I love photography and capture anything that makes sense to me. I do not classify or attach myself with a particular genre because for me it does not exist or perhaps I have not realized it yet. Well, what do I look for in a photograph? What do I actually want to capture and for whom am I going to do it?

To be Honest with Photography by Sudarshan Mondal

These are the fundamental questions come to every photographers mind once they are satisfied with the queries and eagerness of all technicalities involved with photography – shutter speed, aperture etc. That is the transformation process and it’s bound to come for self-learned photographer’s mind as there is no syllabus exists and currently I am going through similar kind of transformation. Now, I have my own taste and definition that I always look in a photograph. When I see those qualities in a photograph, it satisfy me and I feel good about the photographer and make some sort of connection with the photographer and when I do not see anything in a photograph I care about, I feel disappointed for not seeing a good picture. Okay, that’s pretty clear and straightforward up to this point, what’s next.

What are those things and qualities I look for and hunt as a photographer? Here are the core values and all I started caring about in a photograph recently. I believe photography is kind of personal extension after certain time and a series of photographs as a whole talk about the person – the photographer’s characteristics, taste, and intelligence level. In a good photograph what I see – it is always more than what is confined within the frame, it goes beyond and it has some sort of capability to evoke human emotion in a tricky way. Photographers leave some clue knowingly or unknowingly (as they practice a lot – they might improvise it instantly without recognizing it) in a photograph to connect with something else those are already known or hint to think about something else which is sensual, touchy and play a role in life. Yes, I am talking about the transcend quality of the image which lead it to a surrealistic level. This is core part of any art (or some kind of art at least, I believe) and it has to be in a good photograph if that qualify as an art.

Now, photography in a real sense that is happening around us is something that we all are very used to and it is very difficult to see it in a different perspective. Here the job of a photographer is to find a particular scene or combination of objects, its arrangement and the aesthetic decision in such ways that make sense and can be regarded as valuable art. What does make sense? Does it going to make sense to everyone? Probably not. Everyone cannot be pleased at a time – that never happens. By these I mean here, in a photograph there has to be something you can connect or relate with or interpret in a different meaningful way – not necessarily directly related with the subject – it can go far beyond what you see in the photograph, inspire you to think differently, lead to a concept or a focused idea – if not possible by a single image, then with series of images. That means a good photograph is not only a photographer’s job – it is to some extend viewer’s responsibility to get what it might mean – of course it should have provocation and a subtle hint has to be there which can help to connect.

Explicit elaboration of connecting material within the frame might not be a good taste for a photographer, some actually don’t do that and it is not their style. For example, a smiling face of a beautiful girl with some floral ambience does not much leave much to connect – it is very obvious to guess the mood – and we quickly relate with something like romantic and now juxtaposition of other things start play the factor. Here the point is it diverts mind easily to a definite direction and do not leave much space for interpretation and thus imagination.

So, I like to say here that a photograph even though it is combination of well-known objects – it has to be a piece of abstract – it’s a photographer’s job to let viewers interpret the scene in a different way. Now the complexity begins and it is the deciding factor how close you are to create a valuable piece of art with everyday insignificant objects, with people on the street or with a natural scene – not necessarily a landmark location. Real intelligence, depth of life, sensuality, lots of practice to see and realize, human experience, artistic ability and a real master’s guidance if you are lucky enough – all play together to make a photograph – such a photograph is the one I care about and treasure in my mind.

Now, individual photographs give a feeling or connection to start with in some cases. People say it as story telling because it is easy to explain and give a nice justification what it is all about and keep involve with the subject as much as possible. It stays within the frame (read it as subject) and not let go beyond – far beyond. I have no objection with that. Photojournalism is that kind of art – it tells the exact story what is in there in a smart way and it is all about the subject and if there is something extra that is a bonus. Okay, that’s fine. But here I am not talking about photojournalism – rather photography with no photojournalistic attitude – photography as an art form. Here subject is just a tool of an expressive mind to use and give a surrealistic sense and unknown unidentified reaction that will kick off easily in a sensible mind and stay there for a while or forever. That’s a power of true photograph. In fact, it is true for any kind art form, isn’t it?

I am really after to make such a great photograph – I am just preparing myself to get there. It’s a realization and a complete satisfaction that this is what I want – this is the way it has to be. To get a pure abstract that has a meaning to me is the one I am thrilling that I can make someday. It is far now, but with time and persistent work, I think it is possible. In art making process when we believe we are totally in, it’s all the frustration or pleasure whatever you say. It definitely involves very high chance of failure when you are experimenting with something which is new in kind and abstract in form, playing with a new idea that about to establish – not yet quite there. I cherish when I see that kind of photograph someone making or after with serious dedication, I feel I am not alone in this.

Questions that often come to my mind, is this kind of work possible in street or any particular genre of photography? Yes, I think it is possible any genre and only depends how smart the photographer is in his craft.

I would like to clarify here that I am not a great photographer – not even close by any means, I am a self-learner and this is my realization about photography as art form at this point of time while writing this little blog of mine (date: 28th August 2014) and I am going through a transformation phase and I might end up with a different interpretation about photography in next 2 years – who knows. But for now, my goal is to capture something that make sense and reach to viewers more than what is in there. Hope, I make my points clear.

Thanks for reading and bearing with me. If you think it make sense to you, write me or leave a comment here or if you think this is absolutely nonsense, please let me know your thought. I would love to know your opinion on this. Thank you.

About Sudarshan Mondal

Sudarshan Mondal, an artist by heart, a photographer specialty in people and travel genre, captures the essence of human joy, struggle, and stories of human experience and he loves to travel remote villages, cities and natural scenic locations whenever time (and money) permits.

To be Honest with Photography by Sudarshan Mondal

He was born and raised in a remote rural village of West Bengal, India and graduated in Electrical Engineering from a reputed college in India, and now work in a multinational IT service organization and currently based in USA for job. He started shooting with a non-SLR digital camera in 2006, and eventually it had turned into a passion in early 2010, as essential as air and water and since then his journey begins. His aim is to delineate visual language with light, color (or no color), forms, shapes, and interactions of these attribute which can touch hearts, nourish minds, and embrace souls. So the endless journey continues forever…

You can find Sudarshan Mondal on the web:

All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Sudarshan Mondal. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.