An Interview With a Travel Photographer – Lopamudra Talukdar
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!
A travel enthusiast, interested in discovering and documenting the lost cultures of the world, Lopamudra Talukdar is a wonderful Travel and Street Photographer. She is also an educator along with being a photo and travel enthusiast. Read on to know more about her.
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P. S. – Copyright of all the captures in the article lies with ©Lopamudra Talukdar
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: Hi, I am Lopamudra Talukdar from Kolkata. I am a travel, street and documentary photographer as well as an educator. I work on several projects at a time and add to the existing body of work trying to improve and fine tune. My greatest achievement is yet to come.
Q2: What attracts you to your genre? Whose work has influenced you most?
A: The travel bug hit me much before photography. When I took up photography, taking up travel photography was the most obvious thing. I have always been interested in vanishing cultures of the world, the life of the tribals and these were the subjects which made me take up Documentary photography. As far as street photography is concerned I am fascinated by the challenge of capturing the unique moment, the split second when all the elements align themselves presenting an image which cannot be repeated. I have been hugely influenced by the works of Raghuvir Singh, Raghu Rai, Vineet Vohra – all masters of their generation.
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 am a self-trained photographer but I have nothing against professional training in photography as long as they come from mentors with sound knowledge. But at the end of the day, photography is a lot about giving shape to your personal thoughts and ideas, one needs to have that urge. Teachers and mentors can only fine tune that and direct you in the right direction.
Q4: When you go in one of your photo-shoot which one is your favorite lens and why do you prefer it?
A: In documentation work, I need to work with different lenses to have all bases covered. But if there is one lens that I use a lot, be it for travel or documentation, it is the f/2.8 24-70 mm. It is a fast lens, works well in low lit situations and gives me the focal length with enough flexibility.
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: In photography, light is one of the most important elements, if not the most important one. So for the perfect travel or landscape shot, you often need to plan in advance, have some prior knowledge about the direction of light, its strength. For this the time of the day is important. Some places are better lit in the morning light while some bask in the evening light. For portrait too, light is once again important, whether I want to have direct light, side light or back light depending on my requirement and then placing the subject accordingly. The placement of the subject is also important, to avoid overlap or elements that attract undue attention. Of course, these are possible only if you are taking a posed portrait and not a candid one.
Q6: Can you explain to the budding photographer what makes the good picture stand out from the average?
A: There’s no one definition of a good photograph. As an art form, photography is highly perspective and the perception differs from one person to another. I can only mention a few elements which make a good photograph stand out in a crowd. It is always good to have one or more of the following elements in your photograph: emotion, humour, action, information and a decisive moment.
Q7: From all the places that you have travelled, which one is your favorite and why?
A: I have visited many countries around the world and for me it is not the land but the people who make a country. In that respect Turkey is one of my favourite countries, for its warm hearted people as well as the variety that the country offers in terms of landscape, culture and history.
Q8: A “Good Camera can make a Picture perfect” do you believe this myth?
A: I am not a gadget freak and do not have the urge to buy the latest gear out in the market. I firmly believe in the saying that the best camera is the one that you have. These days, even the basic cameras are capable of handling complex situations and unless you are a professional you probably won’t be needing the high end cameras. Make best use of what you have, develop your skills and only when you feel that the lack of a next level camera is holding you back, decide to upgrade.
Q9: People usually think without money and exposure they can never be a “travel photographer” what do you think? Does travel means traveling in abroad only or anyone can start by exploring their own city?
A: Travel has everything to do with the inner urge and the will and it is not about money. I have met some wonderful people who have roamed the world on a shoestring budget. There are lots of opportunities these days to earn while you travel and one can make use of those avenues. And one doesn’t need to start roaming the world immediately, start in your neighbourhood, open your eyes, look around and you will surely find some hidden gems.
Q10: In a picture is “Digital manipulation” really require to make it perfect?
A: Digital manipulation is matter of much controversy these days but I have a very clear stand in this respect. It all depends on what kind of photography one is pursuing and what is the purpose. If the photograph is for advertisement purpose, digital manipulation’s like cloning, removing unwanted elements, changing colour schemes etc are perfectly acceptable and need of the day. But in most other genres like photo journalism, travel, documentation I strongly discourage digital manipulation. Photographs can of course be post processed without altering the reality.
Q11: Which post processing software you use for your pictures?
A: I have been using Adobe Photoshop for my post processing requirement.
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: The internet is the best guide in this respect and the FIAP, PSA and FIP websites and newsletters provide ample information regarding forthcoming salons around the world.
Q13: Name the last photography book/journal that you read.
A: Paris – Mon Amour by Jean-Claude Gautrand.
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: Some of the amateur photographers these days are no pushovers. They indulge in photography with a lot of passion and love and often have professional grade equipment. So one can’t really segregate between professional and amateurs in this way. Each one has a job to do and does that to the best of his or her abilities.
Q15: Any quick message for our blog? Wish you a very happy world photography day! Thanks for your time!
A: It was a pleasure giving this interview. I wish you and all the readers a very happy world photography day. Keep clicking and keep creating wonderful memories.
Thank you Lopamudra Maam, for your valuable guidelines and sharing your thoughts with us. We look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work..!