of the strongest photos from the first round

PHOTOGRAPH: RAJ LALWANI MODEL/ACTOR: TEENA SINGH DESIGN: SANTOSH D KAMBLE

Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8E ED VR The Nikkor pro work horse gets a VR boost

CAMERA REVIEWS

The BP verdict on the much awaited Canon EOS-1D X II

IDE INS

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

www.betterphotography.in

TS IGH HY INS AP & GR TS TO ES HO FT EP SO N GE HO PA LLP 24 N CE O

(Total 164 pages)

ON ASSIGNMENT

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Will the X-factor make its mark again at Rio?

REMEMBERING BILL CUNNINGHAM August 2016 • Rs. 150

Kaushal Parikh's self published 'Fragments of a Spinning Rock'

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Subscriber's copy.

VISUAL MUSINGS: THE MUCH DEBATED BABA RAMDEV COVER

BOOK REVIEW

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CellphonePhotography

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test

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OnePlus 3 Stylish with good specs

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LeEco Le Max 2 Is it a decent successor?

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OPPO F1 Plus 16MP & 13MP, but not where you expect it

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Honor 5C An impressive budget 13MP shooter

Asus ZenFone Max Same phone more power

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Sony FE 24–70mm f/2.8 GM The first pro G Master lens for Sony FE mount

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cellpHoNe tecHNique

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Microtest

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cellpHoNe proFile

Vanguard Up-Rise II 49 and SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive

8 Photography Practices for a Unique Travel Diary Joshua Sariñana Geometric imagery inspired by innate chaos


InFocus

104 BetterPictures

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sHootiNg tecHNique

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oN assigNMeNt

Frame the Star Elegant cars pictured in riveting urbanscapes

ShowCase

104 Thomas Sauvin proFile

Engage in the evolving memories of China

PhotoFinish

162 Chronicling the

story beHiNd tHe picture

Indian Mutiny

Lucas Zimmermann Finding wavelengths of light on empty streets

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Christopher Forsyth Discovering structural finesse of metro stations

great Masters

Bill Cunningham A tribute to the iconic street style photographer

Regulars Feedback ............................................................12 readers’ gallery. ...............................................74 1000 Words ....................................................... 122 your pictures .................................................. 124


Feedback ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton’s spectacular and often outrageous images have made him synonymous with the world of glamour in more ways than one. Sakshi Parikh delves into his extraordinary life.

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he 1970s were very exciting times, especially for the young and restless in Europe. It was an era of liberalisation and the breaking of conventions. Pornography had gone mainstream. Fashion had begun to move in bold, new directions. In the midst of it all, Helmut Newton was already making waves with his pioneering, provocative

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X-Ray, Van Cleef & Arpels, French Vogue, 1994. Helmut wanted to see what was going on ‘under the flesh’. So he took some of his jewellery clad models to a radiologist. The jewels disappeared, leaving only the bone structure and metal settings.

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BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

A few weeks ago, as I was passing my local newstand, I spotted Helmut Newton’s famous and unforgettable photograph on the cover of Better Photography’s July 2016 issue. As I scanned through the pages, I was surprised to see that it featured some of the biggest names in the fashion photogrpahy industry. I couldn’t wait to finish reading it. It wasn’t just inspiring to read about each of the fashion stalwarts, I was also amazed by their relentless dedication to perfecting the craft of photography. It in fact led me to think about how sometimes even while receiving opportunities to indulge ourselves in creative work, we have somehow become quite blasé about it. And although we do get the job done, at times we lack the enthusiasm and the drive to create something out of our individual perspectives, even if it means challenging the present norms and trends of the medium. It’s too easy to fall into a slump, but with inspiration all around us, it all comes down to how we make use of it. BP’s fashion issue was my spurt of inspiration. Harsh Malhotra, Bengaluru

Feature on Dance Photography I have been subscribing to Better Photography for more than five years now. I appreciate the team’s efforts in bringing forth refreshingly new and inspiring features with every issue. Being a photography enthusiast, I am especially drawn to dance. Dance performances present quite a lot BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

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Yves Saint Laurent, French Vogue, Rue Aubriot, Paris 1975. The architecture and receding street, along with the sexual ambiguity and classic appeal of the model, adds to the timelessness of the image. This look has been attempted by many photographers since.

An Imperative Realisation

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fashion imagery and for pushing the boundaries by making erotic scenarios look chic. His images, which bordered on the voyeuristic, frequently stunned both the fashion and publishing industries with its overtly raw sexual appeal and portrayal of elitist social taboos. Far from shying away, and despite losing subscribers, the leading fashion magazines all wanted him. (facing & alongside):© Helmut Newton Estate / Maconochie Photography

“It’s too easy to fall into a slump. But with inspiration all around us, it all comes down to how we make use of it.”

Send your suggestions, thoughts, and feedback letters to... feedback@betterphotography.in Every month, the ‘Letter of the Month’ will win a special gift from

Helmut Newton’s iconic photographs appeared in the July 2016 issue, as part of a larger story featuring some of the big names in the fashion industry.

of interesting opportunities for making pictures. However, they often take place in areas where the lighting may not be appropriate for photographers, especially when there is a multi-coloured lighting setup. I would appreciate it if BP could do an in-depth article on dance photography and cover the various parameters associated with photographing in low light. Santosh Kumar, Chennai

Fading Sense of Purpose Today, high-end cameras have become more of a popular gifting idea, while its utility is hardly a matter of concern. I see a lot of people using expensive DLSRs as though they are point-andshoot cameras, without ever exploring the settings ur trying to learn about its features. It also seems like with each passing day, less and less thought is put into making a photograph. We just shoot mindlessly without really having any intent, accumulating a digital heap of images that rarely get revisited. This thought struck me after reading K Madhavan Pillai’s Editorial in the March 2015 issue. “What seems to be badly lost is a sense of purpose,” he mentioned. Regaining this lost intent and developing an understanding of framing and composition is essential if we want to get ahead in the line of photography. Ajay Tiwari, Jabalpur

The Story Behind

the Picture

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The story behind the world’s oldest surviving aerial photopgraph was featured in the July 2016 issue. It spoke about how James Wallace Black, from atop a hot air balloon shot a bird’seye view of Boston in the 1800s.

Photograph by: James Wallace Black Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

The Oldest Surviving Aerial Photograph

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ames Wallace Black was in a hot air balloon, 2000 feet above the ground, when he used eight plates of glass negatives to make the very first aerial photographs of Boston, in 1860. He was aided in this endeavour by Samuel Archer King, a ballooning pioneer, who let him use one of his balloons chirstened ‘The Queen of the Air’. However, Black’s photographs were certainly not the first ever aerial images to be shot. Two years prior to his attempt, Gaspard -Félix Tournachon beat him to it by successfully making the first aerial pictures of Paris from atop a hot air balloon in 1858, and is still accredited for his pioneering work in the field of aerial photography. Unfortunately, the photographs he shot no longer exist, lending Black’s work the designation of world’s oldest surviving aerial photographs. Apart from being one of the relics, this picture is especially significant. Much of the area photographed was destroyed in the Great Boston Fire of 1872, and thus remains to be an important evidence of what the city looked like prior to the disaster. Eventually, Black’s photographs caught the attention of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a poet and Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. Holmes went on to title Black’s photograph and called it the Boston, As the Eagle and Wild Goose See It. He also went on to comment on the picture saying, “…As a first attempt it is on the whole a remarkable success; but its greatest interest is in showing what we may hope to see accomplished in the same direction.” As camera technology progressed, Nadar’s and Black’s endeavours paved the way for several aerial photography projects. Two years after Black’s photographs, the Union Army would use balloon photography to spy on Confederate troops during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. Later, during World War I, airplanes with cameras were used for aerial reconnaissance, and in determining enemy positions, supplies and movement. Eventually, the cameras used for aerial photography evolved and were employed in numerous fields like cartography and archeology. J U LY 2 0 1 6

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Reminiscing One’s Roots I grew up in a small town in Rajasthan. My grandfather, being one of the first medical practitioners from the district, was someone who everyone looked up to. He had an eclectic personality, and was always interested in the unconventional. I have fond memories of the mellow winter afternoons, when he would leave all his engagements and take me out for a walk. In one hand he held his film camera which I longed to hold, and the other tightly held onto mine. We would stay out for hours, seeking stories and trying to entwine them in a frame, first in our imaginations a hundred times and then finally pushing the

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shutter of the camera, which always excited me. The resulting photographs were simple and beautiful. Morevoer, the aesthetic sense that his knowledge of science imparted to his vision, added to his compositions. I still cherish the numerous family photographs and picturesque landscape shots he made. Although I was quite young then to realise it, looking back now, I see the impression that the time I spent with my grandfather has had on my sensibilities. I am soon going to take the leap, to delve into the deeper and technical depths of picture-making.

Rithanya Surana, Jaipur

“Fashion, Origins of the Bird’s-Eye View as has been Aerial photography has always managed to enthrall me, and Jassen illustrated time Todorov’s feature in the April 2016 and again by issue of Better Photography was very the greatest inspiring. Rising thousands of feet photographers, above the Earth, to make a picture that is truly a wholesome, unseen is about perspective, was what enamoured me personal taste most about his photographs, apart from and the way his compositions. It hadn’t left my thoughts, and BP one carries came up with another surprise, that is the themselves.” story behind the oldest surviving aerial photograph, in the July 2016 issue. It was heartening to read about how James Wallace Black used a hot air balloon to make images with the photography techniques available back in the 1800s. Zinita Munjal, Mumbai

To New Beginnings... Fashion and style have been a part of my childhood fascinations, and I would spend hours mixing and matching different dress pieces and materials from my mother’s and sister’s wardrobes to create an outfit. For me, Better Photography’s latest fashion issues, have been a treasure trove

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

We believe that the joy of a family photo is in displaying it. To make your special memories stand out, this Letter of the Month wins a special Photo Frame from Red Moments!

of interesting discoveries. My favourite features in the collector’s editions were that of Saul Leiter, Toni Frissell and Shantanu Sheorey. The clothes adorned by the models in the photographs gave me a look into the kind of style that existed then, which are also making a comeback today. Fashion, as has been illustrated time and again by the greatest photographers, is about personal taste and the way one carries themselves. This very aspect is what I aim to emphasise at, with the assignment I have been handed over as part of the fashion course that I am currently enrolled in. I am especially inspired by something that Saul Leiter had mentioned, “Perfection is not something I admire. A touch of confusion is a desirable ingredient.” I plan to call my project Impromptu. Priyanshi Bafna, Pune

Corrigendum The Sony Alpha RX10 III review that was published in the July 2016 issue, was inadvertently mentioned with the incorrect series and focal length. It was the Sony Alpha RX 10 III with 24–600mm f/2.4-4. Also, Sony India offers a 2 year warranty which we unintenionally printed as 3 years. We apologise for this grievous mistake and the errors are highly regretted.

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Snap Shots Iconic Photographer Bill Cunningham Passes Away

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Fujifilm X-T2 The X-T2 features a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor, along with a hybrid AF system that boasts of 325 AF points. The camera body is also dustproof, freezeproof and splash resistant. Other features include 4K video recording, a 3-inch LCD, an ISO range of 100-25,600, and maximum shutterspeed of 1/32,000. The camera body is priced at USD 1599 (approx. Rs. 1 lakh), and along with the lens it will retail for USD I899 (approx. Rs. 1,27,000).

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 aSPH Lens The 12mm f/1.4 lens offers a 24mm equivalent focal length and features a weather-resistant and splash-proof body. It is priced at 1199 pounds (approx. Rs. 1 lakh).

Sony Fe 50mm f/1.4 Za Lens The 50mm f/1.4 lens features a maximum aperture of f/1.4 and a minimum focusing distance of 0.45m. The lens body has been designed to be dust and moisture resistant. It will retail at USD 1500 (approx. Rs. 1 lakh).

DJI Zenmuse Z3 The Z3 houses a 12.4MP 1/2.3-inch Sony sensor and offers 3.5x optical zoom. Its aperture ranges from f/2.8 from the wide end and f/5.2 on the longer end. It also provides 4K video recording at 30fps and saves images as DNG RAW files. The camera is priced at USD 899 (approx. Rs. 60,300).

kerlee 35mm f/1.2 Lens The 35mm f/1.2 lens features a minimum focusing distance of 0.3m, and an optional switchable aperture lock. It will be available for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E and Pentax K mounts.

ast month, the photography community lost some of its most prodigious personalities, whose works have impacted sensibilities across various genres. It’s with a deep sense of loss that we remember these legends through the pages of BP. One of them was Bill Cunningham, who seamlessly combined his love for fashion and street style imagery. He passed away on 25 June. For nearly 40 years, Bill documented countless styles that emerged on the avenues of New York City, which appeared in the spreads of The New York Times. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government in 2008, while in 2009, New York Landmarks Conservancy declared him a living landmark. In 2010, a documentary titled Bill Cunningham New York was made to commemorate his life’s work. “His company was sought after by the fashion world’s rich and powerful, yet he remained one of the kindest, most gentle and humble people I have ever met…”

noted Arthur Sulzberger Jr, Chairman of The New York Times. He preferred to remain obscure and stayed away from the glitz and glamour associated with the fashion industry. Bill was also never someone who sought fame and recognition for his work. He was always observing, and one would almost always find him on his bicycle, riding through the streets, on the lookout for any peculiar fashion trend. According to him, “The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been, always will be.” Turn to page 112 to read his retrospective.

World’s First Medium Format Mirrorless Camera, X1D

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asselblad’s X1D is the world’s first medium format mirrorless camera. It houses a 50MP CMOS sensor in a weather and dust sealed aluminium body, and features a new lens mount for XCD lenses. Other features include a shutterspeed from 60—1/2000th of a second, an ISO range of 100—25,600, 1080/30p HD video recording, along with built-in

WiFi and GPS. It also comes equipped with a 3-inch 920k dot touchscreen and a 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder. The Hasselblad X1D is available with two lens options—the 45mm f/3.5 and the 90mm f/3.2, which provides an equivalent field of view of 35mm and 70mm, respectively. The camera body retails for USD 8995 (approx. Rs. 6,03,000), and USD 11,290 (approx. Rs. 7,57,000) along with the lens kit.

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them. DIane aRBUS (1923 -1971) Diane Arbus, an American photographer and writer, was best known for her work highlighting the marginalised sections of society, in the form of her B&W portraits. She captured her sense of amazement for what was normally perceived as unsightly and eerie. Arbus experienced depressive episodes and violent changes of mood, ultimately leading to her suicide in 1971. A year after her death, she became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. The book Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, is one of the bestselling photography monographs.

Better PhotograPhy

Allan Arbus

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Phase One Blue Ring Zoom Lenses The Schneider Kreuznach’s zoom lenses– 40–80mm LS f/4.0-5.6 and 75–150mm LS f/4.0-5.6 support flash synchronisation up to 1/1600s. Together, they comprise an equivalent zoom range from 40–150mm with a zoom lock function on their barrel. The 40-80mm lens is priced at USD 8990 (approx. Rs. 6 lakhs) and the 75–150mm at USD 5990 (approx. Rs. 4 lakhs).

Meyer-Optik Goerlitz Trimagon 95mm f/2.6 Lens The Trimagon 95mm f/2.6 lens has a filter diameter of 52mm and gives a 25° angular view. It is offered with mounts for Canon, Nikon, Fuji X, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds and the Leica M. It retails for USD 1699 (approx. Rs. 1,14,000).

Panasonic HC-PV100

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The HC-PV100 features a 1/3.1-inch BSI MOS sensor with f/1.8-3.6 aperture, a 5-axis Hybrid optical image stabilisation and 20x optical zoom capacity. It also comes with a built-in LED video light, 3-inch LCD screen and records videos in MOV/MP4 format. The price of the HC-PV100 is Rs. 1,30,000.

Huawei P9

Iranian Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami Dies at 76

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cclaimed filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who was lauded internationally for his exquisite style of filmmaking, passed away on 4 July. Born in Tehran, Kiarostami was one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema. A recipient of the prestigious Palme d’Or award for his film Taste of Cherry (1997), Abbas was known for his knack of combining documentary and fiction into a fascinating narrative. While his work conformed to the constraints imposed by religious and political doctrines of the Iranian regime, it didn’t compromise on the creative intent, which was truly the mark of his dazzling genius. In addition to his film work, Kiarostami attracted global acclaim for photography and poetry. “Photography is the mother of cinema”, he said. It was owing to the 1979 Iran revolution when making films

Duggal Visual Solutions Mourns the Loss of Founder

The phone features a 12MP f/2.2 rear camera and an 8MP front camera, with 1080p video recording. It also comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display powered by a Kirin 955 chipset 1.8GHz octa-core processor. The phone comes in a 3GB and 4GB RAM variants with 32GB and 64GB storage, respectively. The P9 is powered by a 3000mAh battery and retails for Rs. 46,500.

GoPro’s Seeker Backpack Seeker is a lightweight, hydrationcompatible and weather-resistant backpack, featuring 16 liters of storage space. It has a built-in soft line compartment, capable of holding as many as five GoPro cameras. It also comes with a chest and shoulder camera mount to enable shooting while out and about. It retails for USD 169 (approx. Rs. 11,400).

Better PhotograPhy

was difficult that he took to still imagemaking and produced several photographs, which have been exhibited worldwide. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abbas’s fellow Iranian director had this to say, “Kiarostami gave Iranian cinema the international credibility that it has today… He was a man of life, who enjoyed living and made films in praise of life, that’s why it’s so difficult to come to terms with his death.” Abbas is survived by his sons, Ahmad and Bahman.

B

aldev Duggal, the man whose genius led to the invention of the revolutionary ‘dip and dunk’ automated film processing technique, died on 29 July, at the age of 78. Duggal, who was born in Jalandhar, emigrated to the United States in 1957 and succeeded to become one of the front runners in the film processing industry.

After migrating to New York in the 60s, Duggal went through his fair share of struggles. He believed, “Exploring is learning. I wanted to discover my interests and passions. So I found what work I could, eventually realising that if I wanted to reach my dream, I’d need to have my own business.” In 1962, he founded Duggal Color (now called Duggal Visual Solutions) from his USD 200 grubstake. He began by washing prints in a bathtub at his apartment in New York, and over a period of five decades, he transformed the company into a technological innovator that attracted prominent photographers, retailers and advertising agencies. Duggal was revered deeply for his business acumen and inspiring personality.

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e V e n TS 27 July-2 august

Under a Leaf: Smaran

The exhibition is a collection of photographs by Charles Tirkey, who made use of early photographic processes to make pictures of plants. 6 august

Postprocessing workshop

Toehold Seminar Hall, Bengaluru

Toehold is organising a digital postprocessing workshop aimed at amateur and professional photographers. The nine hour workshop, mentored by Rajeev Shyamsundar, will show participants the workings of Adobe Lightroom 5. The enrolment fee is Rs. 4550. For more details about the workshop and to register visit www. toehold.in/workshop-dpp 06 august - 07 august

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Basic Photography workshop

P R O Ta L k Scrim is a translucent device used to diffuse and soften light. It could be a reflector with a translucent panel or a transparent gauze. used in studios, theatres and movie sets, scrims can be made extremely large, in varied shapes, and clamped in place to create shade where there is direct light.

