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Interview with Zulfi.

15 Feb Sandy

First , Can you tell us a little about of you and how you got started with Photography ?

I’m Zulfikhar, Travel Photographer based in Chennai. It all began when my passion for photography started as a child when my parents gifted me a film camera. As technology progressed and photography equipment became more accessible to everyone I pushed myself to discover the unexplored. I travelled to remote areas to find the undocumented, explore the unexplored and share the unseen.

Where do you get your inspiration for Photography ? 

My first ever inspiration was Timothy Allen, an English Travel Photographer. Later I found inspiration in every good image of all the photographers I came across.

Specially what is your favorite subject in photography? Which is your main genre?

People are my favorite subject always. I love to shoot Environmental Portraits during my Travel. We know that you were Dubai based for a long time. Now you are in your hometown Chennai, India.

When you used to take snaps in Dubai and you take snaps in India…are there any differences you notice as a travel photographer? 

Yes a lot of differences. For instance, back in Dubai, it is not easy to shoot people! But it is not an issue at all in India. also there a lot of possibilities to shoot different genres in India. People are really very friendly in India.

Could you please guide the techniques of clicking the people’s faces and their lifestyles of the core areas? Because most of them won’t allow to be clicked always?

The formula to shoot people is really simple! First we need to make sure that you are as friendly as possible and approach with a smiling face. Talk to them for a while about their place and life, have a good interaction to break the ice. Most importantly, seek for their permission before you shoot. Then once you get the permission, choose the right background, light and capture your shots.

What are the gears you are using when you are clicking

☑️Commercial works like fashion
* kindly share some specific settings too which you like the most…

There are no specific gears for specific genres. Initially I had a canon crop sensor camera – Canon EOS 70D, then I upgraded my kit with a full frame body – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Later on I also started shooting with Nikon bodies such as D810, D4s, D850 etc. I always prefer to shoot at Aperture priority except during fashion shoots at studios, where I always prefer to shoot on Manual mode.

Why are those gears much needed?

It is for the Dynamic Range. With rights gears you could get the most of what is available at the time of shoot itself. Post processing becomes easier and less time consuming.

Whose work has influenced you most ?  

There are quite a few names that would pop instantly, they are Timothy Allen, Jord Hammond & David Lazar.

Among your works , which one is your favorite ? Can you please share this photo ? 

It is hard to pick one favorite! There are quite a few, but I would say this particular photo would top the list because it was published at the Somerset Museum, London as the most commended shot.

Can you please share your any memorable experiences on your recent activities at your visiting to the places for photo shoot purposes? Ex- Kerala.

There was this one particular incident which happened during my visit to Kerala for shooting Theyyam Festival. It was 2’o clock at night and I was waiting to shoot the event which would start by 3am. Since I did not have any food earlier, I felt so hungry. There weren’t any shops or hotels available around, so I decided to go to the temple and ask if there was any food left, as they always provide free meals to all who attend the festival. Unfortunately it was all over. I walked back with disappointment. But suddenly a voice called out to me, a man from the temple management got me a full meals and said that was the last plate left. It was really touching. I felt so grateful. This is India for you, Unity in Diversity. I would never forget this incident.

Any favorite places you always love to visit…or any dream place?

The list is really long! I would love to visit Sikkim, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Myanmar and Camobida in the near future once this pandemic ends.

Any guidance for the amateur photographers?

Keep shooting, Keep learning! Be fully aware of the gear you use. Take feedbacks from others. Always improvise.


Interview of Arturo.

15 Feb Admin

First, can you tell us a little about yourself and how did you get started with photography?

Photography was not initially important to me, it did not attract my attention. What did attract me from a very young age was traveling. Over time I did need to show what I saw, what I lived and what I felt, but it was really bad taking photos with my little camera. When I showed the images to family or friends, the only thing they saw was a moving photo and in which it was not known what I had wanted to take, it was very frustrating. Little by little I was striving to capture the essence of travel, so I gradually became interested in the world of photography. It was very hard for a long time, I traveled frequently, but saw no results. I returned and did not achieve my goal, my photographs were hardly improving, but fortunately, after a lot of work, I think that more or less I was improving when it came to capturing what I saw; Although I am an eternal dissatisfied and I am always unhappy with my work. From my travels I come back with the feeling that I could do better and maybe, that feeling is good to keep trying and improve as a photographer. Currently, I cannot conceive of traveling without my camera.

