More often than not, photography coming out of India tends to focus on the “exotic.” We’ve seen the pictures many times before — people performing religious rites in the Ganges River or huge gatherings like the Kumb Mela. So it is refreshing to see work that diverges from this path. Swarat Ghosh’s photographs of street scenes in India do just that. Far from the spectacles we are used to seeing, Ghosh roams the streets transforming the ordinary and banal into the magical. With his photography, he takes us on a journey through found mini-dramas or tableaus that we might ordinarily miss if we’re not watching carefully enough.
Ghosh is not a professional photographer but an avid amateur and student of the medium. In his day job, Ghosh is a lead visual designer at a software company in Hyderabad. His earliest memory of photography was when he began following the work of several street photographers (including Kaushal Parekh and Prashant Godbole) based in India around 2012. His own journey into photography actually came about accidentally at that time when his wife gave him a camera that same year.
What drives Ghosh to take pictures is an unrelenting sense of curiosity. He loves roaming the streets and has no particular goal other than “getting strong subjects with varied emotions which people can easily relate to. … For me, photography is all about the timing and the capacity to observe.” It can be tough balancing the need to work for a living and also pursuing his passion. Many times, Ghosh is tempted to skip making photos on the weekends “but somehow [I] drag myself just for the sheer joy of clicking that magic picture.”
In addition to the work of his fellow street photographers in India, Ghosh has many influences. Theses include the work of the world famous and legendary Magnum Photos, including photographers Trent Park, Sohrab Hura, David Alan Harvey and Raghu Rai. He’s also influenced by Swapan Parekh, Prashant Panjiar, Dinesh Khanna, Amit Mehra and Sumit Dayal. You can see more of Ghosh’s work on Instagram at @swaratghosh.
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