Title

× Close
Photography

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 

Five foods that could be included in your balanced breakfast today

It has become a cliché to say that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but like all clichés there is a ring of truth to it.

Starting the day with breakfast is a simple way to make a difference to the overall well-being of an individual. In spite of the several benefits of breakfast consumption, the phenomenon of skipping breakfast is widely prevalent, especially in an urban set-up where mornings are really rushed.

The ‘India Breakfast Habits Study’ has revealed that one in four urban Indians claim to skip breakfast and about 72% skimp by having a nutritionally inadequate breakfast. Isn’t it alarming? Over the years, numerous studies have demonstrated that eating breakfast has several health benefits and can impact future health of an individual. But given today’s fast-paced life, Indians are increasingly undermining the importance of a well-balanced breakfast.

So what makes for a balanced breakfast? A balanced breakfast should consist of foods from at least three essential food groups, e.g one serve of whole grains, one serve of dairy (milk or curd) or lean proteins and one serve of fruit or vegetables. It should provide essential nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals besides energy.

Here are some nutrient-rich foods you could incorporate as part of your balanced breakfast:

1. Oats. Oats are cereal grains that are high in protein and are a great source of fibre, especially soluble fibre. Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre which has cholesterol lowering effects and therefore considered heart healthy. It also provides some minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc.

2. Barley. Barley is one of the first cultivated grains in the world, dating back nearly 13,000 years. It has the distinction of having the highest amount of dietary fibre among the cereals. Barley is chewy with a distinct nutty flavor, and is a good source of B-complex vitamins like vitamin B1, B3, B6 and biotin as well as minerals like phosphorus and manganese. Barley is also low in fat, and scientific research has shown that consumption of barley can help in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

3. Wheat. Like barley, wheat too is among the world’s oldest cultivated grains, and a source of vegetable protein. Its easy availability makes it a vital ingredient in many dishes. Whole wheat is a good source of protein and is stocked with vitamin B1, B3 and B6 making it a healthy addition to one’s diet.

4. Dried fruits. Dried fruit is fruit that has had almost all of the water content removed through drying methods. The fruit shrinks during this process, leaving a small, energy-dense dried fruit. Dried fruits are a good source of micronutrients and antioxidants (phenols) in general. Raisins, for example, contain iron and magnesium that are essential for normal functioning of the body.

5. Nuts. Nuts provide healthy fats, protein and fibre. They also provide vitamins and minerals and are a versatile food that can be incorporated in various recipes. Different nuts are rich in different nutrients. Almonds, for example, provide fibre, calcium and vitamin E.

Kellogg’s Muesli with nutritious grains including wheat, barley and oats and delicious inclusions such as almonds and dried fruits (grains and inclusions differ for different variants) along with milk or curd can be a tasty, nourishing breakfast and a great way to start your day. To explore delicious variants, click here.

This article was produced on behalf of Kellogg’s Muesli by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

× Close
PrevNext