× Close

Six Indians on shortlist of world's biggest photography contest talk about their stunning shots

The best photograph often is one that they weren’t looking for, they say.

Most photographers will agree that the secret to getting a great photograph is a combination of timing and sheer luck. Six Indian shutterbugs who are among 270 photographers shortlisted and whose images count among 2.3 lakh submissions for the Sony World Photography awards, 2016, tell us how they got their perfect shots.

While one photographer features in the professional category, which is judged on a series of images, the other five have been shortlisted in the competition’s many Open categories, which are judged on a single shot.

Prakash Singh: Professional Landscape Category (two photographs)

Singh, who lives in Dubai, began his career as a photographer in 2012.

Photograph by Prakash Singh/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Prakash Singh/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

[This photograph was taken] during a very quick trip to Oman with my friend. It had been raining and the chances of the wadi (valley) being flooded were high. We were told not to take the risk to go up to the mountains as the roads could be treacherous, and there were also chances of landslides. We decided to go ahead anyway and after two to three hours of roaming around in the unknown mountains, we found this awesome place perfect for camping. It was completely dark and I could see all these stars with my naked eye. It was such beauty. It was like staying at a billion star hotel. Luckily, I happened to have my Sony A7R Mark II camera with me and I clicked a picture. In photography that one decision of whether you take a risk or not, sets you apart from the rest.

Photograph by Prakash Singh/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Prakash Singh/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

This was taken in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. I was there hosting a photography workshop. One morning, we decided to take a car and go out to catch a glimpse of a lion. Just a few metres from the hotel, we saw this family of giraffes. Giraffe sightings were considered normal enough since they came near our hotel often at night. We had almost passed when I decided to stop the car and take a quick shot. I took only three photographs. When I sat down to edit, of those three, this became one of my favourites. I simply love the natural habitat they are in. Sometimes the most easy shot can make the best shot.

Abhijit Banerjee: Open Travel Category

Banerjee’s photograph titled Gangasagar Fair is a stunning portrait of India’s second-largest fair, which takes place every year at West Bengal’s Sagar Island. The island’s southern tip is where the river Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal.

Photograph by Abhijit Banerjee/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Abhijit Banerjee/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

I had visited the Gangasagar Fair in 2015 with a couple of friends who were also photographers. On one of the mornings, I saw a group of sadhus taking a holy dip in the sea. I followed them into the water and was up to my knee [in water]. While waiting for them to resurface, I caught sight of this group of women to my right. They must have been around 25 feet away. I immediately turned and took a photograph from a low angle. This image made it to the shortlist.

Jaydip Bhattacharya: Open Smile Category

A high school teacher in Kolkata, Bhattacharya is a photography enthusiast who loves to photograph people, children and festivals.

Photograph by Jaydip Bhattacharya/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Jaydip Bhattacharya/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

I captured this image in a remote village in eastern India where the advancements in modern science and technology are yet to reach. The faces of these poor children – brother and sister – clearly reflected the joy of some newfound knowledge. The girl stood and watched while her brother rotated the globe with his fingers. They seemed to understand the fundamental phenomenon of earth’s rotation on its axis. When you learn a new fact and really understand it, it brings an innocent smile to your face. This is the true aim of education. When I looked at the smiling siblings through my viewfinder, I instantly realised that I was witnessing a perfect moment that can only be termed as the joy of learning.

Nikunj Rathod: Open People Category

Life on the streets fascinates this photographer and filmmaker who lives in Mumbai.

Photograph by Nikunj Rathod/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Nikunj Rathod/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

This picture is a memory that will never lose its colour. While cycling one afternoon, I came across some kids who were aiming for birds in the sky using a slingshot. I managed to convince them to demonstrate their shooting skills by aiming for an empty bottle. Surprisingly, the situation became quite competitive. This photo was taken then. I thought of capturing the uncondensed energy of this kid who looked so vigorous and heated. At that time, I was also working on a short film, Tendulkar. I was searching for a child in the same age group as the one in the photograph to feature in the film. He agreed, and we decided to meet the next day for a workshop. In Tendulkar, his role was appreciated the most.

