Interview with Gautam Basik
- Gautam, how did your passion for photography start?
I have a passion for traveling and I needed money for that. Anthropology, Geology, photography and filmmaking are the possible professions which gives me scope to travel. Of these I chose photography to pursue my passion to travel as it is the closest way to connect to nature and in fact photography is the greatest form of story telling.
- What is photography according to you?
According to me a Photograph is an art to draw the subject with the help of light. It needs planning determination and purpose; it needs understanding of what others intercept. It is about communicating what you think from your mind.
- How did you reach to the position where you are now? Was success so easy?
There was a great amount of learning which helped me in reaching where I am today. Just like software industry follows design, documentation, development, testing and execution photography has Pre visualization, composition, execution and presentation. Film, chemicals, paper everything was available, but I learnt how important pre visualization was.
The camera only does 5% of the work, the rest is you. Just like canvas, brush and medium are for painting sensor, lenses and light are for Camera. Just like a paint brush has 0, 1, 2 sizes, experience taught me the importance of different lens like focal, widal, telephoto and other lens. Light is a medium which has a meta-physical property. You become successful if you know how to control the direction, contrast and strength of the light.
Light and Shadow are the most important things in photography. For the foreground to look lighter you darken the back ground and do vice versa if it is the other way round. You must have great understanding of light and must be able to play with light and shadow to become successful.
- Tell us about Drishti School of Photography
At Drishti School of Photography we practice and share the knowledge of today’s photography like Exposure blending HDR, Infrared Photography, Product Photography 360, Virtual Panorama, Architectural walk through of 360, Advertisement photography, Candid Photography. You also get to learn motion time lapse photography, hyper lapse photography, DSLR Movie Making and Cinematography diligently. Out of everything, Advertisement photography is the most challenging.
I felt there was no quality school which teaches passionate photography with so much zeal and creativity mixed with enjoyment so I started the school in 1995. They have a minimum of 4.5 months pre-master course and 1 year programs.
- What suggestions do you have for the upcoming photographers?
Most of the amateur photographers who take good pictures are accidental babies. They can’t produce the same picture again in similar conditions but a photographer must be able to recreate the same magic.
- Learn the language; understand the impact of selection / framing.
- Communication should be achieved through composition.
- Know how to play with the light which supports pre visualization and composition and compensation.
- One should not be happy with what the camera has delivered, must know how to treat with the software..
- All these are processes, one should be inspired by others good pictures and have analytical mind to get what they are saying from the pictures. Why he has taken a shot like that? How he has taken and where he is going to use it? How much he is going to earn out of it – both financially and satisfaction wise.
- Camera is just a tool, Composition subject matters a lot. Thus this comes under photographer thought.
- It is important when you work as commercial photographer, most of it is Show business 70% Show business and 30% depends on new technology performance.
Example: For a hoarding you cannot hold just any nice camera you should use 60 Lakh camera.
- What is a good camera?
A camera which has flexibilities to operate completely manually is called a good camera. What is the camera you have is the last question I ask.
- Eyes are more important in photograph, take the lens which can capture them aesthetically. High end lens, low end body must be the preferred choice.
- Generally all companies offer prime lenses to a photographer. Apart from that you must depend on zoom lens, ironically common man gets attracted to the ones with size and outer look of camera which should be completely avoided
They should bother what equipment can do for them in terms of quality and other technical limits
1.25 to 1.80 – 50 mm prime lens for Nikon is < 6000 should be ideal choice
Prime lens, one of the best lenses, is good enough to practice all types of photography for beginners.
The most important lens are
- Wide angle prime lens
- 50 mm normal lens
- One short tele b/w 85 to 100 mm
After these lenses, one can go for other high end lenses.
Do you prefer Film or digital?
Films have own advantages – they never die while the hard disk and memory card crashes but digital is immediate
For learning purpose digital is best because people can come across best of the flaws and learn almost instantly
Ego is the main enemy; ego doesn’t allow a person to accept his mistakes and doesn’t qualify him to learn. Most people are not ready to learn, make proper use of digital technology.
What do you know about Candid videography?
Candid photography is stealing expression from an individual or a group. It is grabbing pictures extraordinarily. Candid photography is famous in west. It is very unfortunate we copy west; the pathetic thing is we don’t copy west properly; we do the new thing in old style. Ideally Candid photography must contain 20 pictures, but we take many.
First we should select and understand the subject interest, understand the situation and must be able to create and carry the drama throughout
The pictures that you capture are memorable, unique and rare. The whole family including the grand children would like to see such pictures. This is called candid photography
Is there any term called Photogenic in photography?
If you look for beautiful things around you, you can take good pictures. It is unfortunate if you cannot do that. But for things which are not beautiful, it is the job of the photographer to create good pictures. Out of everything, this is the significance of the professionals.
Gautam basik considers the school as a Temple and said that he teaches courses depending upon the passion of his students. The fact that he runs many courses with one student is an example of the same. The unique thing about Gautam Basik’s Drishti School of photography is that they never commercially advertise about the school.
Interviewed by Sesank Numburi for Team Youthopia