The Nuances of Portrait Photography

THE NUANCES OF PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

Portrait photography also known as portraiture is capturing a person or a group of people with the help of photography where the emphasis is on the expression present on the faces. Thus, since the entire focus is on the face, the subject is often seen to be directly looking at the camera. The aim is to portray likeness, personality and also the mood of the subject. Also, another interesting fact about portrait photography is that here the subjects are often non-professional models. This particular form of photography began since the invention of the camera and its popularization in the 19th century. It is also known as the oldest type of photography.

The Early Beginnings of Portrait Photography

In early times, people often resorted to portrait painting which has been used by distinguished figures and eminent personalities before camera became popular. However, when photography as art had become popular people also find out that portrait photography was much cheaper and more easily accessible than portrait painting. With this realization and with the advent of the commercially successful cheap photographic process ‘daguerreotype’, portraiture gained prominence. With time as more photographic techniques developed, photographer ventured out of the known and tested their talents outside studio in battlefields, across oceans and in remote places. The most prominent of the portraits are William Shew’s ‘Daguerreotype Saloon’, Roger Fenton’s ‘Photographic Van’ and Mathew Brad’s What-is-it? Set the milestones in this field.

The nuances of Portraiture

Portrait photography has many branches. A portrait becomes popular or draws attention only when it tries to convey something powerful, better than what words can say. Thus, to get the desired effects in a particular photo a photographer can change the light sources, background, the focal length of the lenses and the shutter etc.

To begin with portrait photography can be classified into two main sections.

Based on Shots

The first is the ‘Facial Shot or Close-ups’. This type of photography style is applied when you wish to take a shot of children or a baby, or one particular person. Here, the expressions of the face are taken into account along with the angle of the heads and position of hands. The combination of shadows and lights come into play here to highlight varied expressions. The second comes the ‘Upper Body Shots’. In this type the torso of the subject is taken into consideration apart from the head. In these photos the photographer can experiment and create a story. The subject need not look directly at the camera.

Based on Approaches

Apart from the above there are four varied approaches taken to portraiture and the reasons for which can also vary. It may be artistic, technical or cultural. They are-

The Constructionist approach is when the photographer while clicking a portrait builds an idea around the subject. It could be a happy couple, a romantic gesture or a trustworthy executive.  This approach is mostly used in social photography. Its usage is also found in advertising and marketing when an idea has to be communicated. Environmental approach is that in which the subjects are found to be in their usual environments like work, home, school or playgrounds. The environment provides us information on the person being photographed. It tells us about their likings, class, work etc. These portraits carry a lot of social and historical significance as sources of information. Candid is another approach to portraits where people are photographed without them knowing about it and thus these photos tend to project the natural, spontaneous and impromptu moment which every photographer loves to capture. While this technique is often criticized, this style has given the world some excellent, important images of people in various situations over the ages. The last of all is the Creative approach, where digital manipulation comes into play. Thus, the resultant picture is a wonderful product with the flaws removed to near perfection.

The other variations one can bring about to portraiture are by making changes to the poses, proper positioning of your subjects, or photographing from different angles. Also, you can experiment with the various photo settings, light, exposure, white balance and focusing to capture the best shot. So, if you are a novice or a professional when you set out for portrait photography keep the above details in mind as they are essential to making your photos eye-catching and appealing!

 

 

Discrimination of Girl Child in India: A Stark Reality

Gender discrimination has been a predominant picture in the history ofIndia’s social development. Women and young girls have been subjected to various forms of abuses throughout the ages. In India, violence against young girls, female foeticide, pre-natal gender detection are common cases that have increased in the past decades and still continues to grow. Although the constitution ofIndiahas granted women equal rights still gender disparity prevails. Our age old social structure that has given emphasis to patriarchy has proved to be a big nemesis for the female children inIndia. Men, and boys have always been given the preference in every aspect right from the Vedic ages and that has instilled a feeling in people that girl child can never bring good fortune to a family. Thus, not surprisingly th girl child is always discriminated.