S L Shanth Kumar Bags the Atkins Environment Award

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he results for the Environmental Photographer of the Year contest, jointly sponsored by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and Atkins Global, were announced recently. Sara Lindstrom was declared as the winner of the award and received 3000 pounds (approx. Rs. 2,67,000) for a picture of a forest fire in Alberta. S L Shanth Kumar was the recipient of the Atkins Built Environment award for his image titled Losing Ground to Manmade Disaster. It depicts the damage caused by the sea on Chennai’s coastline. Shanth, who was previously interviewed in Better Photography

14 august- 21 august

Spiti Valley Photo workshop Spiti Valley, Himchal Pradesh

The workshop will be conducted by Zishaan Akbar Latif, and will provide participants ample chances to absorb the landscape, people and culture of the place, and to document it in the form of a visual narrative. For more details and to register visit www. spitiholidayadventure. com/package/spiti-valleyphotos Better PhotograPhy

magazine, will be spending 12 months as a photographer-in-residence in the UK, with an exclusive opportunity to photograph major projects under the Atkins Global. Winners from the other categories include Luke Massey, Sergiu Jiduc, Sandra Hoyn and Pedram Yazdani.

Call for entries category and age group, will receive prizes ranging from vouchers and travel trips, to cash awards. Themes: Mankind—Land, Sea, Sky; Journeys and Adventures; Places and Experiences; Eye to Eye; Wildlife and Nature; Cities—Architecture and Spaces; Shaped by Light; iTravelled iCaptured; Travel Shots. website: www.tpoty.com Deadline: 1 October

Guindy national Park, Chennai

Lets Click is organising a basic photography workshop for photography beginners, aimed at providing them with the basic fundamentals of the camera equipment. The workshop is also geared at helping participants network and meet fellow photography enthusiasts. The cost of the workshop is Rs. 4500.

S L Shanth Kumar

Charles Tickey

India International Centre, new Delhi

International Garden Photographer of the Year Participate in the International Mountain Summit photography contest to win cash prizes worth over 7 lakh Rupees.

International Mountain Summit Photo Contest 2016 The Competition: Organised by the International Mountain Summit, the sixth edition of the IMS photo contest encourages photographers to capture action and adventure found in the serene vicinity of the mountains. Categories: Mountain Nature, Mountain Aerial, Mountain Action and Mountain Faces. Prizes: Three best photographs from each category will receive cash prizes worth a total of 10,300 euros (approx. Rs. 7,63,000). website: www.imsphotocontest.com Deadline: 29 August

Travel Photographer of the Year 2016 The Competition: The contest aims at unveiling the intricacies of travel photography, by providing an opportunity and extensive exposure through valuable inputs from the photography community and the experts in the field. Categories: Portfolio, one shot and young photographer. Prize: The overall winner will receive prizes worth 5750 pounds (approx. Rs. 5 lakhs). Winners in each

The Competition: The contest is organised by the Garden World Images Limited in association with the Royal Botanical Gardens. It specialises in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography. Prizes: Photographer of the best single image will receive the IGPOTY title and 7500 pounds (approx. Rs. 6,50,000), whereas the recipient of the best portfolio entry will be awarded the Royal Photographic Society Gold medal and 2000 pounds (approx. Rs. 1,73,000). entry Fee: 10 Pounds (approx. Rs. 870) for four entries. For participants younger than 16, it is 5 pounds (approx. Rs. 430). website: www.igpoty.com Deadline: 31 October

Global Photography Photo Contest The Competition: The competition aims at providing international exposure to photographers worldwide. Categories: Documentary and Fine Art Prizes: The grand prize winner in each category will receive USD 15,000 (approx. Rs. 10 lakhs). Furthermore, five winners of the Special Collection Awards will each receive USD 1500 (approx. Rs. 1 lakh). website: www.en.g-photography.net Deadline: 28 December au g u st 2 0 1 6


e V e n TS 27 august-7 September

03 September

nikon’s Photo walk Qutab Minar, new Delhi

The event aims at getting photography enthusiasts introduced to the basic nuances of photo-making through monument and nature photography. For more details contact: Naresh at 0124 468 8516 16-18 September

Mumbai art Fest

Coormaraswamy Hall, Mumbai

The event will feature a plethora of fairs and exhibitions of photographs, paintings, sculptures and murals, amongst others. 25 September

Street Photography workshop Pratik Chorge

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Chor Bazaar, Mumbai

Organised by DCP Expeditions, the workshop will focus on shooting the lively streets of Chor Bazaar. Saritha Dattatreya will be the accompanying mentor. Participants are expected to carry their own equipment. It is priced at Rs. 1500.

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Cucalorus is an opaque or translucent material having one or more cutouts that will allow light to pass through. used typically in studios, it is used to project a dappled form or pattern, such as the suggestion of the shadows of tree branches, on the subject and background.

Urban Loneliness Photographer, David Heath, Dies D avid Heath, 85, best known for his work A Dialogue With Solitude, passed away on 27 June in Toronto. Heath had a difficult childhood and the discovery of photography as a teenager became his salvation. After his stint at the US army and Philadelphia Museum School of Art, David moved to New York. His sensitive portraits were well appreciated by critics and curators alike. Feelings of loneliness with a desire for love and affection, which he experienced in his formative years are

Kendall Townend

Canon is organising a photo trip to Ladakh, which will be mentored by Jassi Oberai. The tour will primarily focus on long exposures, landscape, astro and portrait photography. The tour’s fees is Rs. 64,500. For more details visit www.lightchasers.in/ mesmerising-ladakhphoto-tour

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inherently manifested in his artistic vision. Despite being a Guggenheim Grant fellow for two successive years and having his work exhibited in major institutions, he spent most of his life in relative obscurity.

Results for Magnum Photography Awards Announced

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resented in partnership with LensCulture, Magnum’s inaugural photography contest invited images in single and series categories. The winners— Dougie Wallace, Jens Juul, Sandra Hoyn, Aaron Hardin, Mauricio Lima, Julián García, Hannah Modigh, Cris Olivares, Kyle Weeks, Ofir Barak, Asger Ladefoged and Valery Melnikov were awarded with USD 18,000 each. The finalist images are available on Magnum’s website.

Asger Ladefoged

Leh, Ladakh

www.lightchasers.in

Mesmerising Ladakh

Chinese Photographer-Director Fan Ho Passes Away

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ne of Asia’s most influential street photographers Fan Ho, died on 19 June. He was 84. Ho’s street photographs of Hong Kong gathered great acclaim and honors from the international photography fraternity, and were published by The New York Times and the BBC.

Fan’s images were known for their unexpected geometry, layers and shadows. His fascination with impactful lighting was very evident in the impeccable B&W framed narratives he captured. In 2015, one of his photographs, titled Approaching Shadow, was auctioned for USD 48,000 (approx. Rs. 32 lakhs). Fan was also a greatly acclaimed film director and actor, having received numerous laurels on the international stage.

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s naPs hots

“The new Zeiss lenses offer a higher image quality with value for money.”

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Our growth has been consistent over the years which supports and aligns our strategic plans for the Indian market. We have been improving at different levels, from sales to providing an amazing experience for our buyers. The latest Zeiss lenses Umender Shah national Manager, allow their users to get Consumer optics Division, high-quality film recordings Carl Zeiss India Pvt Ltd with soft and cinematic bokeh. With their extremely high contrast rendition, the lenses meet the latest 6K video standards and display uniform color characteristics. Available for both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the six new Zeiss Milvus lenses have a long rotation angle on the focus ring for precise focusing. The ‘de-click’ function in the Z f/2 mount lenses allows to adjust the aperture smoothly in dynamic light conditions. Our growth over the last five years, since we started our Consumer Optics Business group in India has been a success story. With the union between photo and video segment, we see an increase in the demand for professional lenses, including manual focal lenses. Surprisingly, this trend is branching out from India to the rest of the world. As an aim for a promising future, we look forward to excelling in a similar direction, keeping our customers in mind. — as told to Sakshi Parikh

Magnum Announces New Members & Nominees B elgian photographer Bieke Depoorter and French photographer Jérôme Sessini were recently announced as full-time members of Magnum, during the agency’s recently held 69th Annual General Meeting. Through another voting process and set of discussions, Diana Markosian, a 26-year old Armenian-American photographer, along with London-based street photographer Matt Stuart were elected as new nominees to the agency. Diana’s current project titled For Inventing My Father is a highly charged series about seeking her father and reconnecting with him, from whom she was separated when she was merely seven years of age. Matt, on the other hand, is fascinated by people and their lifestyles, which he has been documenting for the last two decades. His recently published work was titled All That Life Can Afford.

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Polaroid’s 20x24 Film to Ismail Ferdous Wins the be Discontinued in 2017 Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Grant

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ohn Reuter, the owner of the Massachusettsbased 20x24 Studio, announced that it is time for the historic Polaroid format to end. This is due to the expensiveness in its processing as well as in running it as a business along with the indomitable popularity of digital world, John revealed. The 20x24, currently being the world’s only studio producing this film, marks the end of an era. Polaroid 20x24 film, is especially unique owing to its humongous size (about 360 times larger than a 35mm film) and instant nature. This made it an enchanting format for photography enthusiasts worldwide and hence this a hearbreaking closure.

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haka-based photographer Ismail Ferdous was recently awarded the prestigious Manuel RiveraOrtiz Grant of USD 5000 for his project After Rana Plaza. It was named after an eightstoreyed garment factory, Rana Plaza, in Bangladesh that collapsed in 2013, badly affecting thousands of lives. The project aims at documenting human exploitation and unsafe working conditions in such industries, which is an unavoidable and pressing issue in developing countries. Ferdous aims to bring out stories of struggle and survival through testimonies of the victims and their families, with the help of stills and audio.

Supreme Court of India Summons Manik Katyal T he Apex Court of India issued a notice on 4 July summoning Manik Katyal, curator and Editorin-Chief of Emaho, asking him for an explanation as to why he had filed a civil defamation suit against 36 people and intermediaries who had brought up allegations of sexual harassment by him. In October 2015, British photographer and writer Colin Pantall had written a blog post on sexual harassment in the photography industry. The post didn’t mention names, but was shared several times. Soon after, on 4 November 2015, Emaho set up a Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Committee, an act that drew intense criticism, since Katyal himself was allegedly a perpetrator. The outrage over the hypocrisy led to several photographers openly accusing Katyal as a serial offender, with some of the women he had allegedly harassed even identifying themselves in testimonies on social media, and on a blog titled ‘I Was Harassed by Manik Katyal’. This was followed by an FIR against him,

filed in April, and complaints to the DCW and NCW. Katyal’s defamation suit against those who spoke out was labelled by the defendants’ lawyers as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), a use of law that has, in the past, been seen by others accused of sexual harassment. According to the petitioners, Katyal was trying to “silence more than 20 young woman professionals who have complained against him, as well as their supporters”. The defendant’s lead advocate, Karuna Nundy, petitioned to have the case moved to Delhi, after which the SC asked Katyal to appear before it. In a statement to Better Photography, Emaho Creation Pvt Ltd said, “While we deny the allegations made against Manik Katyal, as the same is more of a planned smear campaign against him, for vested of a few, it would be at the same time inappropriate to comment on Manik Katyal’s case as it is subjudice. Manik Katyal hopes and prays that he will not be wronged and the truth will soon emerge.” au g u st 2 0 1 6

Ismail Ferdous

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s naPs hots

Google Earth and Maps SILK Announces Wedding Photo Festival & Awards Get a Hi-Res Update I T he data obtained from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite led to Google Maps and Google Earth’s images receiving a major facelift in terms of their quality. Engineers at Google worked with data worth almost 700 trillion pixels, to stitch together a high resolution cloud-free mosaic of the world. As the company announced, the new satellite is able to capture images with ‘greater detail, truer colour and at an unprecedented frequency’ enabling access to extremely sharp images.

ndia’s first and largest wedding photography seminar and workshop festival, SILK INSPIRE 2016 will be organised by SILK Photos. The 4-day festival will commence on 4 October 2016, and will take place in Goa. The fest brings together some of the world’s most significant names from the wedding industry—Christophe Viseux, Frank Boutonnet, Apresh Chavda, Joseph Radhik, Mahesh Shantaram, Sephi Bergerson, Susana Barbera, Erika Mann and Lanny Mann. Topics for the workshops range from the quintessential methods and approach for making

wedding pictures, the art of posing and making portraits, to acquiring the knack for making the same a sustainable business prospect. It aims at proffering a platform to learn, interact and network. The festival’s registration is open on www.silkphotos.com till 3 October and costs Rs. 17,500, whereas fee for the workshops starts from Rs. 14,000. As an extension to the same, SILK Awards 2016 is also open for entries. Participation in the contest is completely free. Unique in its concept, it will focus on series of pictures, depicting a story—a visual narrative. A total prize money of Rs. 1 lakh is open for grabs, which will be shared among five winners.

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iPhone Photography Awards Announces Winners C hinese Photographer Siyuan Niu won the 2016 edition of the iPhone Photography Awards for his image titled The Man and The Eagle. Out of the thousands of entries submitted by participants from 139 countries, the overall best photography awards were given out to Patryk Kuleta (First), Robin Robertis (Second) and Carolyn Mara Borlenghi (Third). Catergory-wise first prizes were awarded to Jiayu Ma (Abstract), Erica Wu (Animals), Jian Wang (Architecture), KK (Children), Lone Bjørn (Floral), Andrew Montgomery (Food), Vasco Galhardo (Landscape), Yuki Cheung (Lifestyle), Junfeng Wang (Nature), Loulou d’Aki (News and Events), Kevin Casey (Other), Glenn Homann (Panorama), Xia Zhenkai (People), Elaine Taylor (Portrait), Valencia Tom (Seasons), WenQi (Still Life), Nicky Ryan (Sunset),

Fugen Xiao (Travel) and Victor Kintanar (Trees). A photograph shot from the top of a light-house in Chennai by Rithwik VJ from India, secured third position in the Lifestyle category.

Siyuan Niu

Muhammed Muheisen

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he Sony World Photography Awards, in a rather unfortunate turn of events has brought forth a grave issue. One of the shortlisted images in the contest, of a young boy, accredited to Shahzad Khan of Pakistan, was in fact photographed by the Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Muhammed Muheisen, in 2014. Having already been featured previously among other competitions’ winners, the picture is quite popular and displays the fallacy of the jury. Although the photograph has been taken off from the website, the concern has not been properly resolved. The sheer ignorance on the part of the organisation’s authorities poses pressing questions on issues like infringement of photographer’s copyrights, as well as guidelines and research involved in the organisation of a photography event. People’s responses on social media clearly exhibit the exasperation on behalf of the photography fraternity.

(From top-left, clockwise) Apresh Chavda, Susana Barbera, Two Mann Studios, Sephi Bergerson, Christophe Viseux, and Joseph Radhik.

Sony WPA’s Ignorance Raises Questions T

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s naps hots

Anti-Paparazzi Clothing Misidentified Man in the Iconic Iwo Jima Image Ishu Hits the Stores T B

of the bloodliest battles of World War II. It was first published in newspapers on 25 February 1945 and has even won the Pulitzer award.

Joe Rosenthal

randed under the name Ishu, a clothing collection made up of highly reflective fabric is out in the market, with claims of being ‘anti-paparazzi’. When used against flash, the cloth piece reflects most of the light, rendering the rest of the image void of any details. Saif Siddiqui, the innovator of Ishu has been working on the project for six years. Although, not the first venture of its kind the makers of Ishu hope to make it big unlike earlier such initiatives.

he US Marine Corps recently acknowledged that a man in the historical photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima was misidentified. The revelation came after almost 71 years since the picture was made by Joe Rosenthal for the Associated Press. The man, earlier identified as mate second class John Bradley, is in fact private first class Harold Schultz. The investigation was launched after historians Eric Krelle and Stephen Foley raised concerns. The photograph consists of six men raising a flag over Iwo Jima during one

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An Ode to Indian Railway Lovers 26

Yogesh Manhas

Yogesh Manhas has since childhood appreciated the Indian Railways, and the journey and views it has offered him. He had been a part of the media industry for over a decade, before deciding to move away from mainstream work. It is during this break that he found the time and inspiration to turn his passion into a photo project The Train Story, spanning the entire Indian railway network. Beginning in June 2013, with the scenic beauty to be discovered along the Konkan tracks; he has since travelled far and wide in all directions of the Indian subcontinent. Manhas has uncovered many untold stories that the Railway has to offer; from the world’s second longest named station in Andhra Pradesh at the border of Tamil Nadu, to Barak Valley in Assam, to photograph one of the world’s oldest meter gauge.

He has encountered many obstacles while shooting from a moving train. “It takes dedication to stand by the door for hours waiting for the perfect frame, to hang onto the rail by one hand while handling a heavy bodied camera,” says Manhas. His experience and knowledge allows him to know exactly what exposure will work with the natural light and set the camera accordingly. Manhas strongly believes that the Indian Railways are a sight to behold and that travelling teaches a person things that no formal education can. Having covered 30,000 kms of the 68,000 km Indian rail tracks, he wishes to cover the remainig distance and use all the images to create a coffee table book for fellow train lovers and photography enthusiasts. — written by aarushi Redij

The image captures the control car of a train while the motorman looks outside, as seen from within the locomotive.

Better photography

Yogesh Manhas

“The project has allowed me to meet new people and exprience new places.”

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Feedback ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton’s spectacular and often outrageous images have made him synonymous with the world of glamour in more ways than one. Sakshi Parikh delves into his extraordinary life.

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he 1970s were very exciting times, especially for the young and restless in Europe. It was an era of liberalisation and the breaking of conventions. Pornography had gone mainstream. Fashion had begun to move in bold, new directions. In the midst of it all, Helmut Newton was already making waves with his pioneering, provocative

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X-Ray, Van Cleef & Arpels, French Vogue, 1994. Helmut wanted to see what was going on ‘under the flesh’. So he took some of his jewellery clad models to a radiologist. The jewels disappeared, leaving only the bone structure and metal settings.

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A few weeks ago, as I was passing my local newstand, I spotted Helmut Newton’s famous and unforgettable photograph on the cover of Better Photography’s July 2016 issue. As I scanned through the pages, I was surprised to see that it featured some of the biggest names in the fashion photogrpahy industry. I couldn’t wait to finish reading it. It wasn’t just inspiring to read about each of the fashion stalwarts, I was also amazed by their relentless dedication to perfecting the craft of photography. It in fact led me to think about how sometimes even while receiving opportunities to indulge ourselves in creative work, we have somehow become quite blasé about it. And although we do get the job done, at times we lack the enthusiasm and the drive to create something out of our individual perspectives, even if it means challenging the present norms and trends of the medium. It’s too easy to fall into a slump, but with inspiration all around us, it all comes down to how we make use of it. BP’s fashion issue was my spurt of inspiration. Harsh Malhotra, Bengaluru

Feature on Dance Photography I have been subscribing to Better Photography for more than five years now. I appreciate the team’s efforts in bringing forth refreshingly new and inspiring features with every issue. Being a photography enthusiast, I am especially drawn to dance. Dance performances present quite a lot BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

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Yves Saint Laurent, French Vogue, Rue Aubriot, Paris 1975. The architecture and receding street, along with the sexual ambiguity and classic appeal of the model, adds to the timelessness of the image. This look has been attempted by many photographers since.

