An Interview With a Street Photographer – Sammya Brata Mullick
August 19 is celebrated as World Photography Day and so to celebrate, extraordinary and versatile world and culture of photography, we shall celebrate the whole month of August with articles dedicated to Photographers. WeekendTrivia exclusive interviews with, as well as a photography contest, shall be running on as well as all other social media platforms. So dive into the fest!
Extraordinaire can be, perhaps used best to talk about this phenomenal street photographer
Follow him on
Instagram – Deckle_Edge
Website – http://www.deckleedge.info/
Instagram Community Page – Calcutta Instagrammers
P. S. – Copyright of all the captures in the article lies with ©Sammya Brata Mullick
Q1: Would you kindly introduce yourself to our reader? Along with the genre of your photography and on which project are you working currently? What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: Hello everyone, this is Sammya Brata Mullick, a management consultant, working with one of the Big 4s of Consulting with a keen interest for street photography. I guess my love for photography got a kick-start during my stay at Meghalaya back in 2011. I was working with the Department of Commercial Taxes, Government of Meghalaya when I got a chance to explore this picturesque state; I didn’t have a camera back then, but what I saw with my naked eyes was nothing less than amazing. On my very first fly-back to Calcutta, I bought a Sony Cyber-shot and started exploring the beautiful landscapes of Meghalaya. I have been working on multiple photo-stories till then, while my on-going work is directed towards show-casing the struggles of the MSME Clusters in Bengal through photographs.
While I don’t believe in quantifying achievements when it comes to photograph, I guess winning the Canon Photo-Marathon India 2019 and representing India at the finale of Canon Asia Marathon 2019 in Japan would certainly feature in those key highlights of my eventful journey so far.
Q2: What attracts you to your genre? Whose work has influenced you most?
A: The essence of stitching unique stories through frames without using words – that is indeed a challenging thought to begin with and such challenges bring out the best in you.
I have been following the works of Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Vivian Maier, Vohra brothers, Raghu Rai Sir very closely and I strong believe that my keen interest towards photography has been derived from these legends.
Q3: Is it important to have any professional training to be a photographer? Did you have any at the time you set off your journey?
A: I don’t think anyone in the world can train you when it comes to “developing your own point of view”. Professional training can perhaps help you grow as a technically sound photographer, but its important think beyond that at some point in time. I reckon checking out a lot of photographs on a regular basis helps immensely in developing your true sense of photography while the essence of self-improvement is pivotal.
Q4: When you go in one of your photo-shoots which one is your favorite lens and why do you prefer it?
A: Of late, I have been shooting a lot on phone and GoPro primarily because they are compact and convenient to handle on the streets. It helps in activating my stealth-mode on the street since ideally I don’t prefer my subjects to be conscious while I’m capturing a decisive moment. I often use the front camera of my phone just to pretend that I’m taking a selfie, since front cameras these days are extremely powerful, this tactic helps me immensely in capturing those “stolen moments”.
Q5: How do you as a photographer make sure that the thing, person or landscape you want to shoot looks the way you want it to?
A: Wait, wait, wait and wait. As a street photographer, we generally have no control over the behavioral pattern of a subject; it is all about luck and perseverance. A street photographer’s perspective of shooting landscapes is also quite different I believe; we often tend to wait for the right kind of light.
Q6: Can you explain to the budding photographer what makes the good picture stand out from the average?
A: Rating of photographs is purely subjective, what is excellent to you might be average to another person. I guess one stop bothering about impressing his or her audience, it’s all about creating content for your own satisfaction.
Q7: Tell us about your famous Instagram group “Ig_Calcutta” how to be a part of it and its events?
A: “Calcutta Instagrammers” that has conducted hugely successful Instagram-walks, knowledge sharing sessions and large scale exhibitions & events in the city thereby getting featured in leading print media channels like The Telegraph / The Statesman/ Times of India and popular national and international magazines over the last 4 years. Calcutta Instagrammers, that was formed 4 years back, now boasts over 90,000 active members on both Instagram and Facebook combined. It’s a forum for all, once you hit the “follow” button on Instagram, you automatically become a part of the community. Almost all of our initiatives are “Open to all”, you would just need to follow our regular updates and join us for the events.
Q8: A “Good Camera can make a Picture perfect” do you believe this myth?
A: Human eye is the best possible lens, everything else is a myth ☺
Q9: What is that you have adhered and learned through photography over the years?
A: Photography IS the universal language, it has helped me communicate with people from different parts of the Globe without any restriction what-so-ever.
Photography has also helped me grow as an individual since my inter-personal communication skills have been deeply impacted as a result. Often in course of documenting photo-stories, you need to form a strong bonding with your subjects, hence being humble and open-minded helps immensely.
Q10: What do you think of B&W versus Colour with street photography?
A: Entirely your personal choice to be honest; I personally love colors and textures when it comes to Street Photography in India but then when I shot in Japan, I mostly enjoyed shooting in monochrome. There is no comparison between the two though.
Q11: Which post processing software you use for your pictures?
A: I mostly use Adobe Lightroom CC and Snapseed for processing images on phone.
Q12: Many of the photographers ask us where they find out about the salon news or exhibition news. Can you please give them some idea?
A: I guess both Facebook and Instagram have evolved as extremely strong platforms for information dissemination; one can be a part of multiple Facebook groups where information on competition or exhibitions are shared on a regular basis.
Q13: Name the last photography book/journal that you read.
A: The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier Bresson
Q14: Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with which it is possible to take pictures. What do you think is the difference between a professional photographer and any other amateur photographer?
A: I reckon, the major difference between the two would be in terms of monetization of work. With time, the definition of professional photography has also evolved – we have been number of influential photographers monetizing their work on Instagram through brand endorsements. With the caveat that quality of work is of prime importance, marketing yourself is also critical in terms of growth as a professional photographer.
Q15: Any quick message for our blog? Wish you a very happy world photography day! Thanks for your time!
A: Wishing your team a very Happy World Photography Day. Keep up with the good work that you guys are doing already. Let’s all grow together.
Thank you Sammy Sir, for your valuable guidelines and sharing