My name is Mahesh Krishnamurthy, I am 55 years old and grew up in India and Yemen. Now I live in Jakarta, Indonesia and work as a Business Advisory consultant.
I started photography to keep a record of my travels. I used to do a lot of cityscapes and photos of historical places.
After a few years, I started developing a fascination for capturing photos of people with weathered and tempered faces.
I suppose seeing photos taken by Bruce Gilden and Lee Jeffries helped me along.
Photography for me is a meditative and relaxing hobby. Deeply satisfying to present the chaos of daily life in a way which seems orderly.
I feel like a predator when I am out shooting, and the process of identifying keepers at home on the laptop is fun.
Street portraiture – candid and otherwise - marked my entry into street photography. I have followed several workshops and lots of shooting on the streets.
Street photography is a very transient and momentary process. The street is a venue or stage and the people who are the actors constantly enter and exit a scene. The whole process is so dynamic and constantly changing that there is very little chance of building a relationship.
Street photography is very dynamic and it is hard to have an image in my mind. I never know what to expect when I go out into the street.
There are no preconceived notions or expectations. I do visit a lot of museums in Europe and North America with the hope of capturing geometrical compositions, and to quite an extent my hopes and expectations have been fulfilled. Increasingly, post-production only involves converting a photo from color to black and white.
Sometimes I use a bit of “burning” to neutralize highlights or dodging to open up shadows.
Any composition involving geometry and human gestures give me joy.
When a photo is “good one” or not for me... It is a gut feeling you develop over time – must say this is a work in progress.
I like capturing human gestures, and windows serve as a frame within a frame that help me isolate gestures.
I am not involved in projects. There are four-to-five broad areas of street photography that interest me: geometry, silhouettes, portraiture, gestures, layering and, when I get lucky, forced perspective. It is hard work to become good at layering and forced perspective – but hence it is the Holy Grail of present-day street photography. If any project comes up, it will involve windows/reflections and geometry for sure. My skills are a work in progress and so I see myself working to improve my craft over the next few years. This is going to be one long journey, and I see no end in sight.
I use these cameras: Canon 5D Mark III, Fujifilm XT-2 and Sony A7R-3. I shoot in color and convert to B&W. I am not good with flash.
The two Canon lenses I favor a lot are the 24-70mm and 70-200mm, the Fujifilm lenses are 23mm and 16-55mm. and for post-production, I use Lightroom, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and some Photoshop.
I used to spend 10-15 minutes in post-processing a photo in the past, but now maybe 2-3 minutes. I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that less is more.
Elliot Erwitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, Robert Frank, Joseph Koudelka, Joe Meyerowitz, the layered photos of Indian legends Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh, and last, but not least, the “characters” photographed by Bruce Gilden have influenced me.
The geometrical compositions of Bresson, the comical situations photographed by Elliot Erwitt, the gestures captured by Joel Meyerowitz, and the raw portraiture of Bruce Gilden, struck me.
Today lots of contemporary photographers, as street photography have evolved into something more than what the masters foresaw. The Vohra brothers of India, the Thai street photography collective, GMB Akash, Kaushal Parikh, Matt Stuart, Alex Webb, Tatsuo Suzuki, Antonio Ojeda, and a bunch of others whose names slip my mind.
Indonesian street photographer Ms Widya Sartika Amrin has been a great help in exploring the streets of Jakarta (Indonesia). I also learn a lot by contributing/participating in street photography groups on Facebook.
Books by Elliot Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Bruce Gilden have been a big early influence, but in the end walking the streets, keeping your eyes open and constantly taking pictures, is the best way to learn.