All posts by shravanguptaphotographer

Shravan Gupta: The Bike Riders

The Bikeriders is an iconic work of modern photojournalism that gives a raw and lively insight into the biker culture of the 1960’s, captured between 1963 and 1967 when the young Danny Lyon immersed himself completely into the lives and culture of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. ATLAS Gallery, London, will be exhibiting 40 modern prints from The Bikeriders series from 19 June – 16 August 2014, marking the first time these prints have been shown in the UK.

Lyon’s approach was to document his subjects intimately from the inside, rather than simply observing as an outsider. He spent four enthralling years with the Club’s members on long distance rides, at meets, races and informal gatherings across the United States, in locations including Milwaukee, Long Island New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit.

By befriending his subjects, Lyon photographed and recorded interviews along the way, creating an extensive archive of black and white photographs that reveal the diverse characters and strong narratives of this hugely-stereotyped sub-culture. The body of work was instrumental in demystifying preconceptions surrounding biker culture and it remains a seminal work on the non- commercial face of 1960s America.

Lyon, born in New York in 1942, first started photographing in the early 1960’s as a staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the University of Chicago. His earliest photographs were published in a book on the Southern Civil Rights Movement, and during his career he has studied and photographed death-row inmates, street kids and the transformation of the urban make-up of lower Manhattan. A fascination with humanitarian issues and the grittier communities on the edge of society has always formed the basis of his work, and today he is regarded as one of the most important documentary photographers of the last 50 years. Contemporary photographers including Nan Goldin and Larry Clark count Lyon as a huge influence in their work.

The Bikeriders was first published in 1968, and the exhibition at ATLAS Gallery ties in with the re- issue of a journal-size book published by Aperture.


Shravan Gupta: New updates on photography

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of color photographs by Mexican-born, British-American artist Sze Tsung Leong from his series Horizons.

Sze Tsung Leong’s Horizons is his vast and unique picture of the world. Composed of broad, encompassing photographs of this planet’s diverse terrains, this series is connected by a common horizon line to form a continuous landscape that suggests an unfurled, and potentially limitless, view of the globe’s surface. Collectively, these images expand our range of vision by transcending familiar boundaries and forming unexpected relationships: Kenya’s open savannah extends into the tidal basins of northern France, a desert development in California continues as a pasture in Flanders, while the salt flats of Bolivia expands into Japan’s Ise Bay.

Mr. Leong began Horizons in 2001 and exhibited the series at the gallery for the first time in 2008. The upcoming exhibition presents more than a decade of work, including new images that depict widespread locations, such as La Habana, Cuba; Cádiz, Spain; Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium; Tsavo West, Kenya; and Odoi, Japan. The exhibition consists of 29 analog chromogenic prints arranged in a sequence by the artist and is the first significant presentation of the larger edition size, measuring 28” x 48.”

The exhibition coincides with the release of the monograph, Horizons, published by Hatje Cantz. The 160-page book contains 144 images along with essays by Leong; essayist and novelist, Pico Iyer; Director of the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Duncan Forbes; former Head of the Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Charlotte Cotton; and a conversation between the artist and Chief Curator of the Center for Creative Photography, Joshua Chuang. As Mr. Iyer writes in his essay “Jerusalem Athens Alexandria Unreal”:

Sze Tsung Leong takes the fractures and disruptions of our post-modern floating world and weaves them into a seamless flow in which distances dissolve, history fades away and we are asked what to make of the often disembodied sense of unearthliness that result.

Major installations of Horizons have been exhibited at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Herzliya Museum in Israel and at a solo show at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey in Mexico.

Sze Tsung Leong’s work has been exhibited internationally and is included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and his series of photographs, History Images, was published by Steidl in 2006. The artist is based in New York and Los Angeles.

Shravan Gupta: Life Series Going Indie – Metadata and Keywords

As you have probably observed in the sequencing of this series, I have attempted to bring the discussions forward as might be required in actual application.

You might ask: “Why not discuss metadata and keywords at the very onset as this is one of the first activities we do after making the image?” If you considered that question, you are absolutely correct. However, it is very much a case of the chicken-and-egg dilemma.

