Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013.

Street Photography Workshop in Kolkata (Calcutta)

A little about me.

My name is Mark Carey and I am a professional photographer based in London.  I shoot documentary weddings in the UK and I shoot travel and street photograph abroad.  I have photographed all over Europe and South East Asia but the last couple of years I have been drawn strongly to India in particular. I am proud to a member of the  Indian street photography collective ‘Thats life’ and you can see an interview about shooting in India and my attitude to street photography in general, here: Interview with Eric Kim.  Please also feel free to flick through my travel and wedding galleries  on this site to get an idea of my shooting style.  You can also find me on Facebook for my latest work.

About The Hope Foundation.  A few words taken from The Hope Foundation website:

Over 250,000 children are forced to exist on the streets of Kolkata (Calcutta). Around five million people live in horrific conditions in slums. They do not have clean water; children are often hungry and diahorrea and skin diseases are common.
To survive, children scavenge in rubbish dumps to find scraps to sell or beg on the streets. Most are not in school and have poor health. Many children are abandoned and are at high risk of abuse, exploitation and child trafficking.
We work with committed people and organisations to change these children’s lives. We fund and support projects in health, nutrition, child protection and education. We also advocate for better services and seek ways to support access to Government programmes.
HOPE believes in sustainable development. We partner with 14 local Indian NGOs and currently fund over 60 projects for street and slum children and their families in: education, healthcare, child protection, nutrition, drug rehabilitation and vocational training.
As well as these front line projects, HOPE has created innovative programmes to highlight and tackle complex cultural issues, such as child labour and child trafficking.
For more information please see The Hope Foundation’s website: http://www.hopefoundation.ie

So, what is Street photography?  

Street photography for me is about shooting engaging images, usually candid on the streets and in other public places.  In most instances we shall be trying to document street life where people are not posing for the camera and thinking about our backgrounds and environments to use as strong compositional elements. Some examples can be seen below.

About the workshop.

I shall be running this workshop in aid of The Hope Foundation from the 18th to the 24th February 2013. The cost of attending the workshop will be £500 per person and this fee will go in its entirety to The Hope Foundation to help with the good work they carry out in Kolkata, changing the lives of children and adolescents.  The fee is for the cost of the workshop only and does not include any other costs. Accommodation, food, travel expenses are not included and should be paid directly to the provider of that service.  I shall not be receiving any funds for myself or to pass on to any third party for any service. Participants must make sure they make proper arrangements for travel and health insurance and have have the appropriate inoculations for travelling in this area of the world.

This will be a 7 day workshop.  Each day after a swift breakfast we will be getting out and about on the streets by approximately 7.30 am to make the best of the morning light. (We could get out earlier except the hotel only serves breakfast from 7.00am.)  A morning’s shoot will follow and we will sometimes be accompanied by photographers who have local knowledge of the area and the local language, Bengali.  These photographers may also be attending the critique and ‘classroom’ elements of the workshop. They will not be required to pay a fee since salaries in India are much smaller than ours and since they will be helping us get around I think this represents a fair exchange.

The morning shoots will be followed by lunch and then we shall have an afternoon critique session using an area provided to us by the hotel. In this critique and general discussion time we shall examine techniques of composition, timing and exposure whilst reviewing images  on our laptops.  Our group will be relatively small  - I am aiming for 8 of us in total. This should provide plenty of one to one time with attendees and also make getting around in taxis ( which are already cheap)  more economical since a taxi will seat 4 passengers.

After the afternoon critique session we  will have a a short break and then a late afternoon shoot.  Our local guides will be invaluable to get us to the places that regular tourists would perhaps find difficult to navigate. We will ‘buddy-up’ into small groups, never too far away from each other to lose one another but far away enough to give us all breathing space and to be able  to shoot without  acting like a herd of tourists/photographers.

The evenings will be a time to relax, download our memory cards and do as we wish.