Anasuya Mandal: Open Travel Category

Mandal grew up in Chandigarh and is pursuing a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She began travel photography as a hobby three years ago. Her stunning shortlisted image captures the Bryce Amphitheater in Utah, US.

Photograph by Anasuya Mandal/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Anasuya Mandal/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

Bryce Canyon is at an elevation of about 9,000 feet. The wind chill is insane at such a height, bringing down the temperature to about -17 degrees Celsius. Still, we somehow managed to steady the tripod, set up the camera and shoot as the sun was peeking out over the horizon, illuminating the hoodoos (a type of rock formation). This particular picture was taken about half an hour after sunrise – the red, gold and yellow of the sandstone columns below caught the sunlight at different angles. I think my fingers were numb at this point because this was the first time I was shooting in such chilly conditions. I was totally not prepared for the frigid onslaught. We went and bought hand-warmers and an extra set of gloves for ourselves for our hiking and photography endeavors for later that day. That morning stands out as one of the most surreal experiences of my life.

Sanghamitra Sarkar: Open Low Light Category

A neurosurgeon who doubles up as an amateur photographer, Sarkar is from West Bengal. She is interested in documenting festivals in India and abroad. Her shortlisted image was shot in the state’s Nadia district.

Photograph by Sanghamitra Sarkar/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.
Photograph by Sanghamitra Sarkar/2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

I took this picture on All Souls Day (November 2). I came across nuns offering candles and prayers at a friend’s grave in a cemetery. The silent respect towards the departed soul and the sorrow behind the silence compelled me to capture the moment.

A record-breaking 2,30,103 images from 186 countries – about a 33% increase from 2015 – were entered for this year’s competition organised by the World Photography Organisation. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on April 21. The shortlisted images will be exhibited at Somerset House in London from April 22 to May 8.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BULLETIN BY 

As corporate India changes from strait-jacketed to stylish, here’s how you can stay on-trend

For men and women, tips to make your office style game strong.

Office wear in India tends to be conservative. For men, the staple blue or white shirt and dark trouser arranged in a monotonous assembly line has been a permanent feature of the wardrobe (a tactic shrewdly administered to ensure minimum time is spent shopping). For women, androgynous work wear has been ever reliable and just as dull.

But camouflage is of no use in the corporate jungle anymore. The Indian office is no longer a place for dull, unthinking conformity, it is a place that expects vibrancy in thought and action. With a younger workforce and a greater mix of multinationals and jobs, there is a greater acceptance of edgier trends. Men are stepping away from their blues and greys and women are reshaping their workwear to be more interesting and distinctly feminine. As corporate India is proving its mettle on the global stage and to itself, it’s also growing confident in expressing individuality and style in the formal work environment. From clothing to office décor and fashion accessories to work tools, the workplace is becoming a place to display merit as well as taste.

Work clothes have shed their monochrome and moved into the light of technicolor. Bright colours have steadily become popular as Pantone’s annual colours of the year show us. For the corporate warrior who wants to be stylish here is our pick of trends worth considering.


Statement jacket. A statement jacket is one that doesn’t merely stand out in a crowd, but blows it open for you. How do you recognize one? You’ll know it when you see it. Most statement jackets have a non-traditional color. They could also have subtle prints on them if you want to go funky.

Technicolor socks. Multicolored socks (or hipster socks as they are known in some quarters) peek out every once in a while and brighten things up in the workplace. From polka dots and caricatures to geometric patterns, you can choose a pair to suit your mood or your workplace. A great way of telling people you don’t take fashion rules seriously (except these ones).