Some Facts To Note

Crimes against young female children inIndiahave been seen to have developed in various gruesome forms. Official reports suggest that there has been a huge increase in the incidences of crime against young females inIndia.

The Census 2011 shows that there has been a considerable decline in the female population inIndiaunder the age of seven. Social activists claim that 8 million female fetuses have been aborted in the past decades which portray a very grim picture as to where the human race is heading to. There has been a huge decline in the sex ratio according to the 2011 Census which reports that there exist 914 females against 1000 males.India’s strong preference for a male child has been reflected in the 2009 Census survey that shows infant mortality figures for males and females are 61 and 65 respectively out of 1000 live births. Also, education is not widely prevalent among Indian girls. They are neglected and left ignorant locked in by the dark walls of traditions. It has been seen that the literacy rates of females stands at 65.46% in comparison to 82.14% for males.

The Social Mindset Needs to Change

The mindset of the people is another big factor that plays in here. Many are of the opinion that an educational investment on a girl child will be a waste of resources as they will eventually get married off so there would not be any direct benefit to them from education. This brings us to the incidences of child marriage which are still in vogue in remote villages. According to UNICEF’s reports of the year 2009 47 & of the females aged 20-24 were married off before the legal age of 18.

A large percent of young girls inIndiawork as child laborers but their work is never recognized and they are underpaid. Also, they are often subjected physical and verbal abuse by their employers. Such cases go unreported with the law and the so called accused roam free inIndiafearlessly. Cases of female infanticides are a reason behindIndia’s huge masculine sex ratio. The usages of medical tests to detect female fetuses have turned to be nightmarish as several female children were aborted and didn’t get to see the daylight. Also, there have been many cases of trafficking of young girls. These girls are either forced into prostitution, domestic violence or child labor. Since girl children are always neglected, very little attention is paid to their health and nutrition. Thus, many suffer from diseases and malnutrition. According to the UNDP development report 88% of the pregnant women were found to be suffering from anaemia.

…And Finally

 

The above scenario presents a very sorry picture regarding the future of the females inIndia. Though several rights have been established and are being implemented, our country still has to go a long way in finally recognizing the relevance of girls in this age.  The social organization and NGO are doing their bit to empower women but it is not sufficient enough to bring about a revolution. This can only happen when government puts in their individual efforts to improvise the status of women and young girls inIndia.

When Violence Becomes Decandent

Samstag, 23. Juni 2012, 19:00 – Sonntag, 29. Juli 2012, 19:00
Freies Museum Berlin
Curator: Shaheen Merali

Artists: Sarnath Banerjee (unique book), Binu Bhaskar (drawings), Rajib Chowdhury (digital prints and drawing), Samit Das (photo and text documentation), Natasha de… Betak (film screening), Probir Gupta (digital photographs), Rajkamal Kahlon (watercolour drawings and objects), Jitish Kallat (two video installation), Leena Kejriwal (photographs-installation), Oliver Laric (video) and Simit Raveshia (sculptures and photographs) Furthermore, a selection of documentaries and reports by journalists will be presented in the resource area.

In proposing When Violence becomes decadent, my research and analysis of contemporary India centred on locating the subjectivities created by artistic discourse and notations within a turbulent history that remains entrenched in what can only be described as a nation of great ambition and much aggression. How are we able to come to terms with millions starving – whilst millions are created as a new middle-class amongst a million such travesties and iniquities that make the ‘world’s largest democracy’.

The title of the exhibition reflects some of my concerns of recent years, as a curator who has been substantially involved with artists from a global domain, whilst having, more recently, concentrated on understanding the conditions and phenomenon of the creative surge of artists from India and Iran. My interest lies in contemplating the wider problems of ‘minority’ representation in exhibitions, suggesting ways that curation can become a cohesive and transparent form of research.
We are in need of some answers, even formulae, which can help distribute the results, a dissemination beyond the proverbial essay, if exhibition making is to be considered as truly experimental. If, as so much is claimed, curatorial strategies are real alternatives and provide real, challenging developments within an insatiable market/space, then the formations informed by these strategies need to be available as a set of results for us to confidently pursue the future.