An Imperative Realisation

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fashion imagery and for pushing the boundaries by making erotic scenarios look chic. His images, which bordered on the voyeuristic, frequently stunned both the fashion and publishing industries with its overtly raw sexual appeal and portrayal of elitist social taboos. Far from shying away, and despite losing subscribers, the leading fashion magazines all wanted him. (facing & alongside):© Helmut Newton Estate / Maconochie Photography

“It’s too easy to fall into a slump. But with inspiration all around us, it all comes down to how we make use of it.”

Send your suggestions, thoughts, and feedback letters to... feedback@betterphotography.in Every month, the ‘Letter of the Month’ will win a special gift from

Helmut Newton’s iconic photographs appeared in the July 2016 issue, as part of a larger story featuring some of the big names in the fashion industry.

of interesting opportunities for making pictures. However, they often take place in areas where the lighting may not be appropriate for photographers, especially when there is a multi-coloured lighting setup. I would appreciate it if BP could do an in-depth article on dance photography and cover the various parameters associated with photographing in low light. Santosh Kumar, Chennai

Fading Sense of Purpose Today, high-end cameras have become more of a popular gifting idea, while its utility is hardly a matter of concern. I see a lot of people using expensive DLSRs as though they are point-andshoot cameras, without ever exploring the settings ur trying to learn about its features. It also seems like with each passing day, less and less thought is put into making a photograph. We just shoot mindlessly without really having any intent, accumulating a digital heap of images that rarely get revisited. This thought struck me after reading K Madhavan Pillai’s Editorial in the March 2015 issue. “What seems to be badly lost is a sense of purpose,” he mentioned. Regaining this lost intent and developing an understanding of framing and composition is essential if we want to get ahead in the line of photography. Ajay Tiwari, Jabalpur

The Story Behind

the Picture

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The story behind the world’s oldest surviving aerial photopgraph was featured in the July 2016 issue. It spoke about how James Wallace Black, from atop a hot air balloon shot a bird’seye view of Boston in the 1800s.

Photograph by: James Wallace Black Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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The Oldest Surviving Aerial Photograph

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ames Wallace Black was in a hot air balloon, 2000 feet above the ground, when he used eight plates of glass negatives to make the very first aerial photographs of Boston, in 1860. He was aided in this endeavour by Samuel Archer King, a ballooning pioneer, who let him use one of his balloons chirstened ‘The Queen of the Air’. However, Black’s photographs were certainly not the first ever aerial images to be shot. Two years prior to his attempt, Gaspard -Félix Tournachon beat him to it by successfully making the first aerial pictures of Paris from atop a hot air balloon in 1858, and is still accredited for his pioneering work in the field of aerial photography. Unfortunately, the photographs he shot no longer exist, lending Black’s work the designation of world’s oldest surviving aerial photographs. Apart from being one of the relics, this picture is especially significant. Much of the area photographed was destroyed in the Great Boston Fire of 1872, and thus remains to be an important evidence of what the city looked like prior to the disaster. Eventually, Black’s photographs caught the attention of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a poet and Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. Holmes went on to title Black’s photograph and called it the Boston, As the Eagle and Wild Goose See It. He also went on to comment on the picture saying, “…As a first attempt it is on the whole a remarkable success; but its greatest interest is in showing what we may hope to see accomplished in the same direction.” As camera technology progressed, Nadar’s and Black’s endeavours paved the way for several aerial photography projects. Two years after Black’s photographs, the Union Army would use balloon photography to spy on Confederate troops during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. Later, during World War I, airplanes with cameras were used for aerial reconnaissance, and in determining enemy positions, supplies and movement. Eventually, the cameras used for aerial photography evolved and were employed in numerous fields like cartography and archeology. J U LY 2 0 1 6

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Reminiscing One’s Roots I grew up in a small town in Rajasthan. My grandfather, being one of the first medical practitioners from the district, was someone who everyone looked up to. He had an eclectic personality, and was always interested in the unconventional. I have fond memories of the mellow winter afternoons, when he would leave all his engagements and take me out for a walk. In one hand he held his film camera which I longed to hold, and the other tightly held onto mine. We would stay out for hours, seeking stories and trying to entwine them in a frame, first in our imaginations a hundred times and then finally pushing the

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shutter of the camera, which always excited me. The resulting photographs were simple and beautiful. Morevoer, the aesthetic sense that his knowledge of science imparted to his vision, added to his compositions. I still cherish the numerous family photographs and picturesque landscape shots he made. Although I was quite young then to realise it, looking back now, I see the impression that the time I spent with my grandfather has had on my sensibilities. I am soon going to take the leap, to delve into the deeper and technical depths of picture-making.

Rithanya Surana, Jaipur

“Fashion, Origins of the Bird’s-Eye View as has been Aerial photography has always managed to enthrall me, and Jassen illustrated time Todorov’s feature in the April 2016 and again by issue of Better Photography was very the greatest inspiring. Rising thousands of feet photographers, above the Earth, to make a picture that is truly a wholesome, unseen is about perspective, was what enamoured me personal taste most about his photographs, apart from and the way his compositions. It hadn’t left my thoughts, and BP one carries came up with another surprise, that is the themselves.” story behind the oldest surviving aerial photograph, in the July 2016 issue. It was heartening to read about how James Wallace Black used a hot air balloon to make images with the photography techniques available back in the 1800s. Zinita Munjal, Mumbai

To New Beginnings... Fashion and style have been a part of my childhood fascinations, and I would spend hours mixing and matching different dress pieces and materials from my mother’s and sister’s wardrobes to create an outfit. For me, Better Photography’s latest fashion issues, have been a treasure trove

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We believe that the joy of a family photo is in displaying it. To make your special memories stand out, this Letter of the Month wins a special Photo Frame from Red Moments!

of interesting discoveries. My favourite features in the collector’s editions were that of Saul Leiter, Toni Frissell and Shantanu Sheorey. The clothes adorned by the models in the photographs gave me a look into the kind of style that existed then, which are also making a comeback today. Fashion, as has been illustrated time and again by the greatest photographers, is about personal taste and the way one carries themselves. This very aspect is what I aim to emphasise at, with the assignment I have been handed over as part of the fashion course that I am currently enrolled in. I am especially inspired by something that Saul Leiter had mentioned, “Perfection is not something I admire. A touch of confusion is a desirable ingredient.” I plan to call my project Impromptu. Priyanshi Bafna, Pune

Corrigendum The Sony Alpha RX10 III review that was published in the July 2016 issue, was inadvertently mentioned with the incorrect series and focal length. It was the Sony Alpha RX 10 III with 24–600mm f/2.4-4. Also, Sony India offers a 2 year warranty which we unintenionally printed as 3 years. We apologise for this grievous mistake and the errors are highly regretted.

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book review

Fragments of a Spinning Rock: Kaushal Parikh K MadhavanPillai dwells on the wistful, contemplative nature of Kaushal Parikh’s photography, in a book he made for his son.

Title: Fragments of Spinning Rock Authors: Kaushal Parikh Available at: www.kaushalp.com Publisher: self-published Price: Rs. 1850, inclusive of shipping and handling in India

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aushal met us over coffee, book in hand. In his easygoing way, he explained how it came to be. “I made this for my son. In fact, I decided to do a book for him when he was conceived. He should know what his father does as a photographer. I would rather that he see what I need to tell him,” he said, offering nothing more by way of explanation. The moment I set my eyes on ‘Fragments of a Spinning Rock’, I was quite enamoured by a number of things, starting with the book’s title. This is a small book (6 x 8 inches closed, 128 pages), hardbound, containing 65 well-printed black and white photographs from a decade of his work on excellent, thick paper. A book of this size has several advantages. It reduces the cost, making it both affordable and yet maintaining a high level of quality. And it allows a certain level of intimacy and involvement with the photographs printed in it. At first glance, the cover is rather intriguing too... a semi-matte black speckled with a few hundred white spots. It took a moment to see that the speckles were in pairs. As you follow the image around the spine to the back cover, you see a single bat flitting across its cavern against a background of eyes, all of them reflecting the flash back from Kaushal’s camera. The stitched binding allows you to open the book and lay it flat, giving almost uninterrupted use of the spreads for larger photos. And this is exactly what Kaushal has done. Except for a few pages, almost all the pages are spreads with the photographs going edge-to-edge, and refreshingly so. The design layout is also rather straightforward, with minimal text, and helps maintain the simplistic appeal, with all the viewers attention diverted to the photographs instead. Apart from a single page of plaintive foreword written by Kaushal as a message to the reader, the written content in this book is sparse. One comes across a few, short, interspersed paragraphs and a spread towards the end, of rather esoteric prose by Tara Sahgal, a close friend of the photographer. I personally did not find myself

Better PhotograPhy

connecting with the words and neither did I find them adding value, interpretative or otherwise. Kaushal’s photography, on the other hand, I quite liked. He is an accomplished and technically adept street photographer who seems to have an affinity for travelling to coastal towns. A lot of his images have included either the seas or water in some form, and the use of the onboard flash. Many of Kaushal’s compositions are truly exceptional and layered, including some of his offbeat ones. While not everyone may enjoy the way he processes his images in charcoal tones with high levels of contrast, it works for his nature of photography and is certainly a lot different from a lot of other photographers around. The good thing is that he has maintained a level of consistency in his image processing through his book. I did not wholly agree with Kaushal’s flow of images, most of which are traditional compositions broken by a few experimental frames. While they were exceptional in some sequences, at other points in his book, the connections were forced and all too obvious, giving the idea that Kaushal perhaps tried too hard to deliver a certain impression, when he really did not have to. That said, extremely few self-published books have come to the point of being executed perfectly in every way. I love it when a set of photos begin to evoke certain emotions. I was inspired to go though ‘Fragments of spinning Rock’ a second time around after listening to Abbey Lincoln’s A Turtle’s Dream. There is, in fact, a tortoise reminiscing over a reflection of buildings in the water, within the book... though, this was not the reason why individual tracks from the album reminded me of Kaushal’s photographs. There are books you want to preserve and do things with. For some reason, I could not help wishing that ‘Fragments of a Spinning Rock’ came with a set of ruled blank pages after every few spreads, just to write my thoughts down on. This is an excellent first book by Kaushal Parikh, and certainly deserves the asking price. au g u st 2 0 1 6


Visual Musings

Reading into the Baba Ramdev Cover The yoga guru turned upside down, and with it, so did social media. But how does one even react to a photograph like this? The photographer offers his perspective, as do two other practitioners. Photograph by Bandeep Singh. Courtesy India Today.

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Bandeep singh’s cover photograph went viral the moment it was uploaded by the magazine on social media, a few days before the issue actually hit the stands. it drew extreme reactions, from amazement to disgust, and a flurry of hilarious memes, two of which we have shown alongside. Better PhotograPhy

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Wow! Yuck! Butt Why?

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he dharma of imagemaking is to pierce the eye. To perforate all the information that blinds our response to visual stimuli. A magazine cover image has to go a bit further. It has to also trigger the brain to reach out for the wallet and buy that issue. My arrowhead, in this instance, was the face of Baba Ramdev. Now when your cover portrait subject is not only one of India’s most well known celebrities but also one of the most distinct and the most visible ones, you start off with a disadvantage—a very heavy arrow! How do you show him differently in order to get people to open their mouth in surprise and not to yawn? My move was to place the face of Baba Ramdev in an unusual anatomical arrangement. His profession and expertise as a yoga guru permits that ‘stance’ logically as well as physiologically. That he has turned norms of both business and spirituality upside down, was the larger concept. The image appeared on the cover of India Today last week. The deluge of reactions on social media suggests that the arrow did hit home. Or did it? And what home? The gamut of reactions include a flood of memes, witty satirical humor, gushing kudos, loud disgust , downright ridicule, a conspicuous silence from many of my photographic kin, compliments, appreciation and also indignation. All this happened in such high pitched amplification—on Twitter timelines, Facebook threads, online content sites, TV news, public discussions, Whatsapp shares and so on. It was like sending your child to school and finding out when you go to pick him back, that he has performed some act of monumental notoriety—kissed the head girl or something like that. The volume and the kind of reactions have diminished my connect with the image, to the point of giving it a life of its own. First, this hits you like a shock (what the #@$%!) , which turns to gratification (my image…!!!!). And when gratification brims over the size of your ego (what the hell?), it turns into reflection. This is the point from where I am writing right now. Looking at the flood of response from this slightly distant perspective throws up some interesting observations. The cover photo is largely precipitating reactions against Baba Ramdev rather than evoking

Bandeep Singh

comments on the image itself. If we follow the trolls, they are originating from three trigger points: the surprising posture, the body hair of Baba Ramdev and most strongly, Baba Ramdev’s butt. The picture is composed with the idea to lead the eye directly towards the face. The head is placed at the locus of the geometric as well as the perspective centre of the image. The lighting is optimised for the face looking through the legs. The halo on the dark background is also centred behind the head. I was aware that the ‘in-your-face’ butt could get too much attention—to diminish that, I cut the lighting to create a shadow on it and also cut the saffron of the loincloth. But I have to admit that all my compositional attempts were clearly defeated by the mass national obsession with the posterior. In the image of a fifty year old man’s skill of creating perfect geometry in a yogic posture, what most people just saw was Baba Ramdev’s butt… But then… these people have seen the naked Naga Sadhus, Digambar monks and more commonly the akhara pehelwans in their langots. So what is it about Baba Ramdev that invokes this disgust? Is it that he does not remain in the quarter that we wish to confine and label him? Disgust, then, becomes a mechanism to create a distance with him. He is, in many ways, ‘not so cool’—a giggly, winky, Haryanvi-accented straight talker who comes across even more abrasive because of his strong views especially on issues like homosexuality , sex education and his often impulsive political comments. Add to that the Vedic idealisation, the saffron garb of the sadhu and he begins to appear a poster figure for the right wing. As that, he occupies a radical position which has its own army of haters—the ‘cringe’ brigade. This group is most offended by this image because it compels the eye to look at its subject. The more the eye lingers on the image, the more is the cringe. A journalist friend’s reaction to the image on Facebook sums up this reaction in just two words—“Wow... yuck.” And then the subtext kicks in. The photograph is on the cover of the latest issue of India Today magazine, with a headline that says ‘Power Yogi’! It is about his achievement— the phenomenal rise of Patanjali— being seen as the success story of the decade. That is certainly not Yuck! … but how to distance oneself from that… oh “the Butt!” that’s disgusting!

Bandeep Singh is a reputed editorial photographer known for his impactful portraits and concept-driven photographs. He is currently working as the Group Photo Editor of India Today Group. A recipient of the Charles Wallace Trust Award in photography, he was formerly the Photo Editor of Fortune India. aU g U St 2 0 1 6

Better PhotograPhy

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A skimpily clad, heavily photoshopped actress on a cover isn’t subjected to this level of nonsense because it conforms to standards of beauty as ingrained by years of silly ads.

F

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our years ago, the OPEN magazine, my fomer workplace, published a cover story on vagina tightening creams and vaginal surgeries. For an outsider, the discussions about the cover image ranged from the absolute hilarious to utter disgust. What finally went on the cover was a pair of glossy pink lips, placed vertically instead of the usual horizontal placement. Personally, I’d say it was nothing short of remarkable, but the cover didn’t create as big a storm as Bandeep Singh’s Ramdev photo. The last time an Indian magazine flew off the shelves purely on the merit of a cover photo was probably Stardust with a topless Mamta Kulkarni on it. The photo in question is nowhere close to a startling image by itself. A fairly ordinary photo about a rather peculiar and widely seen man, there’s rather little or none one can speak about when it comes to aesthetics or technique. At best, one can argue it could have been lit better, or how the heavy falloff behind the masthead was unnecessary. But the reactions and the backlash say a lot about the viewers. Some called it gross, some ugly, some vulgar, some disgusting. Some instead chose to pass judgement on Ramdev—thief, conman, sleazeball. Some ridiculed India Today’s choice of cover story—at the time of the Nice Attacks, Kashmir, a national magazine chooses to put out a rather unremarkably written profile of a man consistently in the news from over five years now. It is not uncommon for news magazines to have profiles of ‘interesting’ celebrities, filmmakers, actors, newsmakers, whistleblowers or sportspersons as cover stories. I’m yet to come across a diktat stating that a magazine has to only report/feature major events/issues of a given week. The consistent pegging of stories and timing them to film releases or upcoming events often makes for very boring and forgettable stories. Just because everyone is doing it is no longer a strong enough reason! A case in point was OPEN’s profile of Ramdev, done around the Anna-Kejriwal Ramlila issue. I was personally offended by the grainy nature of the sourced photo but what bothered me was the man’s flamboyantly grassy armpit. I never was in a position to air these views but as a consumer of the magazine I felt, well, grossed out. Truth is, my idea of beauty and what qualifies as a cool cover image was shaped by fashion magazines. Indian men are also potty trained by their parents, society, illustrations in schoolbooks, advertisers to look for fair and lovely women and the women too are now being coaxed to look for tall, fair and handsome men. Leaving balding short men like myself to a life of unhinged loneliness in the fragrant company of multipurpose Patanjali hair oil. A major complaint about Bandeep’s photo is that it is gross. What is gross about body hair, or a beard? Or having oddly shaped eyes? Another grievance is that if you look closely you can see Ramdev’s bunched up jewels. Again, would you rather airbrush his scrotum out of the photo? Or fine tune them and tone his saffron clad butt? A skimpily clad, heavily photoshopped actress/model on a cover isn’t subjected to this level of nonsense because it conforms to the standards of beauty as ingrained by years of silly advertisements.