Plaid: Well played is well, plaid. Great for your 9-to-5 and even performs well after. Plaids, in shirts and jackets, are perhaps the most versatile tool in the corporate warrior’s armory, and straddle the fine line between formal and casual effectively. They’re also age-resistant meaning a young buck in his twenties can rock them as much as your seasoned forty-plus campaigner. Plaid, though Scottish in origin, has an Indian connection too, in the Madras checks that became popular all over the world after the World War.

Inside collars and cuffs. If you like to keep it classy but still a little edgy, nothing does it like contrast or printed insides of your collar and cuffs. After the work day, when it’s proper to roll up your sleeves, it even adds a touch of evening character.

Coloured Shoes. Alternate your staid blacks and browns with variants like burgundy, light buttery browns and ashen blues. Play with moccasins, tassel loafers and lace-ups. Go beyond leather and try suede and maybe even canvas. But do remember to take a quick course in matching.


Floral prints. Flowers are back (though one could argue that they never went out) and now they’re storming the bastion of your office. Even the traditional Indian paisley is making its way into formal wear. With the prevalence of digital printing, with a little hunting, you’ll even find beautiful florals in watercolour style.

Scarves. The first rule of wearing scarves is to rid yourself of the notion that they are to be worn only in winter. A colourful scarf paired with a monochrome top works wonders. A dozen online videos will teach you to wear it in a dozen ways. Plus, it always comes in handy when the thermostat isn’t to your liking. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wears scarves frequently, and is a great example of how you can use it strikingly.

Pants. Yes. Pants. Experiment with different styles and you’ll be surprised how they can really spruce up a boring look. Silhouette is everything when it comes to pants. Choose from high-waisted, wide legged, pleated to ankle length pants and what not! The best part is offices rarely prescribe silhouettes, so you can always get by with some style even if your workplace demands a uniform.

Houndstooth. The houndstooth pattern is at the sweet intersection between casual and formal and can be worn to make a splash in either occasion. Whether its jackets or a dress or a simple top, a houndstooth pattern is incredibly versatile.

Chic suits. A sharp suit is a must for a modern professional’s wardrobe. And please don’t even look in the direction of black. Pastel colours or even greys with patterns are great options for suits. Uncoordinated suits are also a great option depending on how edgy you want your office attire to be.


It isn’t enough to be well-dressed in the modern workplace. A good professional is known by his or her tools and how they carry it.

Designer laptop sleeves. Your high-precision instrument deserves a cover chosen with as much care. Black Neoprene is out. Pastel monochromes, geometric patterns and bold designs are very much in. Different materials like cotton, leather and even paper are a great option.

Natural fiber or leather bags (yes kill your black synthetic one now). Briefcases are ancient and black messenger bags are done. Go for a color variant or a subtle pattern. Pay attention to the different leather finishes. Adding a few nicely done metal trims can make all the difference. But convenience and ease are top priority. If you travel a lot, get a stylish strolley and thank yourself later.

Commute pack. The urban corporate needs to be productive at all times, or at the very least, needs to be accessible. A modern commute pack should include wireless headphones, a USB battery pack (power bank) and a wire/gadget organisation pack just so that you’re always prepared.

Machine. We’ve all showed off our latest smartphones. Your work machine is way more important. And like in smartphones, a good laptop is no longer only about performance. The specifications must be top-notch but it has also become an expression of your personality. It can up your style quotient and significantly impact your experience.

Source: Dell
Source: Dell

The Dell XPS 13 is one device that achieves excellence in both form and function. With a virtually borderless infinity display that maximises screen space, and measuring a super slim 9-15mm, the Dell XPS 13 is an unalloyed delight. A sixth generation Intel® Core™ processor and the latest Intel HD graphics gives cutting edge performance for 18 hours and 14 minutes per charge—the longest battery life in any 13-inch device. The Dell XPS 13 epitomises the ethos of the modern day corporate warrior—chic and smart. To make even more of a fashion statement, you now get a free TUMI laptop sleeve worth Rs. 9000 with your XPS notebook purchase (offer valid till 31st October). For more information about the Dell XPS 13, see here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.

× Close