Erics Note: Rohit Vohra is a street photographer based in New Delhi, India. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, his photographs are often about contact with humans and basic living elements. He is also the Editor in Chief of Art Photo Feature.
Rohit: Street photography is one of the purest forms of photography. Love the challenge it presents, of capturing the unknown. You are out on the road with absolutely no idea of what you are going to come back with. I enjoy street photography because of this uncertainty… the joy of capturing that perfect moment… perfect in terms of light, texture, and elements all perfectly in place. Such a flawless alignment of elements, coming together randomly, to create a perfect moment which is visible for the smallest span of time before it vanishes forever… that is what I enjoy. When I am on the street I like to show my reading or perception of reality.
I am a BFA from College of Art, New Delhi and I specialized in Applied arts. I did learn photography at the time, but ended up into printing and publishing in 1997.
It was not until 2003 that I picked up the camera again and somehow street photography seemed like a perfect connect. Fell in love with the genre instantly so I read a lot of books, watched a lot of videos and tried to learn as much as possible. Things have changed a lot over the last 10 years, the only way I kept going was through reading and attending workshops.
Street Photography soon became a passion, I would try and capture people just being themselves and not acting. Beautiful, subtle stories happen around us every day and street photography helps me understand our society and our place in it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration stems from the street itself, the people.
Also, one photographer that really inspires me is Josef Koudelka. I would say he is a master of black and white photography. A lot of lessons can be learnt just by viewing his works.
In one of his interviews he says, “I always photographed with the idea that no one would be interested in my photos, that no one would pay me, that if I did something I only did it for myself”. That is the key for me and honestly I feel the same.
What do you look for when you are on the streets?
I usually start early in the day, this is the time I get for myself and being on the street is like therapy. You see a lot of interesting things unfolding, meet a lot of interesting people. I will like to borrow a quote from Josef Kodelka, “I don’t pretend to be an intellectual or a philosopher. I just look”. That’s what I do when I am on the street. I am just looking.
What do you love about black and white, and can you tell us more about your transition to working in color?
Initially I only shot in black and white and over the years got comfortable with the style. I would say black and white has a more classic look to it, have always found color to be a distraction. Shooting for over 10 years, I have realized I express myself better in black and white. I have started shooting in color recently, it’s more of a personal challenge and hopefully you will see some color works soon.
What advice to you have to other street photographers?
My advice would be, feel at home when you are out in the streets. Educate your eye to see things before they happen. Anticipation goes a long way in Street photography. Learn from your mistakes. Be sensitive to people on the street and lastly the essence of street photography is in the photographer’s personality and not in his camera.
Can you tell us more about Art Photo Feature?
In 2011 formed APF along with my brother, Vineet Vohra, who is also a street photographer. APF is born from an education imperative, it’s an evolving magazine where we recognise fresh talent. The intent is to provide a platform for emerging photographers, artists & designers to showcase their works, works that are not necessarily commercial, to create opportunities and open new doors. The subjects explored are broad, in terms of concepts, styles and techniques. We want to explore the limits and possibilities.
The Magazine was launched on the 1st of Jan 2013 and it has been a fun and exciting ride.
Black & White Work