Ritesh Uttamchandani

To be a little more honest, if you observe at a newsstand, (if you are still the kind who consumes information from sources besides your smartphone and walks to the paperwallah), all one sees is the top one fifth of most magazines—just the title. Sometimes, fighting through that stack, you see the forehead or eyes of a person staring at you. Intelligent placement of a product at newsstands is also something that marketing teams of publications strive for and with the advent of listicles and half-assed opinion-oriented news sites, sales of print publications have declined further. To me, it seems like a huge risk taken by the editorial board to proceed with a visual of this nature, where no matter how much space is left between the magazine that sits atop IT on a news rack, all one sees is a saffron bum and the masthead. Social media’s backlash has, in fact, guaranteed that the bum is now flying off the shelves. SK news paper agency, named after its modest owner, Sunil Kumar, confesses that after a very long time, people have come to his stall, asking for a copy of the magazine. This is the power that local news magazines have forever had, over imports like TIME and others. There is no denying the fact that just like The Hindu down south, HT and Dainik Bhaskar in the North, TOI in Bombay, IT has made equally deep inroads and has its own space in the reader’s psyche—and it’s not limited to a state or a region. The photo and the shortsighted backlash have successfully incited that dormant connection. Many are also of the view that the magazine has a pro Hindutva/ Saffron agenda and is hence merely following suit. An unreasonable view at best, I’d like to point out that it would be rare to come across a non aligned publication especially at the current stage that India is. Every publication has their own ideology, their own agendas, sociopolitical leanings just like a liberal does. Just the way Arvind Kejriwal is hugely responsible for getting the dormant electorate of this country to indulge in conversations over breakfast and participate in politics, Ramdev with four or five patent Yoga postures, is responsible for heralding yoga into social consciousness. There is no denying that however controversial he may be, he is a little difficult to avoid. And so are his products. No matter how bogus they are, or good, or pointless, Patanjali has made marketing thinktanks at Unilever and other FMCG makers rethink their strategies. Take a drive through small town India, and very often one can see footlong horizontal placards pasted or tied to electric poles that say ‘Patanjali’. This is the simplest form of advertising. It doesn’t scream out loud that you need to be fair else you are bound to have a dark husband and you will be cursed with dark babies and you are all set to rot in darkness. It doesn’t bend a consumer down to feel bad about his or her own self to buy a toothpaste or a soap. This is the age of the self, of the individual as a brand. Everyone loves their own image as seen by themselves and is miserly in appreciating the self image of another. The individual decides and works hard to shape how others see and behold him/ her. What we often forget though, is that just the way beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so does obscenity.

Ritesh Uttamchandani (@riteshuttamchandani on Instagram) is an editorial, documentary & news photographer, who has formerly worked with The Indian Express, Hindustan Times and OPEN. Visual nuances, untold stories & travel are themes that dominate his work. He curates @katha_collective, an Instagram-powered photozine. Better PhotograPhy

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Why is this image the way it is? Why is this image? Is it the image talking? Or is it one’s personal bias?

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ow does one even begin to talk about an image that leaves you fumbling for words? It has been a week since Bandeep Singh turned the India Today cover on its head, and the photograph continues to trouble me, even as I write this. What I’m more troubled about, though, is the reason why I am troubled, for I wonder if it says something about the photographer, the photographed, or more accurately, you, and me. I am not very comfortable with the overt contextualisation of photos. It should just be about the visuality, I tell myself. But no photograph is an island, and the twisted story of the twisted Ramdev—I refuse to call him Baba—is why this is an important photograph. I may alternate between raising my eyebrows and raising my hat at what the photographer has done (and why he’s done it), but it’s not because of what the picture, or Ramdev, looks like. It is not so much about how it is seen, but about what it is seen as. And as personality clashes with politics, perception meets prejudice. Why is this image the way it is? Why is this image? The raison d’être of the volte face, both intended and inadvertent, becomes an important factor in reading it. One may say that the very function of photography, is to provoke. But it was not the outrageous pose with the oft outraged subject that outraged me, but instead, the very fact that it was on the cover. The week that preceded the publishing of this issue saw the most disturbing flare up of the Kashmir conflict in several years, with the protests that followed the killing of Burhan Wani, and a complicated tale of dissent, nationalism and human-right violations. And yet, India Today, a magazine that has historically represented Indian journalism’s voice of concern, chose to showcase Ramdev on the cover, the posture exemplifying what the editorial decision seemed to say. The choice to include the Patanjali package in the frame, almost making the story seem like a public-relations exercise. Surely, the photo would have been equally memorable and communicative without it. I looked at him, he grinned back. Ramdev’s squint seemed, to me, a disconcerting wink, an audacious, nasty shrug at all else. Like hearing of strife and being told not to worry, good days are here, or their literal translation. Orange is the new black. Munich has just been attacked, as I write this. The sheer number of terror attacks in the last month is mindnumbing. And yet, a majority of my mindspace is currently occupied by a man and his aasans, with all his topsy-turvy contradictions. That is the most worrying aspect about the image. And yet, that is its greatest success. What’s more fascinating though, is that the more I wish to steer away from the picture, the more I am drawn to it. And once I start examining my own reading, I wonder, is it the image talking, or my personal bias? How would each one of us, with our varied, colourful and contradictory biases view this cover? If we strip ourselves of our leanings, left, right, centre-of-something, how will we see this photograph, simply, as a photograph? In that very island one spoke of, with its sheer visual power. I squinted at the cover, no pun intended, and tried to dissociate the photo from the headline.

Raj Lalwani

Bandeep’s provocative image actually reminds me of a Gildenesque approach to startle the viewer. It’s a visual trope that I see Benjamin Lowy using right now, extremely interestingly, while photographing Republican portraits in America. As has been seen through all the memes that have (mis)appropriated the image, it is obvious that once a photograph is published, it takes on a new life. Based on who sees it, with what baggage, the interpretations are new, and the photographer’s original intent, often lost. For instance, without the heading, without the thousand words, I would have imagined that the image is actually a critique of Ramdev. Singh’s defiantly personal interpretation of all that’s wrong about this man who’s called a Baba. India Today’s insightful take on all that’s wrong about India, today. And yet, I’d have thought that in satirising Ramdev through his gleeful posture and corporatesque lighting, the image also validates him, valourises him, even glorifies him. These are diametrically opposite streams of thought that coexist beautifully, and it is precisely this tension that actually makes this a memorable image. For what you see is not Ramdev, but the very idea of Ramdev. He, the contortionist, he, the yoga guru. He, with his langotesque cloak of traditionality, he, with a scientific business acumen. A carefully built empire, but with impulsive, well-meaning rants against black money. Political player. Political pawn. The one with widely followed gharelu nuskhe. The homosexuality-curing, threatening-to-behead bigot. Ramdev is a curious fellow. Despite him having made alarming statements, one doesn’t view him with the same trepidation as one would see a Yogi Adityanath, for instance. He is no stranger to virality, with even those who oppose his ideologies choosing to chuckle at some of his antics. There are strands of white, and shades of grey, to add to all his saffron. Bandeep Singh’s photograph is a remarkable encapsulation of all of Ramdev’s meandering identities. It almost makes you ask, will the real Ramdev, please stand up? (and stare at us, upside down) I looked at him, he grinned back. I wish that he didn’t. I long for a different time, perhaps. When drama could be mellow, not melodrama. When viral was just fever. News would develop, and not shatter. It’s strange to be working in publishing, considering I yearn for a time when our fate on newsstands is not about demanding attention, but slowly, drawing it in. Clickbait killed the considered headline, listicles murdered nuance. We live in a time when the most popular journalist (a personal guilty pleasure) is also our favourite primetime actor. With attention spans being microseconds, images need to shout, to swim against the sea. I am not for grabbing any eyeballs, I would rather be the one pulling the heartstrings. But nostalgia is a dangerous game, for even nostalgia is never the same. A little before we went to press, I happened to see the latest India Today cover story... images of subtlety, fuzzy with warmth, hope and the aspirations of our Olympic contingent. I almost did a select all, delete. Provocative photos like that of Ramdev may get the buzz and chatter. But it is Bandeep’s heartrending images of Olympic athletes that should start the conversations.

Raj Lalwani describes himself as a work in progress, for whom, photography is like a cup of tea—brewed with time. The Assistant Editor of Better Photography, his writings on the medium run concurrently with his search and pursuit for individualistic ways of seeing. According to him, inspiration lies in the fantastic, the ordinary and in love. aU g U St 2 0 1 6

Better PhotograPhy


test te st

GearGuide

HOW WE TEST Product categorisation We first segregate products into categories for the purpose of equitability in testing. The DSLR is divided into entry-level, 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.

DED

MMEN

RECO

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, 38 we 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 falloff, 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-1D X Mark II

X Factor Advantage The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is all set to make its mark with some impressive technology upgrades. The company’s latest flagship is also a pleasure to use, as K Madhavan Pillai finds out.

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Our Seals of approval Any product that scores 80% or higher in individual tests gets ‘BP Recommended’—a seal of approval from our team. In comparison tests, we also tag products as ‘BP Best Performer’ and ‘BP Best Value for Money’.

BP Excellence awards At the end of the calendar year, the highest rated products in each category automatically win the Better Photography Excellence Award. This is Better Photography’s recognition of the very best products launched in the course of the year, and the companies that made them. BetteR PHOtOGRAPHY

WEIgHTagE OF ParaMETErS 5% 15% 15% 20%

45%

Features Performance Build Quality ergonomics Warranty & support

ith the Rio Summer Olympics right around the corner, Canon timed the launch of their top-of-theline flagship, the EOS-1D X Mark II perfectly in time for photographers to upgrade. Within the Canon echelons and in practicality as well, the Mark II is a huge leap forward in one very significant way. It replaces not one, but two successful cameras which would otherwise have to be bought separately—the 1D X of course, and the videocentric 1D C. In terms of usage, the 1D X Mark II caters to four specific types of photographers. It is meant for use in extreme conditions where other cameras would fail to deliver, for photographers who need that level of shooting speed, for those who need performance in very low light levels, and for those who want a camera that functions in either or all of the three conditions above and that also offers 4k and other video functionality.

Features The new 20.2MP sensor may not be a jump in terms of resolution, but this is the first full frame sensor to feature Dual Pixel CMOS AF, for quick AF during live view shooting and video. With pixels on the imaging sensor dedicated to AF, it remains to be seen if the camera sacrifices some low light capability. The sensor also has the analogue to digital (AD) converter on the sensor dye, improving speed. Burst shooting in stills is available at a blazing at 16fps, focus locked at first frame, or at 14fps (with AF), with a depth of 170 RAWs (provided you are using a CFast 2.0 card). In a first in Canon flagships, corrections for lens distortion and diffraction occuring on the fly too, apart from peripheral brightness and chromatic aberration correction. The Mark II also features a complete set of in-camera RAW processing tools, including Digital Lens Optimizer (earlier available on Canon’s DPP RAW workflow software). AU G U st 2 0 1 6


test

test

MICROTEST

Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8E VR Now stabilised!

Sony 24–70mm f/2.8 GM The first f/2.8 zoom for the FE cameras

Sandisk iXpand Flash test Drive , Vanguard Up-Rise II 49 backpack

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Especially within moving, jolting vehicles, live View comes exceptionally handy. I was particularly happy with the responsiveness of live View aF.

exposure: 1/1250sec at f/8 (ISO 10,000)

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The camera features a new 61-point AF system with 41 crosstype points, that provides a wider spread than before across the frame. Improving upon the earlier system significantly, all AF points are now compatible down to f/8 and focuses down to EV -3 for better low light performance. The Mark II also features alogrithms that work in conjunction with gyrosensors to detect the photographer’s movements even as the camera is being moved into position before AF locks. This lets the Mark II select the right focus point by identifying possible subjects with greater precision. All these advanced detection capabilities also sees the addition of Large Zone AF (first seen in the 7D Mark II) to previously available modes. A new 3,60,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor graces the Mark II and contributes to the camera’s AF performance for both stills and video by enabling the camera to

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recognise situations more accurately and respond faster. In a first for Canon DSLRs, the Mark II can now shoot video at 4k/60p or 1080/120p for slow motion. The rear LCD display is now a touch panel for improved video functionality. AF points can be easily selected during video recording. Focus can be quickly confirmed with a new still frame grab feature, wherein an 8.8MP still image can be selected and saved. First seen with Panasonic cameras, this feature has other advantages. If you think that 16fps is not good enough... shoot a 4k video at 60fps and extract an image as a still. Considering ISO in video recording is available till 12,800 in 4K (25,600 in Full HD), allowing perfectly sharp 4k still captures. The Mark II features uncompressed HDMI output for 1080p but, unfortunately, not for 4k, which is a rather big oversight.

WHaT’S In THE BOX • Canon EOS-1D X Mark II body • Eyecup • Battery • Charger • Wide strap • Camera cover • Connect cover • Interface cable • EOS software disk • Instruction manual • Warranty

All photographs by K Madhavan Pillai

BetteR PHOtOGRAPHY


test


test Being able to use high ISO settings without the fear of losing detail allowed freedom with apertures and shutterspeeds. It enabled me to get the mood just right. exposure: 1/1000sec at f/6.3 (ISO 8000)


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There is no dearth of detail captured by the sensor. as one would expect, noise makes an appearance when underexposed shadows are opened up. Exposure: 1/125sec at f/8 (ISO 5000)

alSO lOOK FOr • Nikon D5

ErgOnOMIcS Front

Vertical grip shutter release and front Function command dial buttons

In terms of features, almost every area of the EOS-1D X Mark II sees a change, making it a much improved camera from its predecessor, and a strong reason for photographers to upgrade.

Handling Handling has always been Canon’s big advantage and this does not change. Users of the previous edition will feel right at home. Yet, there are a lot more features to be accessed in the Mark II over the Mark I, and

Sync terminals and rubber protective cover

lens release button

There are small improvements to the design in the Mark II. A ridge that divided the function buttons near the lens mount from the grip has been removed, making those buttons easier to locate while looking through the viewfinder. Better PhotograPhy

this will take some getting used to. There are plenty of dedicated and customisable function buttons to go around that lets you customise handling to your preference. There are also some nice additions. The Q button, for instance, brings up Video resolution when the Live View lever is on video. You can also customise the Quick Menu, including the size of menu options on the LCD. Live View shooting is a pleasure, thanks to Dual Pixel AF. The touchscreen adds to the ease of use here, by letting you

Top

rear Menu/info buttons

Shooting, bracketing, aF, metering modes, flash compensation

Viewfinder dioptre adjustment

aF point selection activation

The top of the Mark II does not change in terms of controls, but it does in appearance. There is an additional bump over the pentaprism for the new GPS unit. Once you get used to it, most of the controls can be accessed without taking your eye off the finder.

Secondary Info lcD

P lu S • Low light quality • Overall speed • Control layout MInuS • Handling quirks

Stills/Movie capture lever, live View

rear input dial

aF point selection joystick

Vertical grip joystick

The joystick controller is now larger and easier to move around, but does not provide a one-source access to AF points. Notice that the positions of the buttons and the joystick are exactly the same for both the horizonal and vertical grips. This is a big handling advantage. au g u st 2 0 1 6


test S P Ec I F I caT I O n S Model name

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

MRP

Rs 4,55,995 (body only)

Effective pixels

20.2MP, 5472 x 3648 pixels

sensor size, type

36mm x 24mm, FX CMOS

Recording formats

Stills: RAW, JPEG Movie: 4K, MOV, MP4, H.264

Focusing system and modes

61 focal points (Crosstype AF points: Max. 41 points) The number of AF points, cross-type AF points and dual cross-type AF points vary depending on the lens used. Autofocus, One-Shot AF, Predictive Al Servo AF (Al Servo AF III+), Manual focus

Metering

Evaluative, Centre-Weighted Partial, Spot, AF point-linked spot, Centre Spot, Multi-Spot (upto 8 spots)

Shutter type and Shutterspeed range

Vertical-travel, mechanical, focal-plane shutter with all speeds electronically-controlled 30sec–1/8000, bulb

Colour space

Adobe RGB, sRGB

IsO

Auto/Manual, 100–51,200 (expandable to 50–4,09,600)

Viewfinder

OVF, 0.76 x, 100%

LCD

3.2in, 1620k dots, touchscreen

Other Features

Orientation sensor, built-in GPS with an e-compass

Battery

Lithium-ion

Dimensions, weight

158 x 168 x 83mm, 1530g

assign AF points simply by tapping the area you need. Yet, you can’t use it to flick between images on playback. If there was something I did not like, it would be the rather loud sound of the shutter and mirror slap. A burst of exposures in a quiet place is bound to startle people, let alone wildlife. For the most part, I ended up using the quiet mode, even if it meant a much slower frame rate. Other than this, handling, on the whole, is top notch for photographers across genres.

Performance The AF was spot on most of the time. Whenever I missed achieving the focus, I realised that I had the wrong AF area mode selected. Left on its own, with all settings at default, it rarely failed to lock correctly, unless there was a lot going on in the frame. There were a few areas of performance that I thought were truly impressive. I was extremely happy with how the metering worked. It was rarely fooled even in the most tricky lighting situation, including the flicker of flourescent lamps. The second aspect was related to the first—in the rendition of accurate colours, exactly as they appeared. au g u st 2 0 1 6

Noise Test Over this, the in-camera picture modes did an admirable job in being able to deliver just the kind of colours I wanted from a scene. Image quality is eventually the proof of the pudding. The sensor does a magnificent job. Despite a relatively modest resolution, files from the EOS-1D X Mark II could be enlarged to twice the size without losing much detail, especially below ISO 1600. Beyond that, the Mark II is certainly the best low light/high speed camera from Canon. I noticed that the Mark II and Nikon D5 rendered images slightly differently... not so much that it would make a real world difference in results, but important enough to talk about. The Mark II has a higher bandwidth for recovering details than Nikon D5, but the D5 shows less chroma noise than Mark II till about ISO 3200. While the D5 shows slightly sharper RAWs, Mark II images sharpen beautifully in post. At ISO 25,600 and above, D5 images show more detail, but again, not in the manner that would make a big difference in print.

ISO 25600

ISO 51200

ISO Hi 1 (102400)

ISO Hi 2 (204800)

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conclusion The performance of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is top notch right out of the box. AF, Live View AF, low light performance, speed, handling and overall image quality is excellent. As a tool meant for the highend pro, it offers the array of features and customisation that will get the job done. This is not all that surprising considering that the Mark II is the tenth of the 1D series. It comes at a hefty price tag of Rs. 4,55,995 for the body. If you are the sort of professional who needs the Mark II, you will probably see the value in it. Here comes the big question. How does the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II compare with the Nikon D5? Despite having tested both cameras, the honest answer is that I cannot really say because I have not had the cameras long enough from both manufacturers, nor have I had the chance to put both cameras together at the same time to compare them feature by feature. I do know this though... the practical differences will be small. In the field, it will not really matter. If there is one area where you would consider Canon strongly over Nikon is in its video capabilities and Live View advantages. If video is critically important to your use, then the choice is quite clear.

ISO Hi 3 (409600) Noise is kept below visible range till ISO 800, after which it makes an appearance. Till ISO 12,800, it is superbly controlled by any standard. At 25,600, noise reduction becomes necessary. Hi 1 and 2 can be used in progressively smaller sizes. Hi 3 is also usable, but at print sizes up to 5 x 7 inches.

FINALRATINGS Features

15/15

14fps, incredible ISO range, 4k/60p, 1080/120p

Performance

42/45

Exceptional autofocus, fantastic high ISO performance, colour rendition, metering

Build Quality

20/20

Robust magnesium alloy construction

Ergonomics

13/15

Mirorred controls for vertical/horizontal grip

Warranty & Support

4/5

Two-year warranty, wide service network

OVErall 94% Who should buy it?

Any photographer invested into Canon as a system, who needs speed, AF performance and low light capabilities, and requires advanced video capabilities.

Why?

