Best 12 of the Year: 2016

Quality over quantity. That’s what 2016 has been about. Getting back to the basics as a photographer bought back the fun in shooting. Experimenting with new styles, new genres made it photography more interesting again.

Instead of taking up every project that came my way, I chose the ones that seemed interesting – work-wise, people-wise or challenge-wise. There were more maternity shoots this year, and interior shoots.

Wedding Photography, as much fun as it was, got a little routine. It seems everyone has joined the ‘candid photography’ bandwagon. And the shots, no matter how great they seemed when seen individually, began to feel monotonous when seen together. And that’s a dangerous point for a photographer. Looking back, I think it was a wise decision to cut down on the number of weddings I shot in a month – which meant when those great shoots came along, I was not booked months ahead to take it up!

Quaint, little venues; fun couples who were looking for ‘story-telling of the day’ instead of mere pretty photographs… Of course, I cannot share those images in my “Best 12 of the Year” here due to privacy agreements but the creative satisfactions was wow.

This year was also when my Black & White obsession started. There is something so absolutely wonderful and stark about B&W formats! It would’ve been great on analog but finding B&W film, and then a developer to bring those to life is a nightmare (I’m still recovering from my last foray into analog where GK Vale gave my photos with splotches of processing fluids on them!)

So moving to the “Best 12 of 2017”:

I thought of explaning each of my shots… but a lot of them speak for themselves. And a lot of them are left up to interpretation. So I’m just going with some interesting stories here

Photo 1: Maternity Shoot:

This was one tense shoot! We had to push the shoot once because of weather conditions. And she was due almost on due date. We decided to hold the shoot in Cubbon Park, Bengaluru. The park has a lovely, varied landscape of old trees, rocks, bamboos and plain grass. Of course, we had picked a plain white gown for the shoot before the unexpected rain and Cubbon Park was filled with slippery mud and grass.

The cloud-filtered light was beautiful to shoot, though I was constantly wary about tiring her out so close to the delivery date. We had planned an indoor shoot later for the day for silhouette shoots.

Silhouettes are common in maternity photographs, mostly with a lot of studio lighting etc.

But there was a beautiful flat rock whose lines were so perfect for her. Just as she lie down, the sun burst out from under the cloud. The white dress, bright sunlight and the tree foliage created the perfect, natural silhouette!

 

Photo 3 & 4: Lepakshi Temple

I like old, historic buildings. They can be interesting, even if architecture photography isn’t that big a hit with me. However, we decided to explore Lepakshi Temple as a potential location for a shoot. Supposed to be a 15th century temple, it is mostly in ruins today. It is known for its ‘floating pillar’ and is one of the few temples where the shrine is still worshiped.

There are very few intact structures, and many of the carvings were faded. However, the arches still stand strong. Just as I focused, a couple began walking through it… ‘enuf said!

Photo 5: Kids

Working with kids is always fun. Tons of energy. Tons of expected moments. This is one my favorite photographs of the year. Shot on my phone, the amount of detail in that image is simply incredible. Her happiness, the atmosphere and the intricate textures!

Photo 6 & 10:

My first foray into the world of wildlife photography. I never thought I actually had the patience to delve into this field. I like action. I like streets. But when I got my hands on the SIGMA 150-600mm, and was out on a scouting trip near a wildlife sanctuary, figured might as well get some shots.

The Black Buck is a notoriously shy creature. But in this little grassland, they are so easy to find! Of course, once you find them, you need to settle down and wait till they are comfortable with you. But it isn’t really a hardship to watch these beautiful creatures!

 

Photo 9:

It is always a joy to shoot your friend’s wedding. All the more special in this case since both the bridge and the groom are friends. She swore she wouldn’t cry. And actually, she did try hard not to cry. Of the series of shots I have of her crying, this is my favorite… his concentration & stoic-ness, her emotions and the family around, with the sprinkling of blessed rice…

Photo 12:

This was yet another “I’m just gonna shoot for fun” days. I don’t know what it is but I just find this image captivating. The old, tall walls of a fort and the solo travel figuring her way.

Here’s to an awesome 2017!

If you do have a moment, check out my B&W project on Instagram: @thealemari

 

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