Thursday, April 16, 2015

Right Photographer for Special Occasion

This is post is the second and concluding part of the series" Finding the Right Photographer"
 

There was a time when photography was very special and an artist drawn portrait was more affordable. I was reading one day about a trying photographer taking speculative photographs of people in the late nineteenth century in the book “Three men in a boat” by Jerome K Jerome. The photographer was standing by the riverside and took a photograph of the passing boat commuters with the intention to sell them later to those who could afford to buy them. But that was another time when wealthy owned and roared their personal boats and motorcars were futuristic dream.
But today everyone takes photographs and probably their claim to photographer is as strong as our claim to be writers. How to select the photographers for our special occasions? What makes a good photographer? How many of these traits do they possess?
Passion & Obsession for perfection
The single most important criteria is that the photographer should be passionate about his work and be obsessed with getting each shot as a perfect one.
At one of the ATP tournaments and I was observing the activities of the photographers and the video-graphers. They were seated in the most prime position of the stadium and it was a tough contest going on. They were glued to their cameras alibi those giant ones but focusing only to one side of the court. The irony is that one has to love tennis to be able to stay focused and for anyone who loves this game it’s a pity not to be allowed to watch it. But it’s their passion for photography (and job off course) that reigns supreme!
 Story Teller
A picture is worth a thousand words. Story telling is at the heart of a good photographer and each of the pictures should be part of the story. He should be a natural story teller.
Patience
He should be patient with his clients and hid photography. He should have the patience to wait for the perfect shot. 
Pleasing personality
A good photograph is only possible when the subject is comfortable and relaxed. His persona should be able to generate confidence in the subject and keep them relaxed, comfortable and natural.
Technicalities
He should have a sense of wonder and imagination to bring freshness to his work. Another important aspect is to have the ability to use software to correct and touch up images. Post production is as important as taking the picture itself.
Style
Preferably he should have a signature style of his own and even if he is not a master he should thrive to be one.

But how does one finds out what inherent characteristics a photographer possess. This is the most difficult part for any contract. The easiest way is to approach through reference from a friend or an acquaintance based on their personal good experience.
Alternatively one has to test his professionalism and passion by “trial & error” method. But adequate precaution should be taken as not to leave too much to chance as some event happens once in the entire lifetime.
As a starting point once should visit his studio and take an interview.
Review his earlier works to judge if some of the listed qualities are visible in his works.
Find out how many shots he is going to take and at what theme and positions. This is to find out how thorough he is with this task.
Know if he is going to print those and also what will happen to the soft file and the copyright.

Request for a detailed quotation but note that neither a low price signify the photographer is not creative nor does high price guarantees an ACE photographer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Finding the Right Photographer - Part 1



During the early days of the 21st century, I completed construction of a country headquarters for a major multinational bank. We wanted some photographs taken of the competed works once we handed over the project for our reference. I informed the person in command that my colleague, who is also a photographer, will come down and take some pictures. While giving consent he commented, “Anyone holding a digital camera considers him to be a photographer these days”. That was partially was true as not everyone had access to a “digicam” as it was known then and the prized possession came with the privilege of being considered to be a photographer.
This was then and today almost everyone has got a smart phone and is a photographer. Anywhere we go, we see people taking each other’s pictures, or selfies or things of interest around them. While this has given a whole new dimension to the definition of “citizen journalism”, the doubt remains if it has done a great deal of good to the profession of photography. The question revolves around the thought, how smart are the photographers with the smart phones.
Would you trust one of them with the responsibility for serious photography of once in a life time event or those which are close to our heart? It could be a graduation ceremony, a wedding, final sports event you are participating and most importantly to capture some memories of child’s early days. This is based on the premises that art and photography is a big deal for us and we want our pictures to be perfectly framed with the right amount of color, brightness and exposure. And we love to browse pictures when we are sentimental and also love to flaunt a few gorgeous moments aptly framed on the living room wall.
It is therefore important to select a photographer with care, and we can only do that if we set our criteria correctly. After going through the list it might appear that it’s quite difficult to find a good photographer and guess what?  – It is. Or else, all of us with a mobile phone would have been ace photographers.

 To be continued …

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Inquisitive



Yesterday I was at the supermarket doing my groceries, which was the usual weekly ration of fruits, vegetables, milk, and fish stuff. As I was pushing the cart along, I could see others glancing at my catch. Some of them were a bit shy and looked from the corner of their eyes while others were more straightforward with their act. They must have been quite surprised as my trolley was not even full, leave alone the overloaded ones that one usually witnesses in this part of the world. Those carts would remind you of the fully loaded Lorries in roads of our subcontinent.
I wondered if there was anything wrong in this behaviour. Is this comparable to a peeping Tom for example or can it be considered to be an infringement of my privacy? The answer probably is negative though may not be seen as good etiquette. It's not that I am a saint in this regards or my eyeballs are fully under my command in similar situations. They involuntarily move towards other’s trolleys and return with information that I can easily do without.
Does anyone know for sure why we do what we do and whether it is some type of compulsive disorder? Alternatively it could be simply being inquisitive and having that uncontrollable urge to glance over the shoulder to see what the diners sitting at the next table have ordered while in a restaurant
 Maybe I scan the cart’s contents to have a quick check if I have missed out on any cool deal but try and avoid direct gaze of their soon to be owners. My guilty conscious argues that this stuff still belong to the store considering that those were not paid for yet.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Miracle



I was reading an odd article on a lazy afternoon when I came across the word “Miracle”. Sometimes we come across some stories that appears to be so real and at times we are confronted with incidents those are difficult to distinguish from fictions. 
I was taken to a journey down the memory lane to more than 20 years to the early nineteen nineties and I had just lost our father and I had left my job in Delhi and temporarily moved back to our home town. I used to spend my evenings hanging out with few of my classmates who were fresh out of medical colleges and doing their intern-ships at the government hospitals and also working part time in some private clinics.

One particular night we were standing at a street corner with the doctors after their duty at the clinic was over. We were having some silly men talks over cups of tea and cigarettes. We noticed a three wheeler auto rickshaw rushed past us and the desperation of the driver appeared to be transporting a patient to the main government hospital nearby. It was quite common to turn three wheelers into ambulances in many small cities across India and it became obvious that there was a patient in the back seat. One of the friends got up and said that “let me pass by the emergency and check what was wrong with this patient”. He bid us bye and jumped into a waiting bus saying “I was to go to the hospital and meet a friend anyway.”
When he reached the emergency, he found that a man lying on the observation bed neither breathing nor having a pulse, we learnt later. He was presumed to be dead and the doctors there were waiting for another half an hour to confirm his death and issue the necessary documentation. Unfortunately, the hospitals in smaller Indian towns then and even today are not equipped with the equipments and gadgets that we are so used to see discovery channel and the likes or the Hollywood movies.
He said “let me try to pump up the heart manually” and climbed up on the dead man’s chest to press the chest with both palms. A trait he learnt in the college days not long ago. After a while heart responded and the man started to breathe again.
This was snatching life from the claws of death or was it a miracle? Every time I remember this incident, I wish it happened with my father.........