Where the Streets Have No Name
A Reflection of Life
“My painting has influenced my photography, and vice versa,” says Subrata Biswas. “Every art we practise or admire tends to influence the other, and that’s beautiful.”
When we were small, the local television network in Calcutta would show Satyajit Ray’s movies, which I would watch with child-like fascination. Years later, when I started painting, when I started appreciating composition, I realised that every frame of every Ray movie is a photograph.
While developing my street and documentary aesthetic, I have been greatly influenced by the framing devices that Ray would use. Apu’s gaze, his reflection in the water body, the whole idea of not showing the character directly… when the grandmom narrates the story, you see a stark shadow of her profile, when she passes away, you only see a pot breaking. Street photography has a lot to do with symbolism… what do you show, what do you not show, the choices you make will eventually decide whether you become a true auteur.
Henri Cartier-Bresson and James Nachtwey have been indomitable influences on my work. Lately, Roger Ballen’s work has struck a great chord with me. His use of drawings as leitmotifs, the suspension of reality, the whole idea of ‘documentary fiction’… it’s inspired me to ask myself how I can find the surreal within the real, a nagging thought that has led to images like the clock portrait, on the right.
“I come from a painting background, and street photography, for me, is where composition meets emotion, where art meets heart.”
Engineer, painter, photojournalist, documentary photographer, Subrata Biswas wears plenty of different hats, some, at the same time. You can see more of his photography and painting work at www.subratabiswas.com, and on Instagram (@subratabsws).
(Story continues on the next page.) Tags: Arindam Thokder, Better Pictures, December 2015, dhruv dhakan, Manu Thomas, Monica Tiwari, Prasad Mahale, Raj Lalwani, Street Photograph, Subrata Biawas, Swapnil Jedhe, Vinay Panjwani, Vinod Babu