It is in assembling the works for When Violence becomes decadent, that one starts to realise the frame, the framing and the framework of both decadence and violence in the context of India. This vast, seething historical space, now marked by a turbulent history, is a nation-state. In turning to the great poet Rabindranath Tagore, who was instrumental in this nation’s birth and its separation from its former colonial rulers, one finds one of the relevant figureheads whose art activities included writing (poetry, plays and narrative texts), directing and painting. These were combined with his activist attributes, including an education system based on rural principles, which are amazing acts of contemplation.

The exhibition at the Freies Museum is partially grounded in the study of some of his works and ideas, and an engrossing archive of designs and mediations is presented by the Delhi-based artist, Samit Das, accompanied by a series of reports and documentaries in the resource area. This history as acts of humanist, universalist and internationalist principles, helped to denounce both imperialist strictures and spurned, rigid classical forms by resisting linguistic strictures. Tagore was able to create by being a strident anti-nationalist, through which stance magical moments of clear thinking and articulation, in midst of the movement for independence from Britain and its sovereign rights, led to a better political understanding and potential in the new nation’s ethical formulations. One of the key ideas of a village[s] free from the shackles of helplessness and ignorance by vitalising knowledge is extensively represented in a series of journalists’ reports and non-government organisations’ reports in the resource area of the exhibition. In the early 1930s Tagore targeted ambient ‘abnormal caste consciousness’ and untouchability. Lecturing against these, he penned Dalit heroes for his poems and his dramas, and he campaigned—successfully—to open Guruvayoor Temple to Dalits.
These acts have inspired artists Simit Raveshia and Leena Kejriwal, who present large scale environments that include photoworks, sculptures and found material that question the position of sex trafficking (Kejriwal) and the subaltern (Raveshia).
Many of these acts, initiated by Tagore, remain outside of the national history of India or of much of a world spiraling into ad nauseam triviality and hyper-consumption. Two video projections by Jitish Kallat contemplate the issues of scarcity and nationhood, whilst Binu Bhaskar’s drawings map the ground for the cheap and globalised labour that drives much of the rural ambition into dwelling in city squalor or constructs the architectural gambles in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qattar. In trying to examine this legacy, as a historical remain or archive, away from India’s headlong rush into super- capitalism, one starts to understand a more contemplative set of questions, positions rather than postures and renunciations.
Rajkamal Kahlon’s research into the colonial project and its mitigating circumstances are presented in a series of drawings and small sculptures alongside the witty articulations by Sarnath Banerjee. It is often the work within the creative sectors that invites us to regard this nation and its subtleties once again, through the notations of artists, filmmakers, poets, writers and architects.
Natasha de Betak’s film Speaking Tree, is one such work, an examination of the state of rural fatality under economic and cultural domination of resources and tradition. It is this return of the development of an aesthetics within ideological constraints, that almost serves us better than the news industry with its simplistic articles that summarise the state’s resolve within the world’s paradigms. Here, the pertinent collages by Probir Gupta and the subtle digital drawings by Rajib Chowdhury, bring to the exhibition a fresh examination of the popular culture and its grasp on the nation’s imaginary. In this category the video, Air Condition, by Oliver Laric, examines the effect of unrequited love by employing a popular riff from a Bollywood hit.
As a curator and writer involved in making exhibitions, I believe the selection of certain artists’ works assists us in
the formulation of cohesive thoughts in these pressing times and allows us to further comprehend the artistic innovations that arise out of specific contexts. To paraphrase the great poet, Hafiz, ‘What we speak becomes the house where we live …

Shaheen Merali (curator)

 

The Magic of Photography!

Our mind filters from the mundane and common, little aspects of greatness, that to the naked eyes seems just a passing moment: frame it, reflect on it and the flickering moment becomes a memory!

The magic of photography – is in creating stories, as such the photographer is in full control of what he wants to convey to the people. Conveying a message through words is easy, as it is a direct medium of communication. But when it comes to photography, the poetry is subtle and silent; and comprehending silence requires ability to connect, understand & relate.

