A Transition from Age-Old to New Edge Photography


The Photography of 21st Century: A Transition from Age-Old to New Edge Photography

By Sudarshan Mondal

Think about the fact that when photography had been discovered in 1839 and slowly matured over the time, painters of late nineteenth century were forced to adopt a new style; and that resulted a substantial shift from current form of Realism to Impressionism, Post- Impressionism, Expressionism, and Cubism and so on. Now, how different it is when photography, as a medium, is so easily available and everyone has access to it, and we have millions of photographs, if not billions, are being produced every day. Imagine, if just a 1% of world population, which is 7 billion as we speak, take one shot with their camera, mobile device, or by any other means, we are producing 70 million pictures in a day! Sounds crazy, right? Does not it warrant that it is the time to come up with new ideas of visual storytelling, making a complete paradigm shift and approach for new standard?

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The Photography of 21st Century - An Essay by Sudarshan Mondal
The Photography of 21st Century – An Essay by Sudarshan Mondal

 

New York City – Street Affairs


I think about photographs as being full, or empty. You picture something in a frame and it’s got lots of accounting going on in it – stones and buildings and trees and air – but that’s not what fills up a frame. You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.” – this is what Joel Meyerowitz said. And I agree with this wholeheartedly.

As I am spending some quality time with photography and refining my thought process, this is the same realization coming from inside. I do feel that memorable photographs are having three dimensions. And I do prefer to say the third dimension as feelings, energy, discovery (what Joel pointed out in his own words) or whatever emotional aspect you can think of which touches heart and embraces soul and make a persistent impression in life. If the third dimension is missing, does not matter how much colorful it is or how beautifully it composed, it will never stand in viewers mind for a long time. I have put together my views here more elaborately.

Here are few street shots from New York City where I have tried to fill the frame with love and affections.

Woman Holding Dog and Man Kissed Her
Kiss, City Hall, New York City, 2014
A Girl Standing against a Wall and a couple passing by
Behind the Wall, Battery Park, New York City, 2012
A couple smoking sitting on a street sidewalk
Smoke, New York City, Near Wall Street, 2012
A couple Passionatly Kissing in the backdrop of Lower Manhattan
A Passionate Kiss in the backdrop of Lower Manhattan, New York City, 2013
A couple kissing at Pier A, Hoboken, Jersey City
Hoboken, Pier A, 2013
A Relaxing Time at Bryant Park, New York City
Bryant Park, New York City, 2014

 

A Black and White Couple , Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, 2013
Black and White, Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, 2013
World Trade Center from Hoboken
World Trade Center, 2013
World Trade Center Construction In Progress
Love and World Trade Center, 2011

Again, with Joel’s own words “We think of photography as pictures. And it is. But I think of photography as ideas. And do the pictures sustain your ideas or are they just good pictures? I want to have an experience in the world that is a deepening experience, that makes me feel alive and awake and conscious.”

Please share your thought process, realization and experience you have on good photographs. If we can not define it, pre-visualize it – how can we possibly create it? Thanks.

In the Woods


If I remember correctly, Alex Webb once said in an interview that it’s not always photographers who hunt photographs, but sometimes photograph looks for a right photographer too. I have experienced it recently while roaming around in the woods of Bushkill-Falls forest in Pennsylvania. A little boy out of nowhere came to me and asked me to take a picture of a net-veined leaf he was holding in his hand. And at that time, he was with no one and I wondered. Few minutes after, his mother and brother joined and the whole picture was clear to me.

Of course, I took few pictures of the leaf and then I asked him to hold the leaf over his face and got this below image. I cannot define what exactly this mean, but it’s interesting to me – something like it has questions and untold answers, a sort of surreal connection with the little boy, net-veined leaf over his face and woods behind creating an enigmatic atmosphere.

net-veined leaf
face covered by a leaf

 

Alleys of Old San Juan City in the Rain


It was raining heavily in Old San Juan City, Puerto Rico when I woke up at around 4.30 am in the morning. It was Saturday, 10th May, 2014. Initially, I was too upset and started thinking that my planned photo-shoot trip in Old San Juan was going to ruin completely. Then I realized that I can shoot in the rain from the car, if required I could drop my window glass and stop for a while to take few shots – at least that would be far better than doing nothing and sitting idle at hotel room. Thanks God, traffic was not too bad; I had got some time to get few shots. In some cases, I needed to make turns to the same alley again and again where I missed due to heavy traffic.  I roamed around in the alleys of Old San Juan City while driving the car slowly and looked around for photo opportunities until 8.30 am. It was still raining then. At the end, I had nothing to regret – I got few shots those are unique and little different from shooting perspective. For me, it was nice experience.