I will help photographers with technical issues with their cameras ( if they need it) and show them how to get the best out of their SLR’s  particularly if they have been shooting in Auto or priority modes eg AV. I believe shooting manual imay be  scary but a must if you are going to get the exact exposure you want — not the one exposure the camera guesses that you want. Perhaps learning to shoot fully manual exposure will be a little slow at first but it is my belief that with disclipline one quickly becomes quicker and the need for speed in street photography is usually unnecessary. Contrary to popular belief good street photography is not necessarily about snatching that moment. I will demonstrate the importance of being quiet, being sensitive to your surroundings, being patient and thinking ahead.

Importantly, I will only be acting as a guide for your photography — we must each find our own style that is within us. I will not be prescriptive about how you shoot but more suggest from time to time that you may wish to try something you haven’t considered. It is not my intention to help people shoot like me but try and find the best version  of their own photographic self that they can. This will come  by sharpening up some  of your shooting techniques and encouraging you to look at things in a different way.  I am sure that by the end of the  day we will have all have learned something new from each other since that is usually the way of these things — I shall just be the person to facilitate this.

 

During the course we shall be looking that the following sorts of topics:

  • How to shoot engaging images whilst remaining unobtrusive.
  • Shooting in low light.
  • Composition and framing.
  • Different exposures for different kinds of lighting conditions.
  • Workflow — getting the best out of your images. Dealing with raw files.
  • Focusing tips and tricks, exposure and general camera tuition.

 

Attendees should have with them the following:

  • A digital SLR and manual for that camera if they are unfamiliar with the settings.
  • A lens or lenses, preferably wide angle. 24-50mm is encouraged. I rarely shoot above 50mm and discourage longer lenses than this for street photography.
  • A laptop and software — I use Adobe Lightroom and this software will be the basis of dealing with all our processing.
  • A memory card reader.

 

Where shall we stay? 

My proposal is that we stay at the Kennilworth Hotel. This is a more expensive hotel than most in Koltata but the rooms are immaculate, as is the hotel. (It should be borne in mind that hotel accommodation in Indian cities is often expensive.)   When I was looking for rooms to stay in Kolkata with my friend recently we found hotel reviews that complained of theft, dirty rooms and poor service for rates that were not that much lower than this hotel.  As photographers I believe that  the safety of our photographic and computer equipment is extrememly  important and so I would rather we didnt take any chances in order to save a moderate amount of money.  My friend and I  stayed here sharing a twin room and we were very impressed with the place, finding it to be a welcome sanctuary after  day on the streets. The food was also healthy and delicious.

This year HOPE  have negotiated some great rates at the Kennilworth which include b&b, evening meal and taxes. Obviously single rooms are expensive but sharing a room makes this a more bearable expense, so if you are not comfortable with sharing a twin room please let me know.  It will probably only work if the numbers add up so those who are happy to share can find someone to share with. Personally I am happy to share. Please email me for details of the room rates.

 

Visting HOPE Centres.

During the course of the 7 days we will make a couple of visits to the HOPE Foundation Centres so attendees of the workshop can see where there money is going.

If we are shooting anyone involved in any HOPE  projects we must adhere to the code of images & messages reference Dochas, www.dochas.ie/code

 

Who should you be?

This workshop is open to all. The only criteria it that you love photography and are prepared to be courteous to the people we are shooting in our host nation, India. We will be shooting sensitively and not making a big hullabaloo where ever we go, not acting like a herd of tourists snapping and moving on. We won’t be marching down the streets and descending upon some ‘interesting character’  sticking our cameras in his or her  face.  I hope we  shall be treading softly in our environment and this is how we will get the best images.

In terms of camera expertise your passion for photography will be more important than your technical knowledge.  I will endeavour to help people with their technical problems if they need it but if you are a complete beginner please be aware that I will be having to divide my time fairly between participants. Ideally you will have some form of SLR and a laptop. If you dont have Adobe Lightroom on your laptop that is not absolutely necessary but it will be very helpful.