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words.  A memorable photograph is one that promises a story, or hides a mystery, that impels the viewer to want to know more, and thereby linger on the photograph.

Story telling through photography is an art, an art that is less theoretic and more psychological. Remember your best photo from childhood – the zoo visit with parents, the happy smiling faces, how you were okay to have perched on your daddy’s shoulder – now when you see that picture time and over, you don’t simply look at a picture – you look back at a happy moment in the past that adds much value to your present – this is the magic that photographs behold.

To create, re-create or simply to understand the magic of a photograph there isn’t any better tool than Observation and Absorption, after all even a memorable photograph can be one, resplendent in blurred lines! And it’s true that to breathe life into a picture it takes more than just technical understanding. Recalling the words of Alec Soth an American photographer, “Pictures are small, fragmentary things…What makes anything of these great?  It is a swirl of sensation, a feeling, and is otherwise impossible to define.”

 

How Photography Has Evolved Over the Ages & Why Portrait Photography is Still Relevant?

Photography has passed many stages and has evolved over the ages to reach its present form. Present day photography cannot be defined merely as a point and shoot action because photography as an art has extended its dimension to reach new heights. If we go back to the primitive age, we will be amazed to see cave drawings that were the proof of the earliest pictorial creations by humans.

Many years later, before the invention of camera, painters of great fame left their pictorial masterpieces, which were treated as the reflection of their time. It was not until 19th century that camera was invented and photography became the alternative craze. From the point of its inception, photography has experienced sea of changes and has reached its present status. The modern age photography is no longer just an art form.

Portrait photography and its relevance in the present age

If we turn the pages of history, we will find that portraiture was a common practice among wealthy and rich people. Many eminent and notable international figures from the past have found their place in the frames of a portrait. Portrait photography has been beautifully described by Jean Luc Godard in his memorable quote “When you photograph a face………..you photograph a soul behind it.”

Although photography as an art form has produced different creative representations and adopted new kind of experimentation, portraiture remains a favourite with photographers due to its emphasis on the facial expression of an individual. The most striking and wonderful aspect of portrait photography is that it can be treated as a tribute, homage or framing of the mind and character of a person as perceived from the expression of the eyes.

It is not to be mistaken that the term portrait only refers to “facial expression”. The relevance of portraiture lies in defining character through faces, events, action – as such it becomes obvious that if an artist is able to give a ‘face’ to a City scene we can as well call it portraiture photography.

Works of Henry Cartier Bresson ideally represents the vision of an artist that seeks to bring out the soul of a city through a series of portraits – the street life, the elite society, the burdens of mediocrity – all photographs depicting the character of a city and its livelihood.

Infact portrait photography is one of the most indispensable mediums through which we connect to our past. It’s a reminder of who we are and where from we have come; how society has evolved speedily and where we are headed to.

I quite consent to what Peter Bunnell had said about portrait photography –

“There is no single form or style of portraiture. Portraiture means individualism and as such means diversity, self-expression, private point of view. The most successful images seem to be those which exist on several planes at once and which reflect the fantasy and understanding of many.”

 

Is Photography an Art?

What Does Art Mean To You?

It is undoubtedly evident that many of us are not aware of what Art actually means. Many of us possess expensive cameras, and mobile phones that come with high resolution camera options to help us capture that memorable moment. But, there is a vast difference between randomly clicking pictures and taking a shot that appeal to our aesthetic senses. Here is where ‘Art’ comes into the scenario. ‘Art’ consists of three fundamental components- artist, medium and the artwork. Also, the factors like ‘subject’ and ‘viewers’ are also important parts of ‘Art’. The subject may be an inspiration from the real world and viewers are of course audience who view the ‘Art’ and try to interpret it. Thus, like various other Art forms that we know of, ‘Photography’ is also considered to be an Art. Earlier, many people had a notion that ‘Photography’ is merely a job that requires clicking photos, the relevance of photographer as an artist was not recognized until the 19th century.