The EOS-1D X Mark II comes from a long line of tried and tested cameras. In terms of technology, features and performance, it is a pathbreaking DSLR.

Value for Money Better PhotograPhy


TEST

DED MMEN O C E R

Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8E ED VR

VR the Champions

The Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8E ED VR is an elaborate upgrade, whose inclusion of image stabilisation makes it one of the best assignment lenses one can have, but the benefits come with some tradeoffs, that everyone may not like. Raj Lalwani investigates.

F WEIGHTAGE OF PARAMETERS 5% 15% 25%

20%

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Features Performance Build Quality Ergonomics Warranty & Support BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

reddie Mercury’s iconic lines in the Queen song We Are the Champions, are what I first thought of, after using the Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8E ED VR. Bad puns aside—the highlight feature of this new lens is the image stabilisation that Nikon has brought to a lens that is ideal when you (as the song goes) need to go on and on, and on. Indeed, a 24–70mm f/2.8 has never been a lens I have liked using, and yet, I always have. I’d much rather use a small, convenient lens or a faster specialist prime. But though this lens category does not set my heart racing, it is probably my most oft used lens, whenever I’m on assignment. A professional values the combination of power and convenience that one gets in a lens that’s wide enough for cramped environments, telephoto enough for a good portrait, and has a fast aperture for both low light and depth control.

Features But the older Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8G had problems, no doubt about that. Its corners were rather average (considering the price and premium nature of the lens) on high resolution bodies. This much required

update, thus, besides the inclusion of VR, has a new optical formula, including an aspherical ED glass element, a first for any Nikkor lens. I was disappointed to see some chromatic aberration (correctible in ACR) though, especially visible while shooting at around 35mm. The E in the lens name (instead of G) denotes an electronic aperture. This facilitates smoother control over the same during video, while using Power Aperture. That said, do keep in mind that this feature reduces compatibility, as it means that some of the older DSLRs like the D200/D90 can only shoot wide open with this lens, something you may want to check up on, if you plan to invest in it.

P LU S • Image quality • Focusing speed • Inclusion of VR MINUS • Weight • Price

S P E C I F I CAT I O N S Model name

Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8E ED VR

MRP

Rs. 1,69,950

Lens construction

20 elements in 16 groups

Closest focusing distance 0.38m Max. Magnification

1:3.6

Diaphragm blades

9

Max. Aperture

2.8

Dimensions, Weight

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Handling

Conclusion

This is a large lens. and feels a little front heavy on a camera like the D750. The build quality is excellent, with flourine coating on the front element to resist against water, dust and smudges. There is a rubber seal on the lens mount, but the lens isn’t listed as weather resistant. Unlike other Nikkor lenses, the hood does not mount directly on the front, but actually, further back on the barrel. This is interesting as the overall length, while the hood is attached, does not change while zooming.

That said, the increase in size, weight and filter size may deter users from upgrading, considering this is also a far more expensive lens. The competition is fierce. The Tamron 24–70mm f/2.8 VC, of course, was the first of its kind to bring in stabilisation in this lens category, and is quite sharp. Tokina’s new 24–70mm f/2.8 lacks stabilisation, but is excellent optically, and almost matches the Nikkor. If you do a majority of your shooting with such a lens at wider focal lengths, Sigma has the one-stop faster 24–35mm f/2 (equally sharp, less aberrations). All these third party lenses have slightly slower AF, but nothing that would hinder. Most importantly, they all have a significantly lower price tag. Of course, the Nikkor’s greatest competition is the Nikkor itself—a used copy of the older one. The compromises (cost, size, weight) may not justify the gains (VR, sharpness gains) for some, especially those who largely use this as a wedding lens, where perfect corners may not be as essential. But of course, for some, this conclusion may not matter. A fast 24–70mm is the workhorse that you may need day in and day out, and as a working professional, especially if you are someone who is not as comfortable with third-party lenses, the Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8E VR is a better iteration of a familiar workhorse.

Performance If you are shooting between 24 and 35mm, there is a visible improvement in sharpness, both at f/2.8, as well as stopped down. The lens is tack sharp and does justice to the D810 sensor, something that couldn’t be said about its predecessor. Sharpness suffers a little as you zoom in, but it’s still very good. Distortion is present, but is minimal and easily correctible. The focus throw is extremely small, which improves the AF speed... it’s even zippier than the old lens which was already very fast. Surprisingly (and pleasingly), the small focus throw does not hinder while trying to focus manually. VR works very well, giving four usable stops at the wide end, and around three at the telephoto end. au g u st 2 0 1 6

While centre sharpness sees only slight improvement over the old version, the corners are excellent and it’s liberating to get the benefit of a very efficient VR, as seen in this picture shot at 48mm. 1/15sec at f/2.8 (ISO 2000)

FINALRATINGS Features

19/20

VR, aspherical ED lens element

Performance

32/35

Excellent sharpness, fast AF, some CA

Build Quality

23/25

Excellent build, no weathersealing

Ergonomics

13/15

Off/Normal/Active VR switch, rather heavy

Warranty & Support

4/5

Wide service network, two year warranty

OVERALL 91% Who should buy it? Pro wedding photographers and photojournalists using 24MP or 36MP bodies who also shoot video, and would need to use Power Aperture.

Why? It’s a little expensive, but does much better justice to high-resolution sensors as compared to the older lens, and the VR is invaluable for both stills and video.

Value for Money Better PhotograPhy


TEST

DED MMEN O C E R

Sony FE 24–70mm f/2.8 GM

Quite a Masterstroke

The Sony FE 24–70mm f/2.8 GM is the first f/2.8 pro zoom for the popular A7 series of cameras. Raj Lalwani puts it to the test, and comes away pleased, but with a few reservations.

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long with the newly announced 85mm f/1.4 GM, the Sony 24–70mm f/2.8 GM heralds the beginning of the G Master lineup of lenses, which according to the company, are the flagship lenses of their system, built for the discerning pro.

Features The optical design is impressive. In Sony’s words, there are “three aspherical elements including a newly developed, extremely precise XA (extreme aspherical) element that reduces aberration and delivers the ultimate resolution throughout the zoom range and aperture range, as well as from corner to corner of all image files.” WEIGHTAGE OF PARAMETERS 5% 15% 25%

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Handling The build quality of the 24–70mm is sturdy, with the lens being rated as resistant to both dust and moisture. I was surprised to see its size and weight though, as it is bigger and heavier than similar lenses from other manufacturers, and almost as heavy as the new Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8E that we have tested in this issue, despite the fact that the Nikkor has VR, while the Sony depends on the camera’s stabilisation! The design has been looked at in minute detail. The focal length markings are not

flat on the barrel as they are in most other lenses. Instead, they are printed on the raised area where the zoom ring steps up, which actually allows you to see the focal length from the corner of your eye, without removing your eye from the viewfinder. Aside from a zoom lock switch, there is a lens hood release, and most usefully, an AF-lock button that prevents the lens from refocusing while it is kept pressed. This is an invaluable, not-very-commonly found feature that can be very useful in critical, rapidly changing situations.

P LU S • Extremely sharp • AF-lock switch MINUS • Size-weight balance • Price

Performance The Sony 24–70mm f/2.8 GM is arguably the sharpest lens of its type, amongst those we have tested. The corners are quite good wide open, but stop down to f/4, and we are reaching near levels of perfection, with f/5.6 S P E C I F I CAT I O N S Model name

Sony FE 24–70 mm f/2.8 GM

MRP

Rs. 1,54,990

Lens construction

18 elements in 13 groups

Closest focusing distance 0.38m Max. Magnification

1:4

Diaphragm blades

9

Max. Aperture

2.8

Dimensions, Weight

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being the sweet spot. The level of sharpness is maintained across the zoom range, and considering how accurate contrast-detect AF tends to be, I was delighted by the detail I could extract out of the A7R II. AF is fast, but is hindered by the camera itself, which, admittedly, is nowhere near as good as DSLRs in its price range, especially when light levels fall. That said, this Sony lens is the fastest focusing lens within this system. Light falloff (around two stops at the wide end) and barrel distortion are seen, but are correctible. There is some coma that’s visible in the corners in extreme conditions. Bokeh is particularly lovely.

Conclusion There is no doubt that the Sony 24–70mm f/2.8 GM is a stunning piece of optics. The lack of stabilisation may be an issue for those who own the first-generation Sony A7 cameras, but since the newer ones have an extremely efficient five-axis stabilisation, I don’t see that being a problem. That the A7R II is also arguably the best 35mm sensor at the moment, only means that this combo is guaranteed to give you the best possible image quality, while retaining the convenience of zoom. This (along with the three or four excellent au g u st 2 0 1 6

primes that are now available) is a lens that finally allows the company to project the A7 series as a serious system for extensive, gruelling pro assignments... leaving aside, of course, the quirks and compromises that the cameras have, so far. The only downside is the size and weight, and while that would be expected of any fast 24–70mm, the camera-body balance leaves a lot to be desired here, considering how slim the A7 cameras are. It is time that Sony stops using a purported size advantage to promote the FE system. With the lenses being bigger than equivalent products in rival systems (another case in point being the 35mm f/1.4), the A7R with this lens becomes as obtrusive as a Nikon D750 with its equivalent VR-enabled lens. And this, whilst having all the problems of a truncated design, including awkward handling and poor battery life. Until now, one felt that the A7 cameras need some masterful lenses. Now that we have them, one realises how much better these optics would be on a better designed body, even one that’s as big (but thus, comfortable) as a DSLR. If they make steps in this direction in the upcoming photokina, Sony’s masterstroke will surely give other manufacturers a lot to ponder over.

The AF-lock button is an extremely useful tool for street photographers and allows you to override the rather simplistic AF system of the A7 cameras. 1/500sec at f/16 (ISO 640)

FINALRATINGS Features

18/20

Fast aperture, AF-lock button, XA button

Performance

34/35

Extremely sharp, slight fringing

Build Quality

24/25

Weather sealing, zoom locking mechanism

Ergonomics

12/15

Poor lens-body balance, well designed

Warranty & Support

3/5

Good number of service centres

OVERALL 91% Who should buy it? Professional photographers and cinematographers, who need the flexibility of zoom.

Why? This is an incredibly sharp lens and is the first zoom lens to do full justice to the 42MP sensor of the A7R II.

Value for Money Better PhotograPhy


mi cr o test

Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive

Vanguard Up-Rise II 49

A Much Needed Expanse

The Feel Good Factor

How useful is the Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive? Natasha Desai investigates.

Sakshi Parikh discovers the comforts of using the new Vanguard Up-Rise II 49.

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or the most part, I am extremely happy being an Apple user. The only major caveat of the device is its lack of expandable space that makes me envious of Android. And even if one wants to buy a phone with more storage, you end up emptying your pockets. And, it is in this existential dilemma where the iXpand comes into use. Available upto 128GB in storage, the second generation iXpand from Sandisk is a major improvement over the first, which was bulkier because it had its own battery. This one is a sleeker version which draws from the phone’s battery and has a tonne of functionality packed into it. Via the Sandisk iXpand app, you can shoot images and videos which get stored directly onto the device,. While shooting images, I had no issue with the device being plugged into the phone as it is small enough to be pretty unobtrusive, unlike the first iteration of the device. You can even have the app back up images from your camera roll automatically when you plug it in to your phone or iPad. Interestingly, you can even back up images from your social media accounts. With USB 3.0, transfer speeds are fast. Even if you fill up the device with files, viewing images or watching videos do not take long to navigate through. While the functionality and usability of this phone is undeniably excellent, the price may make someone think twice. Although it is far cheaper than having to upgrade to a phone with more storage.

S p e c i f i cat i o n S • Product Name: Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive • MRP: Rs. 3990 (16GB) Rs. 4990 (32GB) Rs. 6990 (64GB) Rs. 9990 (128GB)

Product source: Sandisk India www.amazon.in R at i n g

Better PhotograPhy

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ravelling light is every photographer’s dilemma. We love to carry our gear, but at the same time the weight of the bag is troublesome. The new lightweight Vanguard Up-Rise II 49 backpack offers a solution to this problem by offering optimal weight distribution. This adds to the convenience of carrying a camera bag for a longer duration without any difficulty. The Up-Rise II 49 has a large padded interior and is well organised. It can easily fit a large professional kit, which consists of a DSLR with an attached telephoto lens, an additional body, up to seven lenses, two flash units and several other accessories. The bag also has a separate dedicated rear laptop space that can fit a 15-inch laptop. It is durable and has a water resistant material along the bottom. The ergonomics include an Air system back and a harness for comfortable carriage. It also has full rain coverage, a tripod carrying system on the side and a double buckle safety mechanism. The aspect of security is questionable as the bag has only one multipurpose pocket in front with no safety lock on the zipper. The absence of the Quick-Access element is a hindrance for photographers who love to capture every single moment. However, the Up-Rise II 49 is a good choice for those who love to shoot indoors in a controlled environment like a studio.

S p e c i f i cat i o n S • Product Name: Vanguard Up-Rise II 49 • MRP: Rs. 10,990 • Max Capacity: 13.5kg • Weight: 2kg

Product source: Nikita Distributors, Tel: +91 20 30500608 R at i n g

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Cellphone

MATTERS OF ABSTRACTION

Joshua Sariñana’s intricate relationship with photographs, memory and behavioural neuroscience We test the photographic capabilities of the Asus Zenfone Max, OnePlus 3, LeEco Le Max 2, Oppo F1 Plus & the Honor 5C 8 photographic practices to make your travels even more memorable


Editorial “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to put up work that may not necessarily find appreciation. If the picture makes you happy, go ahead and share it with the world.”

Finding Your Version of ‘Right’ We’re often told to not rush into the moment and pause before pressing the shutter. In this brief recess, we’re expected to consider the frame in front of us, and decide whether we’re absolutely sure about making the picture. There should be intent, especially in a world where it has become so easy to record images. But does this apply to someone just starting out in the medium? I don’t think so. I remember when I began my journey in photography, I would spend hours searching for the right time and subject to photograph, without really knowing what this ‘right’ looked like. There was intent, but no vision to make it possible. May be it was the ‘right’ that I saw in other people’s pictures, which I never seemed to find in my own. But because I was new and adamant, and had restricted myself, I never quite discovered it. Gradually, I found myself shooting less and less, and as a result, I wasn’t learning much. That’s when I decided to let go. In a way, I became a little impulsive, and began photographing everything, even the subjects I knew that wouldn’t receive a second glance, let alone a first one. Don’t take this as arrogance, but I was hell-bent on subduing this raging hunger within me, to shoot everything I laid my eyes on. After keeping at it for several months, I finally began to separate moments and let go of the inconsequential ones. This was important, because from here on, I knew I would be spending a lot more time refining my vision. You see, I had already found the ‘right’, my version of it. I apply the same concept when it comes to sharing my work on social media too. For the most part, I avoid fretting too much over whether a picture works technically or not. I have one criteria—does the photograph stir any emotion within me? Weeks or months later when I scroll through my Facebook or Instagram feed, I am able to see how much I have progressed, and at times, I even giggle at my choices. Having this visual evolution is crucial I think, as it is a reminder of where you began and how far you’ve come.

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Conchita Fernandes

Instagram: @schmoochita

Untitled by Joshua Sariñana “My photos expose the beauty within the darker aspects of existence– disconnection, loneliness, longing, and I do not shy away from the hidden corners of life.”

Joshua connects his background in neuroscience to understand how and why the brain reacts a certain way to a scene, before we photograph it— Turn to page 70 Cover photograph by Joshua Sariñana

“Before you make a photo, listen for the story you’re trying to tell.” ernest hemIngway (1899-1961) Nobel Laureate and American novelist, Ernest Miller Hemingway strongly influenced the 20th century genre of fiction with his minimal style of writing. He is fondly remembered for his contributions to the literary world, A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea, which won the Pulitzer prize in 1953.

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Better PhotograPhy


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asus Zenfone Max

same phone, More power Conchita Fernandes puts the latest iteration from Asus, the Zenfone Max, to the test and finds out what’s new in the phone.

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attery life has always been one of the biggest concerns for cellphone users, and that’s what Asus has sought to give its consumers with the Zenfone Max, which is said to deliver a long battery life. Let’s take a look and see if this is true and if there are any new additions to the phone.

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Same Features After a quick look at its features, you will see that the Zenfone Max is an identical twin of the Zenfone 2 Laser, which I reviewed

All Photographs by Conchita Fernandes

even though the lens on the phone isn’t very contrasty, it captures a decent amount of detail.

last year. Here’s a quick recap of what they are. There is a 13MP rear camera with a dual-toned flash, a 5MP front camera and a laser powered autofocus system. The phone also offers a Manual mode, where you control shutterspeed, ISO, Exposure and White Balance. It has a Super Resolution feature too, which lets you create 50MP photographs. There is an HDR and a Low Light mode too, where in the latter you can photograph 3MP stills. Additionally, the phone lets you shoot a burst of 100 images without any lag,

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the phone’s 5000 mAh battery acts like a powerbank for your other devices. this makes it an ideal companion to carry around.

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the phone’s laser powered autofocus system worked best on subjects that were just a few feet away from me. but at just 3MP. This feature however, is not available in the Manual mode of the camera.

What Works and What Doesn’t

INStAFOllOW NOW Save Family Photos (@savefamilyphotos) is an initiative to create a visual diary of people’s favourite family photographs and long forgotten ones, along with a story coinciding with the image. au g u st 2 0 1 6

With its simple camera interface and accessible features, the Zenfone Max is quite an easy device to photograph with. I usually preferred using the Manual mode of the camera to shoot with, as I wasn’t a big fan of how the Auto mode rendered the photographs. In most cases in the latter, the sky was overexposed and the overall image would have a bit of a washed out look. The colours in the photographs too, were not as punchy as I would have expected it to be. Quite often, I found myself reaching out for the Snapseed app to postprocess my images. On the other hand, I was very happy with the phone’s battery life. After spending a dedicated four to five hours shooting with it, it was still left with enough of juice to keep the device running till the end of the day.

Not So Bad After All There is nothing to dislike in the Zenfone Max. Although its image quality was just about decent, the phone makes up for it by offering several features, along with a good battery life. And all of this is available for just Rs. 9,999, for the 2GB RAM version. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to pick one up for themselves.

At A glANce specifications

13MP rear camera, f/2 aperture, 32GB inbuilt memory (expandable to 64GB), Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB RAM, Rs. 9,999

what we like

Battery life, packed with features

what we dislike

Overexposed daylight images, average colour rendition

why buy it?

It is a feature packed phone with a good battery life, all available at a budget-friendly price

FINAl RAtINgS

84%

caMeRa featuRes Laser autofocus, histogram

22/25

iMaGe Quality Decent image quality

24/30

Video Quality Smooth video with decent sound pickup

13/15

handlinG Textured leather-like exterior makes it easy to hold

13/15

speed & ResponsiVeness Quick phone with rarely any lag

12/15 Better PhotograPhy


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oneplus 3

the one who never settles With the launch of the OnePlus 3, Conchita Fernandes puts it to the test and finds out if the phone lives up to its popular lineage.