In Pursuit of Sunshine


While processing and putting all these images together, I was listening to John Denver’s famous song “Sunshine On My Shoulders”. And yes, it is so lovely I can repeat it again and again.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, sunshine almost always makes me high.
If I had a day that I could give you, I’d give to you the day just like today.
If I had a song that I could sing for you, I’d sing a song to make you feel this way.

If I had a tale that I could tell you, I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile.
If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine for all the while.

Sunshine on Bryant Park
Little Angel on Sunshine

 

Sunshine in Bryant Park
A Couple Enjoying in Sunshine

 

Sunshine and beautiful evening
A Couple Having Fun time in Brooklyn Bridge Park

 

Lovely Couple on Hudson Shore
Sunshine Kiss

 

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”

– Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder – Volume One: On Wisdom and Virtues

Golden Sky at Hoboken
A Matured Man and Golden Sky

 

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes (American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist, 1803-1882)

Golden Sunshine
Sunshine on Her Face is so Golden

 

Golden Sunshine
Sweet Sunshine on Her

 

Sunshine allover
Sunshine on her face

 

Sunshine and a Cute girl
Golden Sunshine on Her Face

 

Golden Sunshine
Golden Sunshine on her hair

 

“Kind hearts are the gardens, Kind thoughts are the roots, Kind words are the flowers, Kind deeds are the fruits, Take care of your garden And keep out the weeds, Fill it with sunshine Kind words and kind deeds”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quotes (the most popular American Poet in the 19th century, 1807-1882)

Little Angel and Briyant Part
Little Angel Playing in City Sunshine
Mom and daughter together sitting together in sunshine
Mom and daughter together sitting together in sunshine

 

The world goes up and the world goes down, the sunshine follows the rain; and yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown can never come over again.

– Charles Kingsley

Lights over a couple
Sunshine and a Couple
Sunshine and New York City
A Lady and City Hall in a Fine Evening
New York City Sunshine
Mother and Son enjoying city Sunshine

 

“May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.”

– Irish Blessings quotes

Let's roll over Sunshine
Sunshine on her head

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

– Walt Whitman

Sunshine on her head
Sunshine on her Mind
Sunshine across the City Buildings
Sunshine across the City Buildings

 

Please leave your comment and feedback in comments section, would appreciate a lot. Thank you.

 

The Tattoo Girl


সবচেয়ে সুন্দর আত্মার অধিকাংশ শক্তি আছে – this is Bengali, a sweet Indian language and I speak in this language at home. English version of these Bengali wordings should be like – “The Most Beautiful Soul has Maximum Power”. Now you can figure out of your own what it actually means.

I found this charming lady at Times Square, New York City and took few shots. When I saw Bengali typeface tattoo on her back, it looked very interesting to me and I immediately asked her if it was okay to take few shots of her and the tattoo of her back. Thanks to her (I know her name but it is better not to use it for sensitivity), she spontaneously agreed to pose for few shots in the busiest street of New York City. I do appreciate this and got few amazing shots.

Charming Girl
Tattoo Girl, Times Square, NYC
Tattoo Words
Bengali Tattoo on a beautiful girl’s back
Smile at her Face
Charming Face at Times Square
Interesting Tattoo Wordings
Diptych, Tattoo in Bengali

For quality view of these images, please click HERE

Sudden Pause of Reality


I have taken the following two images are from our recent visit to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The little kid featuring in the first image is my son and on the right hand side of this frame, there is very old cemetery known as Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis, built around 1860 (2nd image).

For the first time, my son realized that everybody eventually dies. And his mom & dad will die too and he will be on his own without his parents in this world as he saw the cemetery and made a connection with the scene and future. It was a sudden shock in his innocent mind and since then, he started asking questions about life and death. For him, this thought was heart breaking, by his looks I could easily make out that he was terribly upset and it seemed like his world had already collapsed.

Dramatic Sky, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Dramatic Sky, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Bride


In my last visit to my home country India, I was invited by the bride (in fact a close family friend) to take few of her wedding photographs in her bridal dress at the ceremony time. And of course I did and always love to do this for a friend.

These images came out okay – not as good as I expected, I had some issues I never thought I would face that much. Indian weddings are always chaotic and this one was not an exception… lots of people in a small place, hot atmosphere all these make me so nervous. The space between camera and bride was a concern and dedicated photographers always have the best spot by their own right.

Anyway, even after all these, I loved to do this and I will continue doing this and improvise whenever I will get a chance in future.

Indian Wedding Ceremony
Indian Wedding and Bride
Indian Wedding Ceremony
Indian Wedding and Bride
Indian Bride
Portrait of an Indian Bride
Bridal Dress
Portrait of an Indian Bride
Indian Marriage
Indian Wedding Ceremony
Indian Hindu Marriage
Hindu Wedding Ceremony