The fact remains we should tailor out metadata and keywords based on the search engine we have decided to incorporate. The metadata and keywords interact with each other when the client in cyber world is doing a search.  Many, many times I have observed photographers write the description text in that window, and then copy and paste the same text into the keywords panel. More often than not, this redundancy isn’t necessary. Many search engines, but not all I am told, search both the description fields and the keyword field during the search function.

One of the challenges I face in writing this entry, is that I leave myself open to correction. I accept that, with the knowledge that there are many variances in accepted practise due to there being no clear industry-wide standard What I will suggest is that in my experience I have found IPTC  (International Press Telecommunications Council) to be the most widely accepted by the photo industry, and as such its adoption should serve you in good stead for years to come.

How you incorporate your IPTC metadata field will have a large bearing on your keyword-application policy.  Not only is the IPTC metadata critical for web-based image searches, it is also an essential “tag” attached to that photography that describes, identifies and tracks the photograph for its life. This metadata, in its most simplistic terms, is the birth certificate and social insurance number all wrapped up in one neat little package. Without this package, you have no benefits.

I could regurgitate everything from the IPTC Photo Metadata standards, but you would be better served by reading and downloading the document directly. This document should be on your desk and thoroughly understood. Much of the field content does not change, and thankfully Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop have adopted IPTC as its standard application; consequently you can populate the fields and save them as a preference for future batch actions.

How you develop your workflow will be a result of trial and error. Personally, I can tell you all of my shots are brought into Lightroom as DNG files to save space. Once those files are imported and placed in the correct catalog, the first function I do is Select All and embed my “Base IPTC” which I have previously established and saved as such. This base data includes each required field that has fixed content; remaining data—such as yjr description field—is applied only to those images that are destined for distribution.

Once all the fixed data is input and the image has been adjusted as desired, or required, only then do I complete the description field. When doing so, the best way to proceed is to think of the Who, What, When, Where and Why. Input this data very carefully as this field will also, more than likely, be “hit” when a keyword search is initiated by a potential client. There are also several rules-of-thumb that should also be entered in brackets following a flora or fauna entry: the complete Latin name and, if an animal might be under human control input the phrase “Captive Animal.”  Again, according to NANPA, if the image is a derivative of several images, the phrase “Composite” should also be entered as metadata.  A potential advertiser may not find this information has any bearing on their final use; however, a natural sciences magazine or educational publisher will most certainly appreciate this knowledge in advance.

And finally, once the metadata has been completed, you are left with applying the appropriate and applicable keywords so a potential client might find the image. Many books have been written on this topic and I certainly can’t do it any justice in a few paragraphs. Suffice it to say, tagging your image with accurate keywords is extremely important, and you would be well advised to research this topic as thoroughly as any you have studied up to this point. Some photographers find this component so critical they contract the work to a third party that has experience working in this field. Only you can decide whether you should contract a service provider—if you do, ensure that you test them with a sample batch before entering into any contracts.

Just to get you thinking about keywords and its nuances, consider this: Is it grey or gray? Is it colour or color? Photographers say horizontal and vertical, while designers say landscape and portrait in describing an image’s orientation. Is an iceberg considered part of global warming, Arctic, clean, pure, pristine, and so on?

The bottom line, when applying keywords, is that you have to think like a potential client. Your keywords should expand on what you have already included in your descriptive field and not repeat those same words. Think back to our discussion of concepts and include phrases, such as: reach for the top, ladder of success, and tip of the iceberg.

As previously mentioned, the interplay between the description field and keywords is critical. Be generous but not verbose; you will want a client’s search to reveal all of the images that may fit the search parameters, but you will also not want to alienate the same client for including too many images that have no relevance. Understanding the importance of accurate and methodical tagging of keywords will have a very direct bearing on your success. By comparison, poor keyword application would most likely translate to lost sales, and that is something you want to avoid.

Once you have made it this far, you should be ready to start offering your images for sale—more on that in the next entry.

Now get to work.

