Personal Reflections

 
This image is my interpretation of the chaos of people in Mumbai through a window which acts as a story telling medium. Photograph/Vinit Gupta

This image is my interpretation of the chaos of people in Mumbai through a window which acts as a story telling medium. Photograph/Vinit Gupta

Vinit Gupta peers through reflections on the street in an effort to portray all the activity taking place around him.

My Assignment

  • Description: To use reflections to show a kaleidoscope of activities happening around us at the same time.
  • Duration: An ongoing assignment that I have been working on for the last three years.
  • Notes: One of the absolute necessities for a project like this is to carry your camera everywhere you go. Different surfaces will offer different perspectives and reflections.

This series began during one of my trips to Mumbai, two and a half years ago, and the first image happened almost subconsciously. I am a street photographer by heart and this series is just an extension of the same.

People often end up having certain assumptions about a place or about people from a certain area. This series has helped me bypass preconceived notions and establish my own thoughts. Through it, I have attempted to show multiple layers of life in one image.

I made this image in the old part of Delhi to symbolise the diversity that exists in our society. Photograph/Vinit Gupta

I made this image in the old part of Delhi to symbolise the diversity that exists in our society. Photograph/Vinit Gupta

My Perspective
This project is an abstract reproduction of my experience of a place at a particular point in time. Each photo represents the thoughts that were going on in my mind when I made it.

To illustrate this, I have tried to combine multiple events happening all around me, all of which come together to form a single reflection that goes beyond the obvious.

This extremely personal project has helped me clear my mind. Not only have I learned how to express myself, but also discovered how to identify the various feelings running through my mind. It is a form of liberation in the visual medium. This is one project where I allow my senses to take over and react to the flurry of activities around me.

The Process
One of the reasons I chose reflections was because they helped me show plenty of things, all at once. Whether it was a window of a car or a glass storefront, reflections made me overcome the limitation of having a single subject in the frame.

While a certain event would be unfolding in front of me, something entirely different would be taking place behind me, and to the sides, were completely different scenarios.

All the images have been shot using a wide angle lens. This has ensured that the depth-of-field is quite large. Hence, the multiple elements in the frame could all be in sharp focus at the same time.

The image is a juxtaposition of the concrete towers, skyscrapers and natural landscapes of the city of Gurgaon. Photograph/Vinit Gupta

The image is a juxtaposition of the concrete towers, skyscrapers and natural landscapes of the city of Gurgaon. Photograph/Vinit Gupta

The images for the series have come from different cities across the country. Each of them have been spontaneous and have happened at the spur of the moment when I have been shooting on the streets.

Every place offered new experiences and told its own different story. As a result, I ended up making images that were strongly distinct from each other. Reflections simply served as a canvas to bring it all together.

My Equipment
I have been using a Canon EOS 500D along with a Tokina 11–16mm ultrawide lens and a Canon 18–55mm kit lens. A wide angle lens helps me gain a better idea of what is taking place on the reflective surface.

How to Create Your Own Perspectives

  • Travel Extensively: And then travel some more. The more you walk around, the more often you will come across scenarios and events that will give you an opportunity to shoot. Being a good street photographer is the first step towards shooting a series like this.
  • It is Not about the Reflections: Remember that reflections can only help you capture the reality around you. Instead of looking for interesting reflections, observe the world around you and choose an event. Then use the reflection as a device to overlay multiple things together.
  • Have a Different Approach Each Time: Shooting a series like this often ends up in making repetitive and similar frames. It is essential that you are continuously on the lookout for different angles and perspectives. Experiment with different viewpoints and different reflective surfaces which will help you tell your stories in the best possible manner.
Tags: August 2012, On Assignment, reflection photography, reflections, vinit gupta