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ince the beginning, OnePlus has sought to give users the best quality and design at a pocketfriendly price point. No wonder their phones are so eagerly anticipated and often sold out. This time though, the OnePlus 3 was available on a non-invite basis. So as soon as I received the phone, I was not curious, but eager to see what the latest iteration had in store.

All photographs by Conchita Fernandes

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What’s new in the Phone The OnePlus 3 has been upgraded to a 16MP f/2 rear camera with OIS and EIS, and an 8MP front camera. But, the phone misses the dual LED flash and laser AF present in the OP 2, and features an LED flash instead. Also, the company has brought back RAW shooting, only that you cannot shoot in RAW when using the burst mode (20 images) and the Manual mode in the camera.

In the auto mode, the camera has HDRa highlighted, which means that it decides whether the scene requires the use of HDR or not. Of course, the use of HDR, which is always done by quick burst, can produce strange albeit interesting results while shooting fast moving subjects. BetteR PHOtOGRAPHY

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Otherwise, the phone more or less retains the same features as the OP 2, with a 5.5-inch display (which performed well on extremely bright days), 4k video recording at 30fps and the inclusion of NFC. The only downgrade appears to be in the battery, which has been reduced from 3300mAh to 3000mAh.

The Good and the Bad

InSTaFOllOW nOW Follow Ryan (@the_mushroom_ ninja) on his quest for the most vibrant and peculiar-looking mushroom in nature. au g u st 2 0 1 6

The OnePlus provides the usual modes— Time Lapse, Slow Motion, Photo, Video, Manual and Panorama. There is also an HD and HDR option, which can be accessed only one at a time. The HD option is said to produce sharper images, but I did not find much of a difference. As for my shooting experience, the OnePlus 3 was an absolute delight. It was fast with no lag in AF. However, I wasn’t too kicked about the quality of the JPEGs. There was noise reduction, with very visible smearing. The RAW files on the other hand, were very good. Nevertheless, the camera did a good job in capturing quite a lot of details and textures in the photographs, and did not over brighten the scene. There was minimal to no flare as well.

What Makes it a Steal Despite its average JPEG engine, the OnePlus 3, is a good phone on the whole. At Rs. 27,999, you are not just getting good image quality, a RAW shooting feature and 4k video recording, but a device with double the RAM (6GB) than the OnePlus 2 and more importantly, a phone that offers a good build quality and feels extremely sleek and stylish to carry around. At the price point it’s available for, the OnePlus 3 feels like a bit of a steal, and definitely lives up to its popular lineage.

For the most part, the phone stays true to the original colours of the scene and does not oversaturate it.

aT a Glance specifications

16MP f/2 rear camera, 8MP front camera, 64GB inbuilt memory, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 6GB RAM, Rs. 27,999

what we like

Sleek design, great UI, good colour reproduction, fast AF

what we dislike

Unable to shoot RAW in the Manual mode

why buy it?

The phone produces good images, offers great specs and hardware, all at a very pocket-friendly price tag.

FInal RaTInGS

85%

caMeRa featuRes 16MP rear camera, OIS, fast phone

22/25

iMaGe Quality Good low light performance and RAW files

24/30

Video Quality 4k video at 30fps

13/15

handlinG Easy to hold, smooth exterior

13/15

speed & ResponsiVeness Speedy phone without any lag

13/15 Better PhotograPhy


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leeco le Max 2

a decent successor

Conchita Fernandes tests the LeEco Le Max 2 and finds out how its camera fares against its contenders.

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ecently, the smartphone arena saw the launch of important flagship phones, one of which was the LeEco Le Max 2. Specswise, the Le Max 2 is quite similar to the Le Max, which was launched earlier this year. It features the same 21MP rear camera, but has upgraded the front camera from 4MP to 8MP. The size of the phone has also received a makeover. Where the Le

All Photographs by Conchita Fernandes

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Max had a huge 6.30-inch display, the Le Max 2 has been downsized to 5.7-inches. Let’s look what else the phone has to offer.

lots to choose From LeEco has always been big on giving its users a plethora of camera features to choose from. The camera’s UI is quite reminiscent of the iPhone, and provides a Slo-Mo, Video, Photo and Panorama

this photograph was shot on an extremely bright sunny day. Despite this, the phone managed to maintain details in the water and the man’s shirt, and also did a good job with the highlights and shadows in the scene. BetteR PHOtOGRAPHY

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mode, which can be accessed with a simple swipe of the screen. The phone offers a variety of filters as well, and lets you adjust shutterspeed, WB, ISO and Exposure. You can also focus and meter for the subject by separating the focusing and metering point, a feature which is quite unique to most cameraphones in the market. Other features include an HDR, Night, Beauty, Scene and Square mode.

Good Performance, But... On the camera front, the Le Max 2 was not a disappointing shooter. Although there were a few instances where the AF was a little slow (especially in low light), the camera otherwise was quick and shoots a burst of 30 photographs at a go. The phone also did not produce blown out highlights, even on extremely bright days. But it was a bit of a pain to shoot on such days, as the display was barely visible, despite the device’s Adaptive Brightness feature.

the le Max 2’s fingerprint sensor on the back can be optimised to act What it Really Misses as a secondary As a new iteration to the Le Max lineup, the shutter button. Le Max 2 is not as significant as I expected au g u st 2 0 1 6

it to be. Considering that it is priced at Rs. 22,999 for the 4GB RAM version and Rs. 29,999 for the 6GB RAM variant, I was expecting it to offer its users RAW shooting. More so, since the OnePlus 3 offers this feature at a Rs. 27,999 price tag. However, if you keep these features aside, on the whole, the Le Max 2 provides good image quality and quite a stylish exterior. If RAW shooting is not a concern and you enjoy looking at your pictures on a large display, the Le Max 2 is one of the better options.

Under good lighting conditions, the camera’s aF performed well and also produced good colours.

at a Glance specifications

21MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, 5.7-inch display, 32GB inbuilt memory, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM, Rs. 22,999

what we like

Stylish exterior, good UI

what we dislike

AF performance in low light, no RAW

why buy it?

The Le Max 2 offers good image quality and a plethora of features to choose from, along with a 4k video recording option

FInal RatInGS

80%

caMeRa featuRes 21MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, OIS

21/25

iMaGe Quality Good in ambient light and decent in low light

22/30

Video Quality 4k video recording

13/15

handlinG A little bulky to hold

12/15

speed & ResponsiVeness Quick phone with minimal lag

12/15 Better PhotograPhy


TEST

Oppo F1 Plus

16MP for Your Face!

D

ENDE

MM RECO

Natasha Desai tests the photographic prowess of Oppo’s premium F1 Plus.

T

he original ‘Selfie Expert’, the F1 from Oppo was a bit of a let down as it offered nothing too unique in its price segment. The Oppo F1 Plus on the other hand, comes with a 16MP front camera, a 13MP rear camera and an uncanny resemblance to an iPhone, and is priced at Rs. 26,990.

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both the RAWs and the JPEGs. The camera does, however, struggle with highlights and tends to blow them out completely if one is not careful. Low light performance is good and the images are usable, but the details do tend to get smeary at higher ISOs. What is really impressive is the performance of the 16MP front camera, which makes good pictures in bright light and has considerably good low light performance as well.

Quality and Performance

Is the Price Right For You? At this price point, Oppo is very clearly demarcating the F1 Plus as a premium phone. It has rightfully earned its tag of being the ‘Selfie Expert’, unlike the F1. My only grouse is the lack of interest in photography which is what their F series is supposed to be about. As far as this phone goes, I’m not entirely sure I would pay the price for a better resolution on the front camera. But for those who do require a good front camera, this would be an ideal investment, owing to its overall features.

AT A GLANCE SPECIFICATIONS

13MP rear camera, 16MP front camera, 5.5-inch display, MediaTek MT6755 Octa-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Rs. 26,990.

WHAT WE LIKE

Good low light performance, RAW capability, UI, premium build

WHAT WE DISLIKE

Price, blown out highlights

WHY BUY IT?

If you require the use of the front camera on a regular basis, then this phone will the do the job more than efficiently.

FINAL RATINGS

Natasha Desai

The JPEG results of this phone were more than satisfactory considering this is a cellphone sensor. For someone not looking ot print images, using RAW would be unnecessary.

The phone has a simple camera menu which offers the Ultra HD mode, filters, a GIF generator, a Double Exposure mode and the Expert mode, which gives you manual control over your images in the form of WB, Exposure Compensation, ISO, Shutterspeed, Focus and RAW capability. Manual control is not available for the front camera, however. The 13MP rear camera produces pretty good results. There are enough of retrievable details in shadows in

Shooting in RAW is available only in the Expert mode.

81%

CAMERA FEATURES 13MP rear camera, 16MP front camera

20/25

IMAGE QUALITY Good in both bright and low light

26/30

VIDEO QUALITY Full-HD video recording

11/15

HANDLING Lightweight, sleek

13/15

SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Quick to respond, with decent autofocus

11/15 AU G U ST 2 0 1 6


test

Honor 5c

An Average Performer

Natasha Desai gets her hands on the pocketfriendly Honor 5C to see what’s new.

H

How it Perfomed

onor’s latest offering to the already crowded budget segment is the Honor 5c. With this phone, it brings a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera at Rs. 10,999. I set out to find out whether it was up to the mark.

The camera offers object tracking, which is average at best. The autofocus too, is a little sluggish, especially in low light. Image quality in bright light is usable online and for small screens, but I was not happy with the loss in detail. At higher ISOs like 1600, images become increasingly smeary and surprisingly, even at lower ISOs, loss in detail is very evident. As is the norm with Honor, it has an Ultra Snapshot mode which shoots an image when you use the volume button, when the device is locked. However, more often than not, you’re going to be staring at a blurry image because of no OIS.

What’s in the Bag?

In this image, the autofocus struggled quite a bit before finally focussing on the bird.

As with all Honor phones, it offers a slew of options in the camera menu. Apart from the usual suspects, the phone very interestingly offers a Pro Video mode. Here, you can adjust your metering, exposure compensation, focus mode, and white balance, which I think is very interesting for the price point that the phone is at. The Pro Photo mode gives you control over the same parameters and additionally, shutterspeed and ISO too.

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In conclusion I am usually quite happy with Honor, as it caters good products at affordable price points. But with this phone, I was a little let down with the camera quality. I would think that the LeEco Le 1s that we reviewed a few issues ago, would be a better option for the same price.

at a glance sPecificAtions

13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, 5.2-inch display, Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A5, 2GB RAM, Rs. 10,999

wHAt we like

Premium build on a budget, Pro Video mode

wHAt we dislike

Sluggish AF, average image quality

wHy buy it?

The Honor 5C is a good looking phone available at a budget-friendly price, but with average camera performance

Natasha Desai

FInal RatIngS

au B egtutste r2 0 1P6h o t o g r a P h y

77%

cAMeRA feAtuRes 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera

19/25

iMAGe QuAlity Not enough of detail in images, poor low light performance

22/30

Video QuAlity Full-HD video recording

12/15

HAndlinG Smaller sized with a smooth exterior that gets slippery

13/15

sPeed & ResPonsiVeness Responsive, but a slow shooter

11/15 B e t t e r P h o au t oggursta P2 0h1y6


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cellphone Technique

There may be lots of moments during your travel when you have to wait for someone or something to begin. Do what Dinesh Khanna does at such times. “Whenever I have to wait for someone, I don’t just stand in one place, I walk around, look for a potential subject that I can photograph.” Shot with: Apple iPhone 6s Plus

8For A Unique Travel Diary

Photography Practices

A journey without pictures is unimaginable...Natasha Desai suggests a few practices that you can apply to your cellphone photography during your travels, wherever they may take you.

W

hether it is a vacation with family or a road trip with friends, photography and travel are intrinsically linked. And, with our cellphones, chronicling has become even easier. So, whether you head to the mountains or to the beach in search of nirvana, we have a few ideas that you could use to make your cellphone travel diary truly distinctive.

BeTTer phoTography

1

Find One Thing to Concentrate On

There are a tremendous number of things to take in when visiting a new place. Sights, sounds, fragrances, colours, people... the urge to capture it all can get overhwleming. You could cut through it all and pick one thing to shoot through the trip, whether it is the colours that you consider in your composition or the striking faces you see around you.

INSTAFOLLOW NOW Photographer Ben Lowy (@benlowy) makes conceptual, surreal ‘walkscapes’ on @conceptualben which are images from his walks whether at home or around the world. au g u st 2 0 1 6

Prashanth Vishwanathan

64


cellphone Technique

“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” —Marc Riboud

65

Aditya Nair

“I photograph what I see in front of me, I move in close to see better and use a wide-angle lens to get as much as possible in the frame,” said William Klein of the wide-angle camera frame, which is what a cellphone offers today. Shot with: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Take Inspiration From: Pierre Poulain— “Can you achieve one photograph where you don’t have to explain, where it is so simple and you do not need the mercy of words to tell your story? If not, then your photograph is not simple enough.” au g u st 2 0 1 6

2

Do the Opposite

The point of view of the image is determined by an individual’s height. On your trip, experiment with vantage points you would not normally shoot from. Better PhotograPhy


cellphone Technique

“When I photograph, I do not think much... I believe that the result of this work stays in me and at the moment of photographing it comes out, without my thinking of it.” –Joseph Koudelka

Arati Kumar-Rao

66

Take Inspiration From: Ernst Haas— “Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.”

Inspiration for your Travel Diary Read ficiton books about the place you’re going to visit, see the art that comes from there. As Saul Leiter said, “It isn’t always just the photos you take that matters. It is looking at the world and seeing things that you never photograph that could be photographs if you had the energy to keep taking pictures every second of your life.” Better PhotograPhy

3

Use a New App This Time

This sounds like a simple idea, but one that is not explored enough. You could use apps that completely transform photos like Glitchr, Polar Panorama, Mextures, amongst others. Take Inspiration From: David Alan Harvey— “Limits are freedom.”

4

Chase the Light

The early morning light and the golden hour have a beautiful quality to them. With the shadows that come with it, you could make the light a graphical subject in your images. Take Inspiration From: Daido Moriyama— “When I walk around I probably look like a street dog because after walking around the main roads, I keep wandering around the back streets.”

5

Tell the Story Minimially

A typical travel diary includes pictures of everyday scenes, people, and food. Make sure that the elements in your image are interacting with each other as little as possible and make creative use of negative space. Take Inspiration From: Mary Ellen Mark— “The background can sometimes fight with the subject. When you’re in a crowded area, you have to separate the elements: move around and layer a crowded frame to place things at different distances and angles.”

6

Sometimes the most simple, ignored aspect like the clouds can tell a story about a place. “Any artist picks and chooses what they want to paint or write about or say. Photographers are the same,” said Richard Avedon. Shot with: Apple iPhone 6s

A Unique Point of View

Search Instagram for images of the place that you are visiting. With so many uploads, it will give you an idea of what not to shoot! Take Inspiration From: Diane Arbus— “I don’t like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself” au g u st 2 0 1 6


Ritesh uttamchandani

Prashanth Vishwanathan

cellphone Technique

Walker Evans found, “There are infinite possibilities both decorative in itself and as popular art, as folk art, and also as symbolism and meaning and surprise and double meaning.” Look for the characteristics of the place you are visitng with a keen eye.

7

Be Unafraid

Shoot genres that are outside your comfort zone on your travels. If you shoot nature, try architecture or people instead. Take Inspiration From: Martin Parr— “I often do not look at people I photograph, especially afterwards. Also when I want a photo, I become somewhat fearless, and this helps a lot. There will always be someone who objects to being photographed, and when this happens you move on.”

8

Find a Single Point of Focus

Whether it is a particular trait of the city, a repeating shape or motif, shoot just the one thing that is a unique characteristic of that place. Take Inspiration From: Rene Burri— “...Go and cover things that nobody else is thinking about. Put your nose into things... the fantastic thing about photography is that you are able to freeze a moment that can never come back .”

Have fun with your images like Elliott Erwitt said,“I’m not a serious photographer like most of my colleagues. That is to say, I’m serious about not being serious.” Shot with: Apple iPhone 6s

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Shot with: Apple iPhone 5s

Prashanth Vishwanathan

Avoid cliches of a partiular place, as Alex Tehrani says, “Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures out of uninteresting moments.” Shot with: Apple iPhone 6s Plus au g u st 2 0 1 6

Better PhotograPhy


ProFILe

Joshua Sariñana

• He received his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied the genetic basis of contextual memory formation. He is also a research fellow at the Harvard Medical School. • Joshua is influenced by the extensive usage of colour as seen in the works of Stephen Shore, William Eggleston and David Hockney. • He regularly contributes articles related to interactions between neuroscience, image making and culture on PetaPixel. • Joshua has a special liking for thriller movies like Children of Men, and philosophical fiction like Albert Camus’s The Stranger.

Elegiac Musings

To escape the monotony he observes in human actions, Joshua photographs people from afar along the uneventful journey between work and home.

Sakshi Parikh marvels at Joshua Sariñana’s relationship with consciousness, neuroscience and photography.

W

hen I first saw Joshua Sariñana’s photographs, one of them reminded me of an image that appeared on the cover of Paula Hawkin’s psychological thriller, The Girl on the Train. As I continued to go through them, I sensed a pattern. The pictures moved from partially obscured frames to prismatic designs, thus weaving an unfathomable story around them.

Better PhotograPhy

In a way, the images gave a feeling of detachment, and the more I browsed, I felt that there was more to his work. It was only after Joshua and I spoke that he opened up about his struggle with depression, and things seemed to fall in place.

What’s in the Mind? Joshua began studying Neuroscience in order to understand his depression. “I wanted to know what was actually

find Joshua here! Instagram: @j_sarinana Website: www. joshuasarinana.com au g u st 2 0 1 6


ProFILe

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Joshua aims at forming a documentary-style narrative that might create a cohesive story about the human species and their connectivity with each other. au g u st 2 0 1 6

Better PhotograPhy


ProFILe

“My photos expose the beauty within the darker aspects of existence– disconnection, loneliness, longing, and i do not shy away from the hidden corners of life.”

70

in synurbization, he reflects upon the adaptive changes made by birds and humans 65 million years after the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event that led to the destruction of all the non avian dinosaurs.

Better PhotograPhy

triggering my behaviour. I have been struggling with clinical depression for more than 13 years, and studying Behavioural Neuroscience helped me comprehend it better,” he said. After spending a semester in Paris and shooting incessantly with his Kodak Advantix C700 camera, it led him to uncover the therapeutic effects of photography. Eventually, it became the primary focus of his research and dwelled on the various behavioural aspects of a photographer. Now, photography is more

about discovering what encouraged him to make an image, than just the aesthetics.

