I am British, born in Manchester/ England in 1961. I work as a professional photographer, specialising in Fashion and Beauty. My first trip to India was in 1986, when I stayed for six months whilst on a trip through south east asia. I was at the time totally fascinated with this country and it's people, and still am now, but for one reason or another it took over twenty years before I managed to return, but this time I came back with my camera. All the pictures on this website were taken with a 6 x 17 inch "Art Panorama Camera 170" made by the Japanese company Tomiyama. It's a very simple and robust camera, a little bulky and reasonably heavy, weighing around 2.5 kg. I use it only with a tripod, although I think with good available light, a bit of practice and steady hands you could definitely shoot without one. At the risk of stating the obvious it only uses film, my preference is the Kodak portra 400vc. If you were to see me on the street using the camera I'm sure it would seem quite old fashioned, especially now in our increasingly faster digital times. The whole process is quite slow, each portrait probably taking around 3 minutes from start to finish. ( I get four frames per film )
To focus, I have to use a loupe and a piece of ground glass, to help this process I throw a piece of dark cloth over my head to cut out the (usually harsh) Indian sunlight. Visually it looks more like something associated with the Victorian times rather than the 21st century. I am basically almost only using available light, although occasionally I will also use reflectors or mirrors.
Most if not all of the people I've portrayed here on this website I have never met before. It usually all happens very spontaneously. Obviously, using a panorama camera, I'm not just solely interested in my subject , from a mathematical point of view the people in my pictures are taking up less than half of my frame! So their environment and immediate surroundings obviously also play a very important role in my pictures. It,s very often not just the person that will attract me, but the whole situation, light, color and obviously location. To give a good example, I have on occasion been drawn to a location before I've even found someone to photograph! This happened to me in Varanasi quite often. I would find myself setting up my camera where I would like to shoot, this alone in india usually attracts a crowd of onlookers (especially with a large camera like mine) and whilst talking and explaining what I was doing I would spy through my spectators hoping to find the right person for the surroundings I'd already chosen. More than often I was lucky, sometimes not, or sometimes the person I asked was perhaps too shy or just didn't wished to be photographed. India is… breathtaking, exhausting, frustrating, enchanted, spectacular… I could go on… and on… and on… these few words and certainly not my pictures can come at all close to any real sort of a visual insight into a country so complex… but, saying that, here is my own personal panorama portrait of India.