How would you describe your photographic approach?

Mainly my photography is documentary and anthropological. In my trips I look for people within their cultural and social environment to which they belong and it is there where I really feel comfortable. I focus a lot on fading cultures and ancient traditions.But obviously, when you travel you have the opportunity to see many things and live countless situations that are worth photographing, and I do. I am not as “purist” as other photographers, who are very clear about their specialty and find it difficult to get out of it.

Where do you get your inspiration for photography?
Many years ago, I paid a lot of attention to the works of the great masters, Steve Mc Curry and Sebastiao Salgado in particular, I was amazed at his photographs of places I had traveled to and seemed to me other places, I was amazed to see what they They were able to see and how they reflected it in their images. They inspired me a lot, but now, I just let go and I’m not aware if something or someone inspires me, I just enjoy it like the first day.

How has photography allowed you to connect with local cultures?

I think it has been the other way around, that visiting other cultures or ethnic groups was what made me feel little by little the need to photograph them and rescue those unique moments, that I had kept in me, but that little by little they fade over time .
It is true that since photography is digital, it is much easier to interact with the people you are going to photograph, showing them the result on the screen, it takes away tension at the moment and is cause for laughter. With analog photography, you shot, thanked and left, it was much colder.

What is your equipment for travel photography?

I currently work with Nikon D800 and for various purposes.
Nikon 24-70mm, Nikon 70-200mm , Nikon 16-35mm

What configuration do you choose?

I only give priority to the diaphragm and by default I have underexposed 1/3 of the diaphragm to give it a little more contrast.

Which travel and portrait photographers have influenced you?

I think I anticipated this question earlier and answered it.
There are many photographers that I like, but in particular and the ones that influenced me the most were Steve Mc Curry and Sebastiao Salgado. The first one has masterpieces, in which you spend a good time looking at the scene and nothing is missing, everything is perfect and Salgado, what to say about this photographer, that magical black and white. But as I have already mentioned, there are true masters of travel photography.

What is the importance of portrait photos?
For me, everything is the modality in which I am most comfortable. As I mentioned before, on trips I take advantage of any scene I like, landscape, Street photography, details, I do not care, but it is with the portrait that I get the best results.

Have you ever missed what could have been a memorable shot?

Yes, I have failed not once, but a few times. On some occasions for not having the camera ready and being a quick scene and the image has moved, or is out of focus. I have had many situations in which I have not been able to achieve that unique image and that creates frustration that lasts for several days.

Among your works, which is your favorite? Can you please share this photo?

It is very difficult to stay with a single image, but I will choose one of the ones that I like the most, which does not always correspond to the best, it may be due to the circumstances in which it was taken, there may be some more sentimental than technical reason in that image, but I will try to make the photo you choose take a bit of everything. This image belongs to a series, I do not know if it is one of my favorites, but it is true that I really enjoyed doing it. It is from some races that are held in Sumatra, Indonesia. I remember being in front of the oxen and when they got very close I had to run away and get out of their way. Everything had to be very fast and have the camera settings ready. It was really an exciting and good day, the result is spectacular.

What is your dream mission?

Good question. Well, I have had in mind for many years cycling the mythical Lhasa (Tibet) – Kathmandu (Nepa) route and being able to do a photographic report. But time passes and the years come upon me and every time I see it more difficult, although I always have it in mind. I also want to do a good report on the Rio Ganga, but there are many goals that I always have in mind.

Do you have any projects planned for the year?

It is a very difficult year to make plans of any kind due to the virus crown, I think this year you will be able to travel little. I had planned to organize some photographic trips around Africa, but you have to wait to see how the pandemic evolves.

Arturo López Illana