Memory and Photography During the course of his research linking depression with photography, Joshua derived interesting insights about imagery and its effect on the brain. “Several encounters contribute to our memory. The photos we take can store similar details based on our experiences. In this regard, an image is very much like a memory of a life event,” he said.

insTafoLLoW noW Follow Carlein Van Der Beek (@ilein), a painter who uses the cellphone to create moody mix-media paintings, inspired from colours light and shapes. au g u st 2 0 1 6


PROFILE

71

some of his photographs like this one, give an impression of surveillance. Joshua has tried to maintain a distance from his subjects, thereby diminishing his presence in own mind. J u LY 2 0 1 6

BEttER PhOtOgRaPhy


PROFILE

72

BEttER PhOtOgRaPhy

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PROFILE

“Mobile photography finds its social roots in the 1970s via the Polaroid camera and postmodern art.”

Being absorbed by nature does not occur often when living in a crowded city. however, when i came across this reflection i happened to look down into the puddle as the leaves aligned with the branches they recently fell from. au g u st 2 0 1 6

Vibrant hues and deep shadows play a very important role in his photographs, which you will a find a lot of in his series titled From Afar. Using his knowledge of colour tones, he points out how nostalgia can be triggered using postprocessing tools. “A driving force of nostalgia is the growth of social media brought by the smartphone—precisely the ubiquitous use of retro filter-based apps that recall the photographic styles of the decade,” he says. However, Joshua believes that frequent reminiscing can also ruin your imagination. He refers to a study, which deals with a damaged hippocampus, an area of the brain that is responsible for creating new memories and imagination. “Someone with hippocampal damage can easily describe the picture in front of him. Yet, if asked what could exist outside the frame, then that person is unable to provide any imagined scenarios. Similarly, the damage also affects the ability to imagine future possibilities,” he mentions.

Collect, study and Curate Joshua’s photographs give a varied sense of perspective to the viewers. Be it an element of scale in his From Afar series to feeling of fleetingness in Synurbization. On the other hand, in Surface and Consciousness the viewer witnesses a shift in focus as Joshua shoots the reflections of mundane buildings, skies and trees as seen in puddles. By eliminating a living element in his frames, he has tried to create images that draw you closer only to push you away.

Joshua believes that architectural structures represent the emotional activity of the brain. Like body cells, architecture alone is not alive. human interaction within an architecture is what makes it alive.

decoding the Process Joshua’s photographs are visual narratives of his emotional evolution. The progression from having minimal human presence to a total absence of it, adds to the somber undertone in his pictures. As renowned French philosopher Albert Camus once said, “In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.” His pictures, as carefully layered as they are, give a feeling of transition and hope. BEttER PhOtOgRaPhy


READERs’ gALLERY

readers’ gallery

Better Cellphone Photography’s readers were given the challenge to photograph urban landscapes this month.

Winner

Reflected Reality sapratibha Mondal, Kolkata What made me shoot this: The edge of the building made it look like the scene was divided into two halves. It was almost like looking at a before and after photograph. What I learnt: Always be on the lookout for the unusual. In this case, I realised how reflections can be used to trick the viewer’s sense of reality. Shot with: OnePlus 2

74

Evolving Urbanscape Abhinav Parvathareddy, Hyderabad What made me shoot this: The overcast sky lent a very gloomy tone to the construction site. It reminded me of how urbanisation has led to the rapid clearing up of land. What I learnt: Most of us are either unaware of or don’t make use of the various camera features and modes present in the cellphone. Something as simple as the Panorama mode, helped me make this image. Shot with: Apple iPhone 6 Plus BEttER PHotogRAPHY

Honourable Mention Au g u st 2 0 1 6


READERs’ gALLERY

ured on to be feast, participate e these parg contests by in ou g on to loggin sts /conte graphy.in to o h p r e bett

Intersections and Corssroads stefano tomassetti, Rome

Drops of Jupiter saptarshi Mandal, Kolkata What made me shoot this: The reflection of the buildings reminded me of a city’s skyline. What I learnt: Shapes and forms don’t always have to be entirely distinguishable. Sometimes, it’s nice to leave it up to the viewer to decode the various elements in a photograph. Shot with: Samsung Galaxy Core

Honourable Mention

What made me shoot this: I was looking at the bustling traffic from the confines of my hotel window, and was intrigued by the letter X formed by the two intersecting roads. What I learnt: I was fortunate to have the advantage of shooting from such a high vantage point. It goes to show how such factors matter in shaping one’s perspective, before the image is shot. Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s

Honourable Mention Au g u st 2 0 1 6

BEttER PHotogRAPHY

75


Sho otfrINg a met etChNIQue he S ta r

BetterPictures

Sakshi Parikh

Natasha Desai

Nitin Kunjir

76

Sakshi Parikh

Raj Lalwani

India’s Largest Auto Media

In the second edition of Frame The Star, thirty deserving semi-finalists got the opportunity to spend a day framing two elegant Mercedes-Benz cars, amidst the dizzying urbanscapes of Mumbai and Delhi... however or wherever they wanted! Natasha Desai brings you a few of Better Photography’s favourite images from India’s most unique automotive photography and filmmaking competition. Better PhotograPhy

au g u St 2 0 1 6


oN aSSIgNmeNt

oN aSSIgNmeNt

Tansforming vacant traffic intersections into enchanting spectacles of light

Bringing to light the architecture of metro stations in graphical detail.

94

fr a me t he S ta r

98

Sakshi Parikh K Madhavan Pillai

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Raj Lalwani

Natasha Desai

W

hen engaged in a faceoff like Frame the Star, you are challenged in a variety of ways. In the second edition of this competition, we asked our 30 participants to visually showcase two stunning cars, the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the MercedesBenz A-Class, in a day, set against the unforgiving concrete jungles of Mumbai and New Delhi. After a round of entries from an online contest, 11 photography and four videography contestants were selected for the semi-final round. Here, they competed against 11 and four photographers and videographers who we invited. The brief was simple, interpret the theme “With Mercedes-Benz, life beckons...” while incorporating the elements of a certain lifestyle within the cities.

au g u St 2 0 1 6

With their eyes on the finish line, the artists pushed the limits of their creativity and scoured the city in search of the best places to execute their vision. As we move ahead, the contestants’ images will be assessed by a panel of eminent judges, well versed in the creation of stunning frames with a stylish subject. After this, three winners from the photography category and two winners from the videography category will battle it out in the final round. The stakes are high and the contestants stand to win a drive experience with Mercedes-Benz and the very symbol of luxury and excellence itself—a Mercedes Benz car for a year! The next few pages bring you some of our favourite photographs from all the entries. Keep an eye out for the next issue in which we take you through the final round of Frame the Star.

From unrelenting and unpredictable rain to traffic snarls, curious passersby, uneven roads, and many more uncontrollable elements that come with cities, the contestants faced it all.

Better PhotograPhy


fr a me t he s ta r

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Better PhotograPhy

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fr a me t he s ta r

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Roopam Bansod,

25yrs, Sports Photographer “In one frame, I wanted to bring out the idea of life in a big city and the obvious presence demanded by a Mercedes-Benz. The bright lights, the silhouette of the city, the slick motion in the clouds, the stunning CLA along with the rain droplets on my lens, all worked towards bringing out the essence of Mumbai. au g u st 2 0 1 6

Better PhotograPhy


fr a me t he S ta r

Riddhi Parekh

28yrs, Commercial Photographer “As I imagined this image, I wanted a view from the window that looked like Mumbai, but in a very subtle way. The police cabin’s bright pop of yellow was perfect in the otherwise subdued landscape.”

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Harkiran Singh Bhasin

26yrs, Documentary Photographer

“The white lines, the divider and the plants in the background all aligned in a perfect pattern. Which in turn emphasised the lovely green of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.”

“When you think of the city, there are the obvious and then there are the unassuming, subtle elements that make it unique. Which is what I wanted to bring out in my images.” — Riddhi Parekh

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Sagar Shende

27yrs, Landscape Photographer “I wanted to fuse the peace I was feeling admist a patch of flora in the city with the stunning white canvas that was the car.”

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“When I was traversing the length of the city, I was looking for the moments of calm, the pauses in between the conversation and peaceful breathing spaces.” — Bindi Sheth

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Bindi Sheth,

47yrs, Documentary and fashion Photographer “The idea of ‘Bombay’ is incomplete without the sea for me. The vast expanse of the waters in front of the vehicle seemed to say that the car will be your companion through unchartered waters.” Better PhotograPhy

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“Call it serendipity or whatever you may, but the best photographs seem to appear in front of me when I’m not actually looking for them. It could be over a cup of chai or during a stroll, or when I’m staring into space, simply not thinking.” — Harkiran Singh Bhasin

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Harkiran Singh Bhasin

26yrs, Documentary Photographer

“Almost a few moments before setting out to shoot, I noticed a part of the footpath peeking out from the tree. It seemed like the perfect frame to depict the bits of ‘urban jungle’ we come across.

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“You may plan excessively and shoot intensely when it comes to a challenge, but sometimes a chance you take with a photograph turns out to be the best in the lot.” — Beej Lakhani

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Beej Lakhani

25yrs, Commercial Photographer “I love how the trail of lights in the background and the subtle reflection on the railing come together to highlight the Mercedes-Benz, standing in the center, headlights ablaze!�

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Rema Chaudhary 28yrs, fashion Photographer

“The moody-looking, rain splattered windows looked poetic, but lacked a certain depth to it. Adding my feet to the frame brought the kind of warmth that sometimes only a human presence can.�

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Bindi Sheth

47yrs, Documentary and fashion Photographer “Longing? Rejection? Introspection? There could be a multitude emotions that this photo would evoke. Perhaps, it would depend on the viewer’s own story.”

Dhruv Dhakan

26yrs, Street Photographer “Being a stickler for composition, I loved how the line of the window sill aligned with the lampost to make it look like a continuation. This ended up making the perfect frame to nestle the car in, paralel to all the other lines in the frame. au g u st 2 0 1 6

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Beej Lakhani

25yrs, Commercial Photographer “I had very little time to ensure the perfectness of the shot. In the midst of the swirling lights from other cars, I wanted the brilliant white A-Class to stand out.�

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Dhruv Dhakan 26yrs, Street Photographer

“After attempting to get the balloon positioned just right, and no interference from traffic, this frame emerged with the car as the centre of attention, in the midst of complementary colours and elements.”

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“Bringing out the relationship between the city and a beautiful car was an exercise in restraint...there was so much to show!” — Bindi Sheth Dhruv Dhakan

26yrs, Street Photographer “I like the division between the horizontal and vertical lines created by the top of the car. The cityscape seemed to be clustered like a bunch of straws, rising up from the earth and bricks, which you can see through the windows of the car.

Bindi Sheth

47yrs, Documentary and fashion Photographer “A dusty road with the fallen leaves is my way of saying that with a Mercedes-Benz you will head to greener days.” Better PhotograPhy

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Rema Chaudhary 28yrs, fashion Photographer “This is a spot I’ve always liked, and I wanted it to look like the tree was emerging from the car. The branches of the tree helped place a subtle emphasis on the lines of the car.”

Ram Morrison

39yrs, travel and Documentary Photographer “A grand-looking structure and an elegant car made the perfect companions on a dark, rainy night in the city. The splash of water was to bring out speed and motion.” Better PhotograPhy

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Harkiran Singh Bhasin

26yrs, Documentary Photographer

“Like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film, the clock tower loomed in the background as I focused on the slick car in the foreground. The rainy night completed the mise en scène of my frame!” au g u st 2 0 1 6

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Signals in the Mists On two cold, foggy autumn nights in Germany, Lucas Zimmermann found himself hard at work, transforming vacant traffic intersections into enchanting spectacles of light.

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hen I moved to Weimar in the autumn of 2013, I was welcomed by heavy fog and an unending cloud cover. The misty nights created a surreal atmosphere, which inspired me to experiment with light, and how it metamorphosed itself through the dense fogginess that enveloped the city. I initially began by photographing the headlights of my car, and later moved to shooting traffic lights, as they penetrated the haze, creating intriguing patterns.

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My Perspective I was first drawn to the movement of light, when I saw the Dutch and Flemish

My Assignment Description: Photographing the rare symmetrical shapes formed by light passing through heavy fog. Duration: I shot these photographs over the span of two days.

notes: I often had to wait between shots of the

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o n a s s i g nm e n t Creating a panoramic picture allowed me to witness the gradual colour flow from one end of the frame to the other.

Balancing the exposure time was crucial as short durations resulted in noise, and longer ones produced washed out the colours.

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paintings and the stunning use of lighting in them. Making photos in the night is a fun process, but the presence of fog, made the visual experience more enjoyable. Although the images are simple in composition, the hazy scenes give it a movielike quality.

The Process The trial and error with lights had a very strong effect on me. Although the numbing cold weather made it difficult to shoot,

the mesmerising radiance of the signals encouraged me to keep going. After testing different perspectives and setups, I decided to use long exposures as it helped me see distinctive shapes in my pictures. While making these images, I had to remember my own safety in the midst of the moving traffic. I had to be very patient, as the cars that drove towards my frame would pollute the air, preventing me from photographing the crisp lines and structures of the light. It was more like playing Russian roulette than photography. After setting up my camera by the side of the road, I would begin by taking eight second exposures, and work my way up to 30 second shots. All the while I would study the effect of different exposure times

Bathed in the eerie pools of light, these images highlight a certain atmospheric vibrancy as well as the lack of life in the scene.

Tips To Keep In Mind While Making Long Exposure Images • Keep it Steady: Vibration is not ideal for long exposure as it can cause image blur. To tackle this problem, you must invest in a good sturdy tripod and a remote shutter release or use an improvised stand. • Don’t Hesitate to Devise on Set: You can also use a flashlight to add elements of light into your frame. Using a lens hood to avoid lens flare is advisable. • Be Prepared in Advance: Weather can always be a problem when shooting long exposures outdoors. Instead of shying away from extreme weather, carry protective covers for your gear. Better PhotograPhy

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My Equipment I made these images with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EF 17–40mm f/4L USM lens. Since I shoot primarily at night, I have invested in a good tripod. I only use colour correction tools during postproduction to balance the colour temperature of the photographs.

Even though the light was green, it turned to cyan in postprocessing, which gave it a very lonely and eerie look.

The long exposure shots look like rainbow portals on the road, reminding me of Pink Floyd’s most memorable album, The Dark Side of the Moon. on the angle at which the lights would merge and melt into the distance. With every image I created, I was thrown into a world of wonder. Simple tweaks in my technique helped me make something unplanned that was strange yet beautiful. My concept seemed very simple as I began,

but with each successive shot, I was reminded of the beauty that one can find in the mundane and the overlooked. — As told to Sakshi Parikh To view more images from Lucas’s work, visit his website www.lucas-zimmermann.com

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I never want to see anything modern in a location. If I find a building to shoot in it either has to be blank, like white walls, or abandoned.

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The symmetry in my images is reflective of the architectural trends, such as Brutalism and Modernism, that were dominant during the construction of the metro system in the 60s and 70s.

Christopher Forsyth goes underground, to bring to light the architecture of metro stations around the world, in graphical detail. Better PhotograPhy

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My Assignment Description

The series explores the overlooked architecture, and design of the metro stations we use everyday.

Duration

The project began in October of 2014 and is ongoing.

Notes

I won the International Photographer of the Year award 2015, for the Montreal Metro project.

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I pay a lot of attention to the colours in every image, as I use them to add fluidity to the geometric lines and shapes.

I am drawn towards compositions with recurring shapes, as I feel like it adds complexity and layers.

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rban jungles with their jagged skylines have always fascinated me, while cameras have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. But, it was only about three years ago that I made my foray into architectural photography, clubbing the two things that I liked the most. Being a student, the metro was a place that I visited frequently, and eventually developed a great admiration for its creative use of cement structures juxtaposed with vibrant colours and lights.

So when I received a photography assignment at school, choosing the Montreal metro as my subject, came naturally to me. What began as a school assignment, the Metro project culminated into my award–winning Montreal Metro series and received widespread positive response. Thus, I decided to continue adding to the project. Having covered the Montreal network extensively, I started research on other interesting metro networks around the globe, before setting my sights on

My Equipment Earlier, I used a Canon EOS 70D with a Tokina 11–16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX wide angle lens, on a tripod. I now use a Sony Alpha a7RII camera with a Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16–35mm f/4 ZA SSM II lens, and a remote release to minimise camera movement.

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I tried to compose the image in a way that the moving conveyor belt would look like a cascading waterfall.

the European cities of Munich, Berlin, and Stockholm.

My Perspective Each station, with its unique style of architecture, has a distinct personality and my photos are a projection of how I see the imposing beauty of these stations. With their lines, shapes and patterns hidden away in plain sight, they are

On Photographing Architecture in a Graphical Style • Take Test Shots: Smartphones provide a great way of experimenting with framing, before settling for the final composition. • Sensitivity to Light: Be aware of the direction of light, as this can increase contrast, shadows, textures and reflections. • Explore your Surroundings: You never know which site or building that you perhaps see daily, may reveal a completely different side of itself.

nothing short of architectural landmarks, overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

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The Process Being a stickler for detail, I would take test shots on my smartphone to find a compelling frame, before limiting my mobility with heavy equipment. Once my composition was crisp and all the elements

aligned, I would set my exposure and patiently wait for an empty scene and a train to pass through the station, in order to capture the image. The way that the project has shaped out, it has given me the desire to explore

I would try to compose photos in my head, everytime I crossed a new station.

I want nothing to distract the viewer from the image’s profoundness and so, I spent hours editing minute details like signboards and arrows. Better PhotograPhy

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The lighting at each metro station is unique and lends to their individual atmosphere. This was what I sought to capture.

Timing was of essence, as capturing the running train on an empty platform was hard.

metro networks worldwide in the hopes of unraveling with my lens, architecture that has escaped the public eye.

— As told to Aarushi Redij To view more images from Christopher’s work, visit his website www.chrismforsyth.com

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ShowCase

Thomas Sauvin

• A native of France with a home in Beijing, Thomas is a collector and curator of negatives and photos. • One of his photobooks, Until Death Do Us Part, was originally packaged in crowdsourced cigarette boxes, contributed by Chinese citizens. 104

A Passage in Time: Remembering China Thomas Sauvin reopens a window into the history of Beijing with his collection of negatives that were once discarded and forgotten by the people of the city. In conversation with him, Aarushi Redij gets a glimpse into the memories of a culturally evolving China. Better PhotograPhy

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1000 WORDS

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Chinese women strike a pose for a beauty pageant, their outfits a melange of traditional Chinese clothing with western styling.

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hat do you feel when you look at old family photos? You shake off the dust, not just from the album, but from the thin veil that separates these memories from your conscious mind. But, if the images are of unfamiliar faces and unheard stories, what

DECEMBER 2015

could make a person interested in the ordinary world of a stranger? I was quite intrigued and perhaps even amused when I stumbled upon images of Chinese people posing with their refrigerators and televisions and a baby smoking a cigarette. My head was brimming with questions. I wondered how Better PhotograPhy


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China’s imagination was catured by the glamour and grandiose of western civilisation. Stage performaces with beautiful showgirls were often subjects of photographs.

