Udai Singh from India loves to shoot streets with ironies, paradoxes, humor, and beauty of human lives. He always keen to observe interesting things in the streets during his college days.
In his words “To make an ordinary scene into an extraordinary one is the real test of a street photographer. It’s not easy, even for the masters, to have a great shot every day. To follow the trend is easy, to create is not. To be original in one’s work one must be original as a person also. To excel oneself always is a big headache and one must have the reflex and instinct and anticipation to catch those rare magical moments. It’s easy to shoot in a predetermined light and place but to compose on the fly in the single attempt is not. Street photography is deceptively simple and so malleable.”
Thanks, Udai for accepting for our invite. Please read on…
How did you develop the interest in street photography?
In fact, I would often observe interesting scenes during my graduation and I wish I had a camera and later when I had it and shot scenes, I found that my taste is called street photography. I would see works of AFP and Reuters photographers in the newspaper and magazines and I would often think- Oh! It’s all about the way you see things and elements in a scene and I can also make such images easily and may be better. I used to collect these images’ cuttings and still have it, some of them framed and hanged on the walls of my home. I studied photography and other forms of art too, although informally, almost twenty years or so before buying my first camera, Nikon F 80.
What kind of human activities and street elements do you like shooting most?
I love to shoot ironies, paradoxes, wit and humor, and beauty of human lives. Still, I want to explore, experiment and go further in this challenging genre.
According to you what is so complex in street genre?
To make an ordinary scene into an extraordinary one is the real test of a street photographer. It’s not easy, even for the masters, to have a great shot every day. To follow the trend is easy, to create is not. To be original in one’s work one must be original as a person also. To excel oneself always is a big headache and one must have the reflex and instinct and anticipation to catch those rare magical moments. It’s easy to shoot in a predetermined light and place but to compose on the fly in the single attempt is not. Street photography is deceptively simple and so malleable.
Your idea between classic and contemporary street photography?
One can never express what one has never felt. The classical was well thought story-woven scenes. Nowadays weirdness is often confused with creativity. How many images are there you can’t forget after five years from now on! An image must have soul and life of it’sown but there is too much repetition, I mean too much noise but less music.
According to Udai, what makes a good picture?
It stirs even your unconscious and one can never forget it; its story with composition, not composition with a story; there is much more to it than just light and composition; it’s like music or poetry. Photography, particularly street photography, is still in its adolescence since it is quite new compared to other forms of art. There is art in HEART; the Heart ends in art! In the end, it’s nothing but one’s own autobiography. But to express one’s own thoughts and feelings through photography is a lot tougher compared to poetry, music or painting due to the limitations of the medium.
How will you describe the Street Photography in India? What direction do you think street photography will go in the future?
Some are hijacking it, some are watering it, a few are setting a new benchmark and giving their blood and love to it; some are under-rated, some are over-rated. The photos are often joke and entertainment like item songs of Hindi films and are not going to last the test of time; photographers are shamelessly copying the same visual tricks and juxtapositions to death; but there are a few quality photographers who raise the bar and, I am sure, they will make it reach its youth and prime. It’s constantly evolving. There will always be a few brave ones who will shoot for their own taste, not for the viewers. Original and unique work requires new aesthetics and taste for both- appreciation and critique. Infinite possibilities are waiting to be explored.
Your favorite photographers?
I remember when in the early 90s I first read HCB’s coinage ‘The Decisive Moment’ and instantly got it and still learning from it. I love the works of HCB, Elliott Erwitt, Josef Koudelka, Raghu Rai and Steve McCurry and in contemporary street photography Siegfried Hansen, TavepongPratoomwong and SwapnilJedhe to name a few.
Your favorite photography quote?
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”- Ansel Adams
Sorrows of my life, I mean my wife!
What’s your personal motto?
One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil.
Who is your real life heroes?
Apart from photography tell me about your hobbies and interests?
I am a formidable badminton and chess player; I love classical music, poetry, psychology, philosophy, and literature.
Any final thoughts and words of advice for your fans and our readers?
Never follow the trend, be a trend-setter. One must be quiet to listen to one’s Self! If you truly love something it will reveal itself to you, be it photography, life, woman, nature, god or art. A profession can never ever match the love and passion; the class and quality of both are conspicuous. Never be satisfied with stories of others; unfold your own myth. There are some photographers who are teaching SP like a prostitute teaching morality; the only difference is that a prostitute is true to her profession. Beware of them! Trust your own unique path! Don’t hold the camera while on walk let it be vice versa!
You can find Udai Singh on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Udai Singh. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.