I’ve always considered Cartier-Bresson’s photography awe-inspiring. Being a pioneer of Street Photography, he was the one who coined the term “decisive moment”. From then on, it has been broadly used when referring to the split second of inspiration when the photographer comes into his own. In his epoch photography was relatively a new art medium and most of the artists he was contemporary with looked down on photographers, considering the whole medium a fleeting craze, a pale imitation of the classic arts.
I clearly remember the first time I saw the picture of the cyclist, the staircase and the cobbled street. A mixture of patterns finely arranged to create a unique and special snapshot that could linger in my memory forever. And then it was the one of the man skipping a puddle. I became obsessed with lines and patterns, at times seeing the order in the chaos.
So it was little wonder that someday I would try my luck at street photography. It all began in 2012 when I bought a point-and-shoot camera and rushed into “the streets”.
At the outset, I was completely stumped by the mysteries of this art. Candidness is what sets a photograph apart and it’s quite intricate to take candid pictures when people, strangers in particular, look at you dismissively. Impatience is not allowed. Learning to become unnoticed is the crux of the matter and it doesn’t happen overnight, this being a rather slow process.
Eventually, of course, the day comes when you become virtually invisible. It has nothing to do with the supernatural, don’t get me wrong. What happens is that you learn to anticipate what is going to happen and the camera suddenly makes an appearance during that split second I mentioned before.
Strangers become the cast, the streets are the canvas, the camera is the paintbrush and I am the invisible painter.
For the next 3 years I took nearly 50,000 pictures, discarded more than 40,000 and published nearly 900 on my Flickr account. This one was the only picture I took on 29 October, 2014. I was hanging around the city centre all the evening long, nothing worth to immortalise. Suddenly, just before nightfall, when I was going back home I stumbled across a grandmother. Still unable to comprehend why she was hiding her face, the child appeared in the doorway. I took two steps back, switched on the camera and everything just clicked into place.