Evolution of perception of ‘Photography as Art’

Though there have been several debates on whether ‘Photography’ should be considered as an ‘Art’, the combined efforts of several great photographers of the 19th and 20th century has validated photography as an ‘Art’. They attempted to draw attention of viewers by producing very sharp and detailed images of the real world to explicitly portray what Photography as Art would offer to the people’s imagination. The earlier black and white photography may seem simple but, history says that plenty of approaches have been undertaken to modify emulsions and other processes involved in photography. In present times technology has provided us with the privilege of using an array of fine films, papers, chemicals, and darkroom equipment and computer software to bring varied effects to the images. From capturing straight replications of reality to colorful landscapes, photographers have come a long way in portraying thoughtful and mind blowing images to the people. Several sophisticated artists like Ansel Adams were perfectionists at photography and he showed to the world what manipulation in the camera work and darkroom could do to simple replicas of reality.

Understanding ‘Photography as Art’

To understand and appreciate Photography as a creative expression one must try sneaking a chance and watching an artist work first-hand. Since, only then can one realize as to how natural objects such as fruits and vegetables can be photographed differently by seeing it in a different way, which is the magic that artistry brings about to an otherwise normal scene or subject.

Photography now is no more a mere reflection of the subject but how a photographer as an artist response to that particular subject is what we get to see in an image. So if we tap on our abstract senses then we might get to see that apart from the physical reality in an image, everything else in the picture is a representation of an artist’s decisions. So, if you come across a ‘street photographer’ busy recording some street scenes, those are not just recordings but understanding the scene in a particular sense that is expressed in the image finally.

Though photography is a new addition to the world of art it has gained quite prominence in the recent times. As people has learnt to appreciate the finer things, they have also naturally accepted photography as a representative that give a new meaning to those little things which matter to us or may be are just a part of our daily lives. Thus, as perception of reality gets revolutionized gradually we get more immediate entertainment from striking photos that leave us speechless and in awe. So, next time you visit a photo gallery or pick up photo journal try and look beyond the obvious, as it might be conveying much more than what your eyes ‘see’!

The Magic of Portrait Photography

 

Portrait photography also known as portraiture is capturing a person or a group of people with the help of photography where the emphasis is on the expression present on the faces. Thus, since the entire focus is on the face, the subject is often seen to be directly looking at the camera. The aim is to portray likeness, personality and also the mood of the subject. Also, another interesting fact about portrait photography is that here the subjects are often non-professional models. This particular form of photography began since the invention of the camera and its popularization in the 19th century. It is also known as the oldest type of photography.

The Early Beginnings of Portrait Photography

In early times, people often resorted to portrait painting which has been used by distinguished figures and eminent personalities before camera became popular. However, when photography as art had become popular people also find out that portrait photography was much cheaper and more easily accessible than portrait painting. With this realization and with the advent of the commercially successful cheap photographic process ‘daguerreotype’, portraiture gained prominence. With time as more photographic techniques developed, photographer ventured out of the known and tested their talents outside studio in battlefields, across oceans and in remote places. The most prominent of the portraits are William Shew’s ‘Daguerreotype Saloon’, Roger Fenton’s ‘Photographic Van’ and Mathew Brad’s What-is-it? Set the milestones in this field.

The nuances of Portraiture

Portrait photography has many branches. A portrait becomes popular or draws attention only when it tries to convey something powerful, better than what words can say. Thus, to get the desired effects in a particular photo a photographer can change the light sources, background, the focal length of the lenses and the shutter etc.

To begin with portrait photography can be classified into two main sections.

Based on Shots

The first is the ‘Facial Shot or Close-ups’. This type of photography style is applied when you wish to take a shot of children or a baby, or one particular person. Here, the expressions of the face are taken into account along with the angle of the heads and position of hands. The combination of shadows and lights come into play here to highlight varied expressions. The second comes the ‘Upper Body Shots’. In this type the torso of the subject is taken into consideration apart from the head. In these photos the photographer can experiment and create a story. The subject need not look directly at the camera.