Shravan Gupta: Altered Images

After extensive European travel and time spent with Man Ray at Fregene, Italy, Makos moved to New York to witness the great changes of the period. Fascinated mostly by the emerging punk scene, the American photographer created a series of portraits that are unique in the history of photography: Tennessee Williams, Halston, John Paul Getty III, David Bowie, Grace Jones, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Divine are just some of the celebrities captured in his shots and collected in his debut book White Trash, published in 1977. He meets Andy Warhol, who was so impressed by his book, that he bought one thousand copies.

Warhol commits him the artistic direction of his book Exposure, that will be the beginning of their friendship and artistic partnership.

Inside the father of Pop Art’s late Factory, Makos captures extravagances, excesses, behind the scenes and many moments of “extraordinary” daily life of Warhol together with many superstars such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon and the young and talented artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Makos collaborated with many magazines, like Interview, Rolling Stone, House & Garden, Connoisseur, New York Magazine, Esquire, Genre and People. His works have been exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. Among his publications: Andy Warhol in China 1982 (2007), Warhol/Makos In Context (2007), Christopher Makos Polaroids (2009), LADY WARHOL (2010).

The exhibition presents a selection of 62 photographs, recalling the artistic scene of the 70s and 80s in New York. There will be presented also 8 pictures, large size images, of the Altered Images series, realized in collaboration with Andy Warhol, to represent the changeable identity of the human being, as an homage to Man Ray’s shots, portraying Marcel Duchamp’s alter ego Rrose Selavy.

Shravan Gupta :Street Photography

Street Photography is one of those kind where you will find more hobbyists rather than professionals. The prime reason behind this is because it is so much fun. Most street photographers are there only because they want to be there. They want to do it. It is a different kind of experience all together. As Thomas Leuthard says, “Street photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

But this awesome fun-filled kind of photography has it’s own obstacles too. And you get to know more about them as you keep shooting. But once you master these obstacles, nobody can beat you. Below I have listed down a few such points that I have learned from my personal experience and can recall at this moment. Hope they are of some help to you, the next time you go out on the streets.


#1… Do not think twice!

If you see a frame in front of you that can build up into a nice story, don’t think whether you should shoot it or not. Coz even if you waste a second to think, the moment may just go away for ever. Shoot first and think later.

#2…Do not stop for too long!

Always try and notice your subjects from a distance and also plan your composition. By the time you reach him, you should be totally ready to just lift your camera and release the shutter. The problem with standing in the middle of the street is that firstly you’ll get pushed by people (if it’s a busy street) and everyone will get irritated. Secondly, your subject will also become aware of your presence and you’ll never get that awesome candid shot. So if you don’t make it at first go, just move on. Remember, there is a huge world waiting for you. One gone is none gone.


#3… Do not make eye contact!

Never ever make eye contact with your subjects. Not before the shot, nor after. Look at every possible thing around him, but never at him. Looking eye to eye with a person will only either freak him out or freak you out. In either case you are not gonna get your shot.

#4… Do not look back!

Once you shoot your subject and you are walking away from him, do not look back to check if he noticed you or if he is calling you or anything. Your looking back might just lead you to having to delete one of your best pics of the day.


#5… Do not exclaim!

By that I mean do not bring the widest grim on your face showing how over-whelmed you are at capturing the awesome scene. Carry a very stoic look on your face throughout your shoot. That will keep you off unnecessary conversations. Of course you can rejoice when you are done shooting or back home.

#6… Do not keep looking at your LCD!

Very very important point to keep in mind for all Digital shooters. Never keep looking at your LCD screen. Doing that will firstly make people suspicious of you, secondly you will miss the awesome moments that happen when you are busy engrossed in your screen, and thirdly you will fall into a garbage dump or maybe bump onto a pole, or worse, bump onto another person.


#7… Do not use a big camera or lens!

Although this point is not absolutely necessary to follow, but your common sense will tell you that the bigger gear you carry, obviously the more attention you catch, and that of course is the last thing a street photographer would want.

#8… Do not shoot Manual!

