Jagdev Singh is a freelance photographer living in New Delhi, India. His striking monochrome photography captures the finer characteristics and details of the persona he comes across and places he visits. Portrait and travel photography are his forte and his photo series based on traditional and cultural photography brings out the essence and ambiance with their stillness and excitement. The photos of this interview post belong to his project ‘Hola Mahalla’. It’s a three day Sikh festival which begins a day before Holi, the famous Indian festival of color that most often falls during March. The fair held at Anandpur Sahib is traditionally a three day event but participants attend Anandpur Sahib for a week, camping out and enjoying various displays of fighting prowess and bravery, and listening to kirtan.
Please tell us about yourself and your relationship with photography:
I am a freelance photographer living in New Delhi, India. In my hybrid style of documentation and art photography, I love to capture the moments and moods from people’s daily life. People and Street are my favorite subjects.
To me photography means a way of life. A way of expressing oneself. The decisive moments are the ones which freeze interesting moments!
Prima facie, I refrain from a strict classification. But as you evolve in time, your natural expression and inner self starts reflecting in your work. My work combines art and documentation, uncovering the inner pristine beauty of the subject and the moment while existing in the normal and the ordinary.
I looked into your entire portfolio but didn’t find a single color image. Why do you have this fascination with monochrome? Don’t you think the ambience and vibrancy of events like ‘Hola Mohalla’ can be better portrayed in a color work?
My all time fascination has always been in simplicity of life. The freedom, the true nature, we all are born to live in. Monochrome gives me the right medium to capture and express this simplicity. Be it Hola Mohalla or just any theme.
Incredible! Not much.
How much of your work is carefully planned vs. spontaneous?
It’s 100% spontaneous. No prior knowledge of the subject gifts you with that immaculate and unpredictable beauty of the moment!
It’s great fun! Life is the most incredible journey, the most precious and consistent flow of bliss. If the subject and you the artist are in bliss during that spontaneous interaction, privacy becomes silent.
I use a Canon 450 D. My favorite lens is 50mm Canon fixed. I also use a 18-55mm Canon and 75-300 mm Canon telephoto. I shoot in RAW and my mostly used settings are: Manual mode, Aperture 2.8, ISO 400. Editing and manipulation assist you in making the picture closer to what your wonderful eyes saw.
Do you have a favorite photo or a project having a great story behind? Or any significant memory related to photography?
All series are close to my heart.
Most of my work goes in the form of publications and exhibitions. Aspect Ratio Magazine, UK and Dodho Online Photography Magazine recently published my phtoto features. My work was exhibited in May 2015at India International Centre, New Delhi and an exhibition titled “Ganges and Nirvana : The Kumbh Mela of India, 2013”, my collaborative work with German photographer Victoria Knobloch was held at VHS Stuttgart, Germany during April - June 2015. Links to them are given in my website.
I would like to cover the flow of life in Singapore, Myanmar and Hong Kong in near future. Self publishing a photo-book for an exhibition with huge flow of people would be promising.
I would be happy in giving artist talks, workshops and sharing my experiences in person.
Two photographers who inspire me are Steve McCurry and Victoria Knobloch.
Say something to our readers or aspiring photographers:
Keep Learning and inculcate what you learn in the next moment without any delay. Make the best use of what machinery you have rather than wait for anything superior. Great pictures need simple perseverance not latest machinery to be captured.