Based on Approaches

Apart from the above there are four varied approaches taken to portraiture and the reasons for which can also vary. It may be artistic, technical or cultural. They are-

The Constructionist approach is when the photographer while clicking a portrait builds an idea around the subject. It could be a happy couple, a romantic gesture or a trustworthy executive.  This approach is mostly used in social photography. Its usage is also found in advertising and marketing when an idea has to be communicated. Environmental approach is that in which the subjects are found to be in their usual environments like work, home, school or playgrounds. The environment provides us information on the person being photographed. It tells us about their likings, class, work etc. These portraits carry a lot of social and historical significance as sources of information. Candid is another approach to portraits where people are photographed without them knowing about it and thus these photos tend to project the natural, spontaneous and impromptu moment which every photographer loves to capture. While this technique is often criticized, this style has given the world some excellent, important images of people in various situations over the ages. The last of all is the Creative approach, where digital manipulation comes into play. Thus, the resultant picture is a wonderful product with the flaws removed to near perfection.

The other variations one can bring about to portraiture are by making changes to the poses, proper positioning of your subjects, or photographing from different angles. Also, you can experiment with the various photo settings, light, exposure, white balance and focusing to capture the best shot. So, if you are a novice or a professional when you set out for portrait photography keep the above details in mind as they are essential to making your photos eye-catching and appealing!

 

 

The Ghats of Kolkata- Unheard Stories!

The term ‘Ghat’ is mostly used in certain parts of South Asia refers to a series of steps leading one down to a water body, which is usually a holy river.  In regions where Bengali is spoken ‘ghat’ means a set of stairs as which can lead to something as small as a pond or as large as a big river. In river side cities in India since the olden times, they were constructed mainly to give access to the river Ganga. The ghats in Kolkata have their own history and significance and their names have been found mentioned in the books of several authors and poets. The meanderingHooghlyRiver flowing through the heart of Kolkata has facilitated the building of recreational spots andGhats which let us appreciate the beauty of this holy river as has been done by prominent people of yesteryears.

The Outram

This ghat has a colonial history to be linked with. It has been built and dedicated to Sir James Outram who was a foot soldier in the army of the British East India Company and later rose to the rank of a general because of his bravery and commitment. Located to the south of Babughat this ghat is known to be one of Kolkata’s premier riverside entertainment spots. A multipurpose ghat, one can use it for bathing, conducting ceremonies of birth and death and also immerse idols during the festive season. Its importance is highlighted specially during the Durga Puja when mass idols are immersed here. The nearby tourist attractions which you can also take a trip to from here are Maidan, Race Course, Victoria Memorial andMillenniumPark.

The Princep Ghat

This ghat was built under the beautification drive undertaken by the British East India Company during the British rule. It has been built in the memory of the famous British scholar James Prinsep. He was the honorable secretary of the Asiatic Society. His role in deciphering Emperor Akbar’s Brahminical script is worth appreciating. His untimely death at the age of forty let the Kolkatans to pay a tribute to this great man by opening this ghat to the public in 1843. This is a charming recreational spot where tourists can spend hours sitting on benches and have a glimpse of the large stretch ofHooghlyRiver. One can also while away the time watching the boatmen work and sing. The boats made available can offer you a tempting voyage to visit the majestic Belur Math and Dakhshineswar temple. The boat ride is the most pleasing way to discover the subtle charms of the city.

Annapurna Ghat

This ghat was previously known as Raghu Mitra’s Ghat whose father Govindo Ram Mitra was ranked as ‘black deputee’ by the British during the British Rule. Bishnu Ram Chakraborty of Bag Bazaar was appointed as the ‘Ameen’ of Kolkata during the same time when Warren Hastings was the Governor General. BeforeHastingsset off forEnglandhe presented 52 acres of land to Bishnu Ram Chakraborty. He then built four Shiva temples on Raghu Mitra’s ghat in 1776 and devoted himself to the worshipping of goddessAnnapurnaevery day. Thus, the ghat then came to be known as Annapurna Ghat.