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Beijing Silvermine, a project by Frenchman Thomas Sauvin, had become the keeper of a stunningly authentic memoir of Chinese history. The body of work, picture by picture, redefined my understanding of the people and history of China. Sauvin was a management student in Beijing, where he was introduced to photography. He spent a few years working at local photo festivals, gaining knowledge of contemporary works in the field. Soon, he was hired by the Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC) London to be their correspondent in China, for his knowledge of both modern photography and the local language. He spent many years collecting for AMC before his attention was diverted towards colloquial records and images. “Surrounded by photo material no one was interested in, it seemed like these images were ignored for their banality but perhaps, it is this very feature that caught my attention,” says Sauvin.

Positively Negative He focused his energy on unravelling the history of Beijing, where he had lived for most of his adult life. His exploration of local bazaars and encounters with antiquarians left him with a burning question. What became of these discarded and damaged images, did they survive in their original state as negatives? What Sauvin was looking for weren’t iconic photographs or even images of a major landmark in history. They were photos of everyday life shot by ordinary Chinese citizens. “These negatives spoke of the China that they as a people had lived through, during the Cultural Revolution. This was an intriguing story to an outsider like me,” says he. He set out to collect as many negatives as he could find in his hometown of Beijing, but every search yielded in one name, a person called Xiaoma. It seemed that the elusive man had been collecting

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these negatives for a long time. Fueled by curiosity, Sauvin contacted him only to realise that Xiaoma’s purpose behind purchasing the negatives was disturbingly naive‌ to extract silver nitrate from them. Aghast at the destruction, he was quick in purchasing kilos of negatives that were destined to be mined. Thus began his journey, creating the Beijing Silvermine.

Shaping the Silvermine Over the next few years, Sauvin sieved through countless abandoned negatives before handpicking the ones to be scanned. Soon, his workshop in Beijing was crowded, with box upon box of carefully selected images. But he had no clue as to what he would make of them. The huge investment of money and time was like a ticking

With cultural homogenising, people began to find ways to entertain themselves. Amusement parks, botanical gardens and foreign locations were favoured by the people.

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While sorting through the negatives, Sauvin noticed something striking. Images of a certain category and series were so similar, they seemed to be the work of a single photographer, but weren’t. It enforced the fact that some situations and places are so rigidly set in our memories, that people percieve them similarly.

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clock. He began to doubt the future of the project. Finally, after spending months going through the negatives, he struck gold amongst the silver. His mind began to recognise several recurring themes and he started putting similar pictures together. There were people posing with appliances, clichĂŠ pictures at popular destinations and Better PhotograPhy

many such exhilarating patterns. Finally, the loose ends seemed to tie themselves up. Over time, he realised the importance of his work. He was creating a stunning repository of Chinese history that was not otherwise available to an outsider. While every photograph in the collection has its individual story to tell , Sauvin chose aU g U St 2 0 1 6


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Western pop icons like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe became household names and people clicked many pictures with their posters.

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to overlook the same. “Rather than taking inspiration from one photo, I drew upon their larger cultural inferences. I hoped to tell a story that would have otherwise been lost. An all encompassing history of the Chinese people, as documented by the Chinese people,� says Sauvin. He did not want the magic of the larger story to be lost to single personal anecdotes.

Breaking Boundaries He first exhibited the project in England in 2012, and it was received with surprise and fascination. Never before had the West seen images of China which were so differing from their common, myopic perceptions. It brought to light the reality of a demographic that was much like the rest of the changing world, grappling with

With the opening of the economy, people began purchasing electronics and machines. This was a novelty to them and they documented each new gadget in photographs with members of the family.

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Pr ofi le

Sauvin stumbled upon an image of a bride lighting a cigarette for a guest, and posted it online. The response was extremely positive and so he revisited his archives to search for similiar images. What Sauvin found was so profound that he published the series as a separate photobook, Until Death Do Us Part. It brings to light this custom that was once practised at Chinese weddings.

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TIPS By SAUVIN • Curiosity of that which is unkown has led to some of the most unique photography projects, or for that matter, any significant discovery in the world. • Every endeavour made by a photographer faces roadblocks. But it is the passion with which he overcomes them, that adds character to his work. Better PhotograPhy

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the onslaught of a global, westernised culture. He then went on to exhibit the photographs in countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, but never ventured into mainland China itself, for he feared how they would perceive his exercise. Would they see it as an invasion into their private memories? But soon enough, news of it reached China. To his surprise, the people loved Beijing Silvermine. It told their story as they collectively remembered it. “They appreciated its lack of propaganda, its simplicity and endearing moments,” says Sauvin. Encouraged by the positive response, he saw it as a way for him to give

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back to the community that he had been a part of, for so long. The entire journey of creating the Silvermine, has opened up his mind to a different facet of China. It has allowed Sauvin to feel a sense of belonging, an opportunity that he feels, not many expats get. He intends to keep collecting such discarded negatives till there are none left to discover. “This project will probably bear witness to the death of analogue photography in China and will be a permanent record of it”, says Sauvin.

Chinese families with twins preferred to photograph them dressed in identical outfits. The resulting images invoked symmetry and were often quirky.

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To view more from the Beijing Silvermine, visit www.instagram.com/beijing_silvermine/

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Image courtesy: Zeitgeist Films

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Bill Cunningham shooting on the streets of New York, completely oblivious of everything else. He insisted, “I just let the streets speak to me, and for that I need to be out there. Stay on the street and let it tell you what it is.”

The Extraordinary Life of

Bill Cunningham Naman Jain delves deeper into the intensely personal life characterised by inspiring humility and singular passion, of the legendary New York based street fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham.

P Poster of Bill Cunningham New York –documentary film on Cunningham, made by Richard Press in 2010. It took eight not-so-short years of persuasion by Richard, for Bill to finally accept the proposal for it. au g u st 2 0 1 6

icture a thin man, Gandhian in his way, riding his bicycle in midtown New York. He could be spotted wearing his trademark blue French worker’s jacket, khaki pants and black sneakers, with a camera around his neck. He would photograph people’s fashionable attires on the sidewalks and avenues of the ‘Empire City’, while his own jacket was patched with duct tape. He slept on a cot, cramped into a single room filled with metal filing cabinets and boxes containing photo negatives and prints from 40 years of photographic work. He relished his breakfast, a $3 meal at a nearby deli, often the only meal of the day—his hunger

forgotten as he dexterously penned down his thoughts with a camera. An extremely elusive enigma, whose ultimate sophistication lay in sheer simplicity, Bill Cunningham, breathed his last on 25 June 2016, in Manhattan, leaving behind thousands upon thousands of images of fashion, from the social elite to the common people on the streets.

Dreams, Courage, and… New York A Harvard dropout (one of those rare instances when Cunningham could be grouped in a predefined category), he graces the same bunch as Robert Frost, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Matt Damon. Better PhotograPhy

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“His company was sought after by the world’s rich and powerful, yet he remained one of the kindest, most gentle and humble people I have ever met.” – Arthur Sulzberger Jr, Chairman and Publisher, The New York Times

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Gothic bridge in Central Park. Cunningham’s B&W images in this article are from a set of 88 silver gelatin prints called ‘Facades’. He eventually donated them to the New-York Historical Society, where they were exhibited in 2014. The photographs are more on the lines of a whimsical photo essay in which Cunningham posed models in period costumes against famous buildings within the city. au g u st 2 0 1 6

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Paris Theatre. This project was specially significant as the city was in the middle of a financial crisis in 1970s. Buildings were being torn down and people didn’t find the city beautiful. Better PhotograPhy

He moved to New York in 1948, to live with his uncle and aunt who, he said “would have done anything for me, if I would have not been so interested in working in the field of fashion”. Bill’s family always despised fashion as not being a man’s pitch. The rebel he was, on being given the ultimatum “quit

making hats or get out of my apartment”, he chose the latter. He worked in advertising shortly before being drafted in the US Army. After his term, Cunningham returned to New York and started taking assignments for the Chicago Tribune and The Daily News. au g u st 2 0 1 6


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“If you were Around the same time began his tryst with of trends and modes in in the way documentation New York City. “The best fashion show is of someone on the streets”, he would say. Bill became he wanted to a regular contributor to The New York Times photograph, he in the late 1970s, where he continued would climb over working for nearly 40 years. His regular spreads, On the Street, and later, Evening Hours, you to get it. acquired immense popularity very quickly, He was like a war and then enormous acclaim. photographer that way, except Inspiring Quirks or Strange Qualities? Cunningham’s quiet modesty, friendly that what he was humour and infectious zeal endeared photographing him to everyone who met him. Despite his were clothes.” easygoing nature, he remained unshakeable –Kim Hastreiter, in his principles and beliefs, that both set him apart, and set him free. Well-known Editor, Paper for not cashing his assignment cheques Magazine from the Details magazine, he also declined repeated efforts by the editors of The Times, for over two decades, to get him to take a staff position. He would say, “If you don’t au g u st 2 0 1 6

take the money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid. Money is the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom, that’s the most expensive!” At the galas in the city which he attended to photograph, he would gently but resolutely wave off offers to partake in the food. Or even a glass of water. “It’s about keeping a distance from what you’re doing, so you can be more objective. Of what? Well, I don’t know. But it works for me.” Although, when asked in an interview why he did that, his wit made a cut, retorting “Oh, I’m not into food. I dine with my eyes on the street.” With an unerring eye for forthcoming trends, Bill was extremely open-minded yet opinionated while shooting. Whether it was a bicycle messenger, a woman breaking the glass ceiling on Wall Street, a man waiting at a signal, or personalities gracing the ramps at the New York Fashion Week, his attention could well and only be allured by clothes. “The cut, the new cut, the lines, the colour,

Editta Sherman on the Train to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Sherman is surrounded almost anachronistically with modern-graffiti in comparison to her turn-of-the-century attire neatly tucked in one side of the frame. Her gaze is curious– where does she look? To the future or the past?

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“To see a Bill Cunningham spread was to see all of New York. People who spent fortunes on fashion and people who just had a strut and know how to put an outfit together out of what they had and what they found.” –Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times

Club 21. With a sense of the candid alongside poised, Bill’s photography often impressed upon some narrative, detail or conceptual feature that he wanted to bring out.

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that’s everything; not the celebrity, not the spectacle”, he would say. Once captivated, he would scuttle, dash or gait, whatever it took to get the picture at just the right angle. Harold Koda, the former curator in-charge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute noted, “Everyone knew to leave him alone when he saw a sneaker he liked or a dress that caught his eye.” Bill’s passion to document the way people dress inspired from the understanding that fashion was a part of everyday streets.

He brought forth this perspective with as much ease and expertise, as the inclusion of fascinating details and intricacies. He especially admired the eccentrics... people who had a personal style. “Bill photographed me before anyone knew who I was. At 94, I’ve become a cover girl and he was very largely responsible for my ultimate success”, commented Iris Apfel, a Palm Beach socialite. After Cunningham took pictures of her, she became the subject of Albert Maysles’ last documentary film. au g u st 2 0 1 6


great Generalmasters Motors Building. At fashion shows, while other photographers would hunt for celebrity and glamour shots, Cunningham felt otherwise—“Looking at all these collections, I look for what I think a woman could wear, would wear and whether it would fit a human body other than a model. If not, I have no interest in that.”

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(Top row) St. Paul’s Chapel and Churchyard (left); Grand Central Terminal (right). Better PhotograPhy

Obscure by Choice, Celebrity Otherwise In a world that constantly thrives to connive at singularity, there’s sheer brilliance to be discovered in simplicity.

Cunningham never really cared for recognitions or honours. He would rather spend the time shooting. Yet, his work exuded such excellent narratives, it was

(Bottom row) Bowery Savings Bank (left); Federal Hall (right). au g u st 2 0 1 6


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“I realised that photography wasn’t merely the act of selection but is equally an act of rejection, deciding what you will and will not allow in.” —Art Kane

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“It’s not work, it’s pleasure. That’s why I feel so guilty. Everybody else does work. I have too much fun.” –Bill Cunningham

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impossible for the world of fashion to ignore. Cunningham consciously made a decision to fall out of line and live the ordinary, extraordinarily. A choice he made to believe in his concept of life. One which was exclusively his own to deem. “I just try to play a straight game, and in New York, it’s almost impossible, but I try”, he used to say. He was the people’s favourite—a blessing, even magic for those who connected with him, no matter for how short a while. His love and generosity left an indelible impression on people’s lives. A very enthusiastic personality by his inherent nature, Bill would immerse in his moments of deep thought at times, reflecting, reminiscing perhaps, and basking in his

precious insight. While receiving the Legion of Honour in 2008, awarded by the French Government, he pointed out, “In today’s world, I still think this holds true— He who seeks beauty, will find it.” In 2009, his love for the streets saw him being designated as a ‘living landmark’ by the New York Landmark Conservancy. Those observant eyes and curious mind indeed changed the way the world looked at fashion, and in turn, themselves. His perspective on fashion, as being an indispensible reality of life, made home the idea of street fashion photography as cultural anthropology. As Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, had famously said, “We all get dressed for Bill.”

Guggenheim Museum. Cunningham’s idea of fashion was based on the very natural facet of it. “Why does the world perceive fashion as frivolity that should be done away with in the face of social upheaval. The point is that fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you could do away with it.”

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A selection of some of the best images from the Indian mainstream media

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Fariha Farooqui, DNA

In a Timely Fashion Models wait to audition for the Lakme Fashion Week at a Mumbai hotel. The composition conveys the magnitude of the selection process that they go through. The window in the backdrop looms over the seemingly tiny group of girls.

End to a Kaali-Peeli Era Mumbai’s iconic Premiere Padmini cabs face near extinction, as the state law prohibits the use of vehicles older than 20 years, as taxis. The light entering the frame from holes in the roof and the backdrop of scrapped vehicles are a poignant reminder of the plight of Mumbai’s beloved cabs. Salman Ansari, DNA Better PhotograPhy

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The Sky is the Limit Members of the Ultimate Striderz club indulge in the extreme sport of powerbocking. The contrast of the symmetric bodies against the background of open skies is striking. It captures and translates the adrenaline rush of being propelled high off the ground, on stilts.

Hemant Padalkar, DNA

Mealtime During Ramzan A group of Muslims gather at a shop near Jama Masjid, Mumbai to break their fast together. The walls of machine parts create a frame within the frame and the men seated in straight lines complement the shapes and lines created by the image’s other elements.

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Fariha Farooqui,

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YourPictures

This month, we challenged our readers to explore the concept of the ‘Double Exposure’. Here is a look at the best photographs that we received.

Winner

The Prize: Grand Prize Winner: The winning image gets published in this months issue along with other honourable mentions.

To see all the nominees’ images for this contest, visit www.betterphotography.in

Swinging by Ganga Vinay Pal, Allahabad “The infrastructure of the Ganga Yamuna bridge in my city always reminds me of a huge playground swing. I wanted to bring this out by merging the image of a boy swinging and the one of the bridge.”

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Mild Serenity tirthankar gupta, Kolkata

Honourable Mention

Camera: Canon EOS 1200D Lens: Canon EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5-5.6 Aperture: f/8, f/5.6 Shutterspeed: 1/80sec, 1/200sec ISO: 100

“I like this picture because my subject’s calm expression and the foliage merged together evoke a sense of tranquility. For the portrait, I slightly overexposed the background in order highlight the features of my subject.” Camera: Canon EOS 750D Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Aperture: f/2.8, f/8 Shutterspeed: 1/160sec, 1/100sec

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Honourable Mention

Life in a Metro Arkamitra Lahiri, Kolkata “This image is my take on people living and surviving in a busy city. I used photo editing software to merge the portrait with the cityscape. With urban infrastructure and development at its peak, the natural enviroment is slowly shrinking.”

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Camera: Nikon D3100 Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18–105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Aperture: f/4.5, f/4.2 Shutterspeed: 1/200sec, 1/400sec ISO: 400

Rush Hour soham Roy, Kolkata “While riding from the airport, I noticed the glow from the street lamps casting a warn shade on my fellow riders. I used the multiple exposure feature in my camera to make this image. By including the rain drops on the windowpane, I tried to add a cinematic feel to this photograph.”

Honourable Mention Au g u st 2 0 1 6

Camera: Nikon D7000 Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18–105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Aperture: f/3.5 Shutterspeed: 1/60sec ISO: 1600 Better PhotograPhy


YO u R P I C t u R E s

e in the Participat Contest on res Your Pictugraphy.in/contests to betterpho a chance to be in nd to w agazine a m e h t in featured xciting prizes! win e

Honourable Mention

Yearning for Self Ruslan Isinev, Moscow “This image depicts a person’s longing for freedom. Created with in camera multiple exposure feature, the placement and the emotion of this image depict my subject’s frame of mind. Her thoughtful expression can be taken as her quest for independence and happiness.” Camera: Nikon D700 Lens: Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G Aperture: f/2.5 Shutterspeed: 1/4000sec ISO: 200

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A Nap of Solace surendra gautam, satna “While making this photograph, I purposely positioned the image of the woman sleeping over the picture of her mother. Both the exposures were made in camera. My intention was to capture the essence of motherhood and the comfort it brings to people’s lives irrespective of their age.” Camera: Canon EOS 70D Lens: Tamron SP f/2.8 Di II VC Aperture: f/4.5 Shutterspeed: 1/50sec ISO: 500

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Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention

A World Within Ashray goyal, Agra “This image is my interpretation of an artist’s mind in which he has created world of his own. The cloudy sky, high tide and the birds flying, are metaphors for a creative mind flooded by thoughts, which is something that I usually experience as an artist.”

Cure for Life saprativ Mondal, Kolkata “As a doctor, I am constantly surrounded by patients who are on are fighting the battle between life and death. As a part of the nursing staff, we play a pivotal role in this battle. This photograph is a tribute to the hands of the doctors, paramedics and nurses who defy sleep, hunger, pleasure and rest and fight for life against death.” Camera: Nokia Lumia 1020 App: I used Splitpic to make this image and used Snapseed for post production

Camera: Canon EOS 550D Lens: Canon EF-S 18–55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS Aperture: f/22, f/5, f/22 Shutterspeed: 1/200sec, 1/4000sec, 1/60sec ISO: 100

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Photograph by: Felice Beato Image Source: Getty Open Content Program Written by: Aarushi Redij

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Chronicling the Indian Mutiny

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ioneer war photographer Felice Beato, spent five decades traversing through East Asia photographing landmark events like the Crimean War (1855-56) and the Second Opium War (1860). He also documented the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny (1858-59), where under the guidance of the military forces, he visited the different sites of the war, namely, New Delhi, Cawnpore (Kanpur) and Lucknow. Of these places, his photograph of the slaughter of 2000 rebels at the Secundrabagh palace courtyard is amongst the earliest images depicting corpses on a battleground. The dismembered skeletal remains in the foreground is said to belong to the rebel sepoys, who retaliated against the rumoured greasing of rifle cartridges with pig and cow fat, as it went against the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Muslim soldiers. However, historians believe that Beato rearranged the bones for dramatic effect, and to also bring out the magnitude of the war. Later, he went on to extensively photograph the northern parts of the country—Agra, Benaras (Varanasi) and Amritsar, where he focused on the city’s architectural features. au g u st 2 0 1 6

Better photography august 2016  
Better photography august 2016  
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