Where the Streets Have No Name



Raj Lalwani speaks to ten of the finest emerging street photographers in India to get an insight into their motivations, insecurities, preferred techniques and visual inspirations.

Often undervalued in a day and age where the value of the single image is treated with some suspicion, street photography remains one of the most inclusive, and thus, one of the most important kinds of photography that there is. After all, how do you even talk about something that happens in a fraction of a second, since what you see, why you see it, what you do and how you do it, are all subconscious decisions that just cannot be explained? It’s like breathing, one may say, or the beating of one’s heart, which is involuntary, reflexive, but does go faster when you see something you love.

Photographs by (l-r): Swarat Ghosh, Vinod Babu, Subrata Biswas, Monica Tiwari, Dhruv Dhakan, Swapnil Jedhe

Photographs by (l-r): Swarat Ghosh, Vinod Babu, Subrata Biswas, Monica Tiwari, Dhruv Dhakan, Swapnil Jedhe

“The greatest of street photographers just walk. They walk and they walk and they allow the place to talk. They walk and watch, and wait and watch, and then, walk again.”

My conversations with these ten street photographers over the past month and half, made me recognise these seemingly involuntary spells of magic that they cast. It also helped me realise that to defi ne their process merely as mere ‘instinct’, is myopic. The word ‘instinct’ refers to something innate, one that you cannot learn, while street photography, much like all of photography, rewards perspective, vision and rigour, all of which are honed, over time. Time is the key, one that we often forget while romanticising the discourse with words like the moment. Cartier-Bresson, who made the idea of the decisive moment famous, once told Alex Webb that “there are often multiple potential moments to discover in many situations—and that different photographers will find different moments.” The following forty pages will give us a glimpse of what these ten exciting photographic voices may find.

“The contact sheet is like the analyst’s couch. It’s also a kind of seismograph, recording the instant. It’s all there, what surprises us is what we catch, what we miss, what disappears. Or else an event that fulfi lls itself as an image.”

— Henri Cartier-Bresson

(Story continues on the next page.)
Tags: Better Pictures, Raj Lalwani, Monica Tiwari, dhruv dhakan, December 2015, Street Photograph, Vinod Babu, Subrata Biawas, Prasad Mahale, Swapnil Jedhe, Arindam Thokder, Manu Thomas, Vinay Panjwani