This is another point which is very subjective. Manual mode shooting is something an amateur fashion photographer can afford to experiment with, but not a street photographer on the street. Infact there are a number of professional street photographers who don’t shoot Manual. The best choices available are Aperture-Priority mode (Av), Shutter-Priority mode (Tv), or Program mode (P). For these shooting modes you only decide the depth-of-field, or the shutter-speed, or the ISO value respectively, and the camera gets the other settings in place to give the perfect exposure. Fiddling with Manual mode will only get you to lose those precious moments which otherwise could have been excellent shots. And remember, at the end of the day, what matters is your shots, not which mode you shot in.


#9… Do not be scared!

This is something that I mentioned in one of my earlier post too. And I mention it once more here because this is of prime importance. You need to have self-confidence and build up your courage if you plan on doing street photography. Remember, it’s only a notion that people have in their mind that any person they shoot will come and beat them up. That happens only once in a million times. Atleast I personally never experienced it, and nor have I heard of someone I know to have experienced it. Get you guts and go and shoot. And by the way, at times you might just be lucky enough to be greeted with a smile too. People are not all that bad after all.

#10… Do not get into arguments!

In continuation to the previous point, if incase you happen to be really unlucky and somebody stops you and asks you to delete the pic, just do it. Do not get into any kind of argument. Delete it and get moving. No pic is more worthy than your life. And I’m not aware as to where you live in and what kind of people are there. And anyways, if you are intact, then there will be a million more opportunities for you to get much better pics. Don’t sob, and move on in search of your next frame.


I’m not an expert, and thoughts may vary from person to person. But these are some of the things that I learned from my experience, and thought that sharing it with you people may benefit you in some way. If you liked and enjoyed the post, then please do share it in your circle. And as always, I’m completely open to feed-backs irrespective of whether you have something to say for or against this post. So feel free to comment.

Shravan Gupta Beautiful Black-And-White-Photography

In her legendary photos Toni Frissell impresses with a strong trend toward surrealism or realism. The photo presented below, although in black and white, is both extremely sharp and clear. To achieve such level of clarity in black and white is extremely hard.

Black and White Photography
Alin Ciortea presents examples of modern street photography. In black and white, of course.

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography
Unfortunately, the photographer is unknown. The photo seems to be taken at exact the right moment from exactly the right angle with a perfect lighting. Black and white can be powerful as well.

Black and White Photography
This photo, titled Candy Cigarette, not just displays something, it tells a story. It is both emotional and beautiful. This is what the originality of black-and-white-photography is all about.

Black and White Photography
This shot was taken in El Salvador. Child with star mask during “Day Of The Dead”. Other child in background rolls tire for repair in garage where he works at an adult’s job. The photo is full of tiredness and stubbornness. Simple motif conveying strong emotions.

Black and White Photography
Aneta Kowalczyk specializes in portrait photography. Some of her photos are provoking, some are strange and some are extremely beautiful. The example below displays the beautiful side of black and white photography.

Black and White Photography
Nick Brandt is a renown animal photographer which has become famous with his book of photographs, “On This Earth”, which was published in October 2005.

Black and White Photography
Taking a shot just at the right moment.

Black and White Photography
Woman Of Tibet. Realism at its best. Awarded with International Photography Awards in 2007.

Black and White Photography
Tour Eiffel: extraordinary contrast and perspective. Strong, clean and very precise shot.

Black and White Photography

Ghost Town Charm
Excellent lighting.

Black and White Photography
One of the most famous contemporary black and white photographers. Classic!

Black and White Photography
Polese’s works pay close attention to small, tiny details. The tones are perfects and compositions are beautiful which is why the photos are presented in this post. Notice the sharp contrast and the lighting at the first image below and the sharp pathway leading to the light in the second one.

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography

Top 10 Reader Black-and-White Photos
Ten extraordinary black and white photographs sent to the editorial by its readers.

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography

Michele Clement
Artistic yet beautiful and extremely powerful shot. Michele Clement is the winner of Black & White Spider Awards 2007 in category “Outstanding Achievement”.

Black and White Photography

Snyder Alison
This photo has been taken in South Crillon Glacier, Washburn.