Armenian Ghat

This is a ghat that has stood the test of time. The Armenians were among the most earliest foreign immigrants to have settled in Kolkata. The Armenian who took the responsibility of constructing this ghat was Manvel Hazaar Maliyan. The centre of all attention is the flower market here with its variety of rare beautiful blossoms that come from varied districts of West Bengal andIndia. Flowers like Lilies, Dutch rose, Gladioli, Dahlias are displayed on a huge scale and you have to pitch the right bargain if you wish to lay your hands on them. The other treat to the eyes is the open air wrestling amphitheatre with budding wrestlers competing with one another. Also, the riverside massage therapist is another delightful thing when you want a quick massage to relax your tired muscles.

The above ghats form a fascinating place for tourists and also for the ordinary citizens. The romanticism and history associated with these ghats stay immortal through the years as people continue to appreciate their beauty and charm.       

Three Must Read Books For Everyone Staying in Kolkata

 

Kolkata is proud to be known all over the world for its cultural, historic, artistic, and scientific blend in every layer of its existence. The city is exceptionally gifted with supposedly one of the best combinations of aesthetic and creative varieties in India and is known for its intelligent, creative, art-loving as well as researched book lovers. Among all other bright and interesting aspects of the city the culture of book reading among its people is a prominent facet of this city. This is such a serious and celebrated affair that Kolkata plays host to the world’s largest non-trade book fair which happens to be the most attended book fair in the world every year.

Many Kolkatans consider the Kolkata Book Fair as the inherent part of Kolkata and loves the fact they are well known in the world for their book loving nature. Books have become an integral part in the life of Kolkatans just like their favourite morning cup of cha. But what are the books that every Kolkatan must read? Here is my opinion…

The City of Joy- This is one of the most talked about books in Kolkata and it captures the feel and rhythm of this city. Written by Dominique Lapierre in 1985 the novel was later made into a film in 1992 and it had Patrick Swayze in its lead role.

Second enlarged and revised edition of Bangiya Sabarna Katha/Kalishetra Kalikatah by Bhabani Roy Choudhury (a translated version is available)– this is a delightful read and depicts details of Sabarna Roy Choudhury who was a zamindar of Kolkata prior to the arrival of British in Indian soil. The book talks about the metamorphosis of Kolkata from a small hamlet to the empire of the British Raj.

Biography of Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography by Katherine Sprink is the best option here.  It details life of this self less angel who made the city her home.

Why Do You Need A Photographic Portrait?

 “A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”       Richard Avedon

Now you have always wanted to have a photographic portrait but were never quite confident about the reason. You have always wondered why would you go for a photographic portrait and why would not a snap in your friendly Nikon camera be enough? Well here are some thoughts for you to ponder…

Portrait photography is an art that captures the true expression of a person to reflect his individuality. In a lay man’s words, a photographic portrait is a superior quality picture of a person that not only focuses on capturing his physical presence but also captures that special expression which tells a lot about him as a person.

While usually clicking pictures we tell our subjects, to ‘say cheese’ and focus on getting that smile which would qualify that picture to be a happy one. This cannot be done when you are doing portrait photography for in portrait photography you need to have an expert eye to capture the real persona of the individual and frame it for immortality. A good portrait photographer needs to be a great judge of human character. He needs to put his subject at ease and bring out his true self.  At the same time he/she should have a rare intuitiveness to decipher the real persona of a person. Finally he/she should have the skill to click the button at the right time and get the desired result.

Now all these skills are not achieved by a professional photographer in a single day- rather they are created after years of practice that helps one to develop an eye for details. So naturally a photographic portrait by a professional photographer would manage to capture that special aspect in you which might even be unknown to you; at the least it would bring out the real you and frame you for immortality.

In my next blog I would discuss further how a portrait photographer manages to capture that rare mood which reflects the persona of an individual – but here I would like to rest my case by saying that a good portrait photograph is worth every penny spent for it manages to bring before you your true self that might have remained unknown unless you had opted for portrait photography.