Canon BP WPOY 2016-17: The Category Winners
Here’s a look at the top six contenders who will be pitted against one another, to win the title of Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17.
This year, the six category winners of the Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17 contest represented the best of Indian wedding photography. Every image spoke volumes of the photographer’s storytelling skills and technical prowess. Each of the winners will be title holders of their respective categories.
What the Judging Process was Like…
All the entries went through a three-step judging process, based on a voting system, and was carried out via a specially developed online module. It was designed in a way where the selected pictures were progressively narrowed down from the top 50 in each category to the top 10, and finally, to the main category winner. This particular system necessitates the panelists to be absolutely certain of their selections, before proceeding to every successive stage. To enable this, judges can see thumbnails, fullscreen views of every image for fine details. This also ensured that judges took extra care, and put in thought while selecting the top scoring images in each category. After the completion of the judging process, all the winning photographs were verified to ensure the authenticity and validity of the entries.
Wedding Stories from Across the Country
This year, we saw a lot of photographs where the emphasis was on storytelling, and these were the pictures that were also selected by the judges, which made it to the top 50 and top six nominees listing. “I had a great experience judging the entries this year, as I felt they were much stronger. There is far more emphasis on storytelling and narrative which makes the images a joy to view…” mentioned veteran photographer, Hari Mahidhar, who was one of the judges. The contest also brought out another aspect, that now, more than ever, the best photographs don’t necessarily come from elaborate or expensive weddings. In fact, we received several entries from weddings shot in tiny villages across India. The contest does not end here though. All the six category winners will now proceed to the face-off round, where they will battle it out for the crown of Canon Better Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016-17 award.
BRIDE & GROOM PORTRAITURE
“When I shot the image, the bride and the groom were completely unaware that I was standing on the opposite side of the street. They were in fact waiting for me to come and photograph them. I think I was extremely lucky with the picture because it’s not easy shooting with a 80–200mm lens, that too, without a tripod. I don’t think I could ever recreate the image with the same sense of fleetingness that it currently possesses.”
“We were shooting at Prinsep Ghat when the bride informed me of her ancestral home and its beautiful rustic pillars. So we decided to go there and the first room of the house had these two huge mirrors on either side of the wall. Immediately I knew what my frame was going to look like.”
“At the time of her bidaai, it is not unusual to find the bride’s entire family, especially her parents, around her car, tearing up at her departure. However, at this particular wedding, I noticed the bride’s parents on the other side of the car, looking forlorn and dejected. The silence was heartbreaking, and spoke volumes of the difficulty in letting go of a part of yourself.”
“The bride’s send-off is filled with such fleeting moments of sentimental value that the photographer has to be ready to capture them at the right second. This too was one such moment, made possible due to the exceptional bond shared between the bride and her father. The photograph encapsulates that.”
FAMILY & FRIENDS
“Lately, I have been practicing when to get closer to the subject, and when to take a step back to tell the story. Although they are two opposites, I believe that one can also find a balance between the two, which this particular photograph is all about. I observed that the groom’s cousins were closing in on him and sensed the possibility of something wonderful happening. So I immediately positioned myself, and the moment followed soon after.”
“It was uplifting to see the bride’s father’s childhood friends, come down from different corners of the world, to attend his daughter’s wedding. They were his strong pillars of support throughout the course of the ceremony, and even after. This photograph is a reminder of that.”
BEHIND THE SCENES/OFFBEAT
“Bengali wedding traditions dictate that the bride and groom be placed in separate rooms before the main ceremony. The couple here were left with their side of friends and family. I was hanging around, walking in and out of the rooms, hoping to shoot something interesting. But it was only when I stepped back and looked at the rooms from a distance, did I notice the unique duality of the scene. In a way, this image was inspired by Mahesh Shantaram’s offbeat images of weddings.”
“Weddings are filled with contradictions. In the midst of people running around, some frantic and some just for fun, there are also those who remain perfectly motionless. Like in the case of these two lamp trolley assistants, who seemed unbothered by the hustle and bustle around them.”
FINER WEDDING DETAILS/STILL LIFE
“Before entering her new home, the bride usually kicks a bowl of rice and then steps into a dish of kumkum. Very rarely does the dish contain her footprints. In this case, it did, and I made the image to symbolise the beginning of her new journey.”
“I had just completed photographing the couple in the temple, when I realised that I needed to make pictures of the rings. Fortunately, there were fresh flowers in the area. This was a quick five minute shot.”
PHOTOESSAY ON A SINGLE WEDDING
“When I received the opportunity to photograph a close friend and fellow photographer’s wedding in Guwahati, I knew that adhering to any sort of preconceived ideas wouldn’t be required. A naturally forming narrative is important to me and this particular wedding opened up to me without any reservations.”
“Very rarely do we get to shoot weddings in an informal space. And over time, hotel interiors can sometimes feel uninspiring. This particular wedding was refreshing in that sense. As I followed the family to the temple, I found several interesting characters to photograph along the way.”
Tags: Emotions, Kaustav Sarkar, Bride and Groom Portraiture, Canon BP WPOY 2016, Category winners, Sombit Dey, Rishika Das, Prakash Parmar, Family & Friends, Nitin Dangwal, Sri Mutnuri, Behind the Scenes/Pffbeat, Chetna Sarin, Finer Wedding Details/Still Life, Anill Patil, Praveen Padmanabhan, Photoessay on a Single Wedding, Abhishek Scariya