S Paul: The Master of Vision

 
S Paul is constantly transcending boundaries, and the Sony Alpha 77 II helps him experiment. Exposure: f/7.1, 1/160sec, at ISO 250. Photograph/S Paul

S Paul is constantly transcending boundaries, and the Sony Alpha 77 II helps him experiment. Exposure: f/7.1, 1/160sec, at ISO 250. Photograph/S Paul

The legendary S Paul, using the Sony Alpha a7 II.

The legendary
S Paul, using the
Sony Alpha a7 II.

S Paul is more than a celebrated legend in the world of photography. Discover the master’s ever-evolving way of seeing.

There is a transcendental quality to S Paul’s entire career as a photographer, and you see it in the little things. The legend has been making photographs for decades, and yet, you cannot peg him as a certain type of photographer. He has explored several genres like street, fashion, photojournalism, landscapes and portraits. Even to this day, S Paul is an explorer—constantly experimenting with forms and ideas on photography.

On Technique
S Paul once said, “Good technique is your vocabulary—without it, you simply cannot express yourself.” The photographer, himself, is in the constant practice of it, which is clearly seen in his diaspora of work.

The Sony Alpha 6000’s 0.06sec AF speed and 179 AF tracking points makes the perfect companion to S Paul’s well-honed observational abilities. Exposure: f/5, 1/1000sec, at ISO 100. Photograph/S Paul

The Sony Alpha 6000’s 0.06sec AF speed and 179 AF tracking points makes the perfect companion to S Paul’s well-honed observational abilities. Exposure: f/5, 1/1000sec, at ISO 100. Photograph/S Paul

Ironically, what got him interested in photography was motion pictures. In his younger years, he would often wonder, “Instead of using so many frames, why not tell the story in one single frame?” Despite a full-time job, he would read as many books on photography he could find to understand and strengthen his own concepts of technique. Soon, he picked up a camera, and the rest, as they say is history.

A master fine art photographer, S Paul brings out the essence of a place with his vision. The Sony Alpha 7 II is perfect for such intricate, detailed scenes. Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200sec, at ISO 640. Photograph/S Paul

A master fine art photographer, S Paul brings out the essence of a place with his vision. The Sony Alpha 7 II is perfect for such intricate, detailed scenes. Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200sec, at ISO 640. Photograph/S Paul

Patience and Perseverance
“You should have a tremendous amount of patience if you want to create an impactful image through the camera. Every image must be planned,” said S Paul. This philosophy is very evident in his photographs. No moment is rushed… he takes his time in observing the scene and his instincts are so tuned that he knows exactly when to release the shutter. In the digital era, where we are all guilty of shooting and deleting multiple images of the same scene, there is a lot to learn from the legend on how to slow down, take a deep breath and let the moment unfold.

What you see on the screen is what you get, with the Sony Alpha 6000. The Bionz X processing ensures better quality images. Exposure: f/5.6, 1/125sec, at ISO 640. Photograph/S Paul

What you see on the screen is what you get, with the Sony Alpha 6000. The Bionz X processing ensures better quality images. Exposure: f/5.6, 1/125sec, at ISO 640. Photograph/S Paul

Accolades Galore
S Paul’s list of achievements is endless. With his very first camera and roll of film, he made 12 experimental self-portraits. Not long after, he submitted a few of his images of landscapes and people to three of UK’s most renowned photography magazines—Miniature Camera, Miniature Camera World and Amateur Photographer. Not surprisingly, all three magazines printed his photographs, a first for any Indian photographer to achieve.

S Paul is a master portraitist, and is renowned for his humanistic touch. The Sony Alpha 6000 has the same gapless onchip lens structure as the Alpha 7, assuring the ultimate image quality and light sensitivity. Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320sec, at ISO 2000. Photograph/S Paul

S Paul is a master portraitist, and is renowned for his humanistic touch. The Sony Alpha 6000 has the same gapless onchip lens structure as the Alpha 7, assuring the ultimate image quality and light sensitivity. Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320sec, at ISO 2000. Photograph/S Paul

He was also the first Indian photographer to be profiled by The British Journal of Photography Annual in 1967. In 1971, he became the first Indian to win the Nikon International Photo Contest. His photographs have also been featured in the book The World’s Greatest Black and White Photography. In 2004, B&W Magazine US nicknamed him ‘The Henri Cartier- Bresson of India’. His humanitarian and empathic photographs are testament to his understanding of the human condition. His work is non-judgmental— it is simply a reflection of who we are. “If the camera is in the hands of an honest photographer, the power of photography to reflect reality is endless,” said the maestro in an interview.

Capturing the unique and unseen in subjects that are in plain sight is the hallmark of S Paul’s mastery over his craft. The various creative capabilities of the Sony RX10 translates and captures this beautifully well. Exposure: f/2.8, 1/500sec, at ISO 200. Photograph/S Paul

Capturing the unique and unseen in subjects that are in plain sight is the hallmark of S Paul’s mastery over his craft. The various creative capabilities of the Sony RX10 translates and captures this beautifully well. Exposure: f/2.8, 1/500sec, at ISO 200. Photograph/S Paul

Live and Learn
The octogenarian is still making photographs, without the slightest drop in enthusiasm or energy. If there is anything that comes close to his constant search for frames, it is his fondness to experiment with and master new gear, and to discover new ways of seeing. Over the past decade, he has bought and used over a hundred cameras from various manufacturers.

Composition, angle and the use of spatial judgement forms a powerful interplay. The Sony RX1R makes the ideal tool for this. Exposure: f/5.6, 1/80sec, at ISO 100. Photograph/S Paul

Composition, angle and the use of spatial judgement forms a powerful interplay. The Sony RX1R makes the ideal tool for this. Exposure: f/5.6, 1/80sec, at ISO 100. Photograph/S Paul

Recently, he has picked up the Sony range of cameras to make images. The cameras from the company are proven powerhouse performers, and S Paul has gradually shifted to using them to capture his masterpieces.

“I particularly enjoy shooting with the Sony Alpha 6000 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The camera is an amazing performer for something half the size and weight of conventional DSLRs. Plus, the easy and intuitive controls make it convenient for me when I am shooting. The in-camera apps also allow me to look at image-making in a totally different way,” he said. “I practice photography like anyone practices music,” he said. “Skipping a day in music is equal to being six days behind. I apply the same principle to photography.”

An endless fascination for all kind of subjects characterises S Paul’s journey. The Sony RX10 proves to be a constant, versatile companion, with features useful for almost every subject. Exposure: f/2.8, 1/50sec, at ISO 100. Photograph/S Paul

An endless fascination for all kind of subjects characterises S Paul’s journey. The Sony RX10 proves to be a constant, versatile companion, with features useful for almost every subject. Exposure: f/2.8, 1/50sec, at ISO 100. Photograph/S Paul

There is a lot to learn from the maestro. One can certainly aim to practice his philosophies with the right dedication and interest. Perhaps the universal sign that S Paul was meant to be a photographer is that his birth date is 19 August, which also happens to be World Photography Day. “I was made for photography,” he said.

Tags: S Paul, sony cameras, advertorial, August 2015