Black and White Photography
Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami on the hills surrounding the captital, where his film “Taste of Cherry”, which was co-awarded the Golden Palm in Cannes 1997, was shot.

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography
Alison’s life in black and white photos. The significance of these pictures emerges in retrospect. “When my daughter Alison was born, in the tradition of a new parent, I began to photograph her, initially in a separate and private body of work. However, in the process of documenting Alison’s growth, I developed a passionate interest in human relationships and capturing intimate moments in the lives of family and friends.”

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography
Alignment. Sometiems all it takes is to be at the right place in the right moment and take a shot under the right angle. That’s what happened here.

Shravan Gupta Tips For Successful Street Photography

Travel light and bring the right lens for you.

Don’t carry too much equipment. Choose one lens and stick with it. I have a small cross-body bag I use for film, lipstick and essentials, but keep my camera around my neck or over my shoulder. Choose your camera wisely. After a whole day, certain cameras become very cumbersome to carry—if you are serious about walking the streets—so plan the equipment in advance. A comfortable camera strap is a must. I find the best ones have neoprene cushioning at the neck. Take your camera everywhere with you so it starts to feel part of you. Your lens choice is very important. I find that prime lenses, such as 35mm or 50mm, give me sharper images than a zoom lens. I like to get closer to my subjects, rather than rely on a zoom to get me there —that almost ruins the intimacy of street photography. Start with a 50mm or 75mm, gain confidence and get closer from there.

Color versus black and white.

I like to simplify my photos to give more focus to the subject matter. I find that while I love color for portraits and conceptual work, black and white gives me a cleaner and more simplified image. There are so many images, ads, other people and cars on the streets, it can get very confusing to the eye in a color image. Sometimes a color image is necessary, especially if one is shooting in a place like Times Square, for example, or in a colorful place like India. Pay close attention to the background and how it may enhance your picture.

Steal a moment.

Watch people’s behavior and body language. Anticipate moments before they happen, such as a couple about to kiss. Follow human interactions, watch people. Stand in a spot for an hour, or in one specific area. Wait for a moment to happen, rather than search the streets for it. Try to be invisible.

Look for multiples.

Often I find multiples or repetition interesting in a shot, so look for scenes with this type of rhythm. For example, during fleet week in Manhattan, the sailors were walking the streets in groups, as were the four marines in the photograph below. Parades and protests are also great places to find good street scenes.

Freeze frame.

Streets are bustling places, full of people going about their daily lives—often in a hurry. Make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to get sharp shots even during movement. Street photography is something that requires fast reactions and fast shooting. Metering exposure in such situations (and to not miss a shot) can be hard. Very often I can guess the exposure, or perhaps use the “sunny 16” rule. Try to experiment with your camera settings and utilize the Shutter Priority mode to keep that shutter speed fast, or perhaps the Aperture Priority mode, if you want to remain more in control of your depth of field. The important aspect of street photography is to be fast and ready at all times.

It’s also interesting to try slower shutter speeds on the street and capture movement. Blurred vehicles, people running or panning shots can be just as intriguing as in-focus ones.

I caught you!

In my last B&H Insights article, I referred to catching people through my portraiture. In my street photography work I refer to it in a slightly difference context. The joy of street photography (and also the hard part) is that you want to capture a moment without the person even knowing you are there. It’s more about being unobtrusive and subtle than interacting with people. However, very often, the subject will notice you taking their picture. That moment of the subject first catching you is quite telling. I find that moment to be extremely real.

Don’t be afraid.

Street photography requires confidence. Act like you should be there. Don’t be afraid of confrontation. I have been yelled at many, many times but it’s all part of the experience. Explain yourself. Be polite, smile and say sorry if somebody is offended you took a photograph of them. Offer to e-mail the photograph. It takes practice being comfortable in this style of photography, but the results are very true to life and worth it.

All images in this article are © Sara Louise Petty.

Sara Louise Petty is a New York-based fashion designer and most importantly, mother. Always a lover of photography and the arts, she picked up a plastic toy Holga camera and started to experiment with analog photography. Although the Holga produced (and still produces) some of her most moving images, she moved on to 35mm and medium-format cameras.