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Photography is a highly specialized skill with all its requirements of myriad nuances, light details, shutter speed, exposure etc.; and yet it is for everyone.  With the advent of the mobile phones and their cameras, interest in photography has changed by leaps and bounds.  To give us a glimpse of the world of shutterbugs, the Saturday Club hosted “Capture”, a talk about what photography involves and how it evolves.

Hosted by a wild life photography enthusiast himself, Anup Kanoria got an eclectic mix of panellist photographers to talk about their journey and what photography means to them.  Between Pranab Basu, Rajen Sood, Prashant Arora and Sabyasachi Chakraborty, they covered portrait photography, nature and wildlife photography, candid photography and stage photography.

Prashant Arora has his name, both in the Limca Book of World Records, as well as the Guiness Book of World records, having over 3,000 portraits of famous personalities, along with their autographs.  He shared with us that in the first 10 years he had only 100 “photographs with autographs”, but within the next ten years he had over 1000 added to his collection.  All panelists spoke about the importance of having the right approach; about not being intrusive; about respecting the space of the subject; about waiting ... waiting for the right moment; the right time.  Even animals let you photograph them if you let them be and respect them and their habitat.

Famous Tollywood actor, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, is a wildlife and nature photography enthusiast and insists he is not a photographer, but a tourist with a camera!  However, he carries his camera around even on his shoots and is passionate about saving wildlife and its habitat.  He also had a short film to share with the audience about the variety of flora and fauna and expressed repeatedly that humans are the polluters.  Their going will not be a loss to the planet, but nature and wildlife destruction will be devastating.  They must be preserved.

Rajen Sood went down memory lane remembering his first Agfa Click III camera which he started using in the early 1960s.  He shared a wide variety of his photographs from his travels and he firmly believes there is no place like Bengal for candid photography.  He personally feels the Victoria Memorial offers better pictures than even the Taj Mahal.  One of my favorites from his collection was of a small statue of Ganpati  a couple of days after “bhasaan”, still stuck in the mud on the banks of the river Hoogly.  It was a poignantly captured moment, because moments later, a wave came and changed the image completely, he said.

A well reputed and highly respected photographer, Pranab Basu, shared some of the most spectacular images from stage photography I have ever seen.  From catching a performer at the height of his leap in mid-air, to the swirl of a dancer’s outfit at its maximum, to the fleeting expression of an actor, each was brilliantly executed.  The skill of the photographer was obvious and he explained that it is important to study the subject carefully first, know their movements, anticipate them, and click at just the right moment.  Most importantly, he does not use his flash and prefers sober lighting for his photographs.

Being a photographer requires immense passion and love for the hobby, the right approach with a foundation of respect and humility, tremendous patience and calm.  From a 100 pictures taken, perhaps only 2 may be worth keeping, so one should not expect every picture to be perfect.  Also, it is not necessary that every picture should relate to everyone in the same way; and that is okay.  Lighting plays an important role in getting good photographs.  Photographs taken in the early morning or at sundown offer some of the best pictures.  For budding enthusiasts, all the panelists suggested they join a group of photo enthusiasts where one could share pictures and learn from each other ‘coz  sharing is the best learning, so pick up your cameras, even if it is your mobile, and start click! Click!