Blog: Notes on Documentary Photography & Filmmaking

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What is a Story Anyway?

To be human is to tell stories. That’s a powerful statement I came across when reading “Telling True Stories” from the Nieman Foundation at the Harvard University. In the opening essay, Pulitzer Prize winner and juror Jacqui Banaszynski quotes from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried: “Stories are for joining the past to the future. […]

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Documentary Wedding Photography with the Fujifilm X-Trans cameras

They say you don’t find religion. Religion finds you. In the most unexpected of places and at the most unintended times. That’s how I can best describe what happened to me recently when I got my hands on the Fujifilm XT2 and X100T cameras. I underwent a tectonic shift in philosophy. I’ll get into that […]

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EOS to X-Trans – My Journey as a Documentary Photographer

I first took up a camera in 2003. A little too late I feel. Until then, my creative release came through writing. But that first camera – a Canon 350D changed everything. From words, I became a visual storyteller. Small and lightweight it came with me on some exciting adventures. Most notably a year-long documentary […]

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Filmmaker’s thoughts on making Journeys – the documentary

The co-founder of El Shaddai Charitable Trust, Matthew Kurian approached me back in 2014 regarding a documentary film that would encapsulate the work of the charity. I had been associated with the charity since 2003 and had seen the organisation grow. But more than that, I had seen the children grow and develop into fine […]

Using Archive Photos in Documentary Film

How I used Archival Photos in the documentary film Journeys

In making Journeys – the documentary film about El Shaddai Trust, a charity working with children in need in India, I had to rely on archival photographs for the sequences dealing with the organisation’s beginnings. This is inevitable when telling the history of an organisation. I was presented with a huge number of images in […]

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The art of editing and sewing

Want to become better film editor? How about practicing the craft of sewing. Seriously. There’s a lot to learn. In the early days of cinema, the craft of film editing (note that at the time, film editors were not considered artists), was the domain of women. Memorable films like The Birth of a Nation, Stagecoach, […]

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Documentary film editing: How to develop story arcs

In long-format documentary film editing, creating the story arc requires a good deal more thought and diligence. I’ve found certain tools and techniques that have helped me in documentary film editing and am sharing them here.

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declutter: Simplifying my life

Decluttering has rich dividends. Every year I spend 4 to 6 days exclusively with nature, just as the Indian monsoon kicks in. The air is fresh with the scent of first rains and nature begins to transform from the browns of the summer to the greens of the rains.

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A solo video journalist’s best friends

As a solo travelling video journalist I find myself doing features across India. Because I am inclined to development type feature stories, in most cases I am not only alone but also in less than ideal terrain – the villages of India can be hard and the heat, humidity and dust harder.

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Why