 

 

 

Anyone interested in joining this workshop should  please send me an email to: markcareyphotography@yahoo.co.uk.

I shall send you back an information sheet to fill out. Travel arrangements, appropriate inoculations, accomodation at the Kenilworth and visas will be the responsibility of the participants. I will try and help in whatever way I can but please be aware that Calcutta is not my home town. I have shot in India many times and will assist as much as I can, but people need to be comfortable getting around in India. My personal responsibility extends only as far as going out with the participants each day and helping them improve their photography. Once the hotel is booked then our daily arrangements shouldn’t be too complicated though. India is an immensely friendly place and Im sure we will have plenty of people to assist us should we need it. I personally know many people in Calcutta who can help us if we need them and have never worried for my safety.

Many thanks for reading and feel free to email me  any questions.

 

A few images now from my recent trip to Kolkata: 

We will be talking a lot about shapes and framing.

Kolkata is one of the last places in the world where rickshaws are still pulled by hand.

The streets of North Kolkata are as interesting in the evening as they are in the day time.

Looking for the light, often once you have found it all you have to do is compose and wait.

 

The lanes of North Kolkata are street photographers dream. Shooting fully manual will allow you to shoot ‘low key’ images like this one.

 

Looking for clean frames can be a challenge in Calcutta.

Even the taxi rides provide photographic opportunities.

The Flower Market at Howra Bridge is one of those sites that just makes you go ‘Wow’!

Howra Bridge Ghat

Howra Bridge Ghat — your comfort zones may be stretched a little!

 

 

 

 

 

The Hope Foundation projects?

The images below are some pictures that I have taken whilst visiting some of the HOPE centres in Kolkata. They show the school in the red light area where children of the working women are educated by HOPE.  There are also images of HOPE’s centre near the main train station to make sure children who spend their lives living by the tracks, often addicted to glue, can at least come somwhere fo some secutity and a square meal.  Other images show HOPE’s Life Skills Centre. In 2008, the organisation set up a ‘Life Skill Training Institute’ in order to improve the economic conditions faced by the adolescents and adults in Kolkata, through education and vocational training.

Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013. Street Photography Workshop in Aid of the Hope Foundation, Kolkata. February 18th, 2013.

8 Comments

  1. Nilot Paul - This is very good.Very good work..keep it up...

  2. Kelly - Hey Mark, this is EXACTLY the kind of thing I would love to take part in. Your images ignite an old familiar fizz in my belly that has governed most of my adult life and inspire me to fly away. I am going to give it some serious thought, the only thing holding me back initially is the thought of being away from my babies for a whole week. At the same time I feel it could also be precisely what I need. Congratulations to you on everything about it. Kelly

  3. Devika Arora - Hi Mark, im based in Calcutta and would love to attend your workshop. Please do call me when you land here! Would love to sit and talk all things photography. I also promote the arts at bi monthly flea market events called Char So Bees here in Calcutta - whether it be music, dance, film, photography or anything... we try to give everyone a platform. Check out my facebook pages: www.facebook.com/wingflow (thats my photography) www.facebook.com/420rooftop (thats the start up company) #9830912234

  4. bernard Ringrose - Hi Mark. Your intro/images are most impressive and highlight the need for others to get involved. I can see where your coming from, whereby "every picture tells a story" I have over the years been involved in promoting India via numerous regional tourism development corps. on the photographic side. I have a vast archive of images on my website:www.imagesofindia.info and would be willing to allow you to use any of them should you so wish to promote the Hope Foundation. I am now going to go on the main website to find out how a photographer (living on a free-lance photographers salary) can get more involved.

  5. grace eiffe - beautiful beautiful work mark . fantastic

  6. Peter Bur - What a great idea! I really hope it goes well for you, and a really worthwhile cause too!

  7. sudip saha - nice work mark, best of luck.

  8. Saumalya Ghosh - Love your work very much Mark, especially the Black & White ones. You have captured the essence of Kolkata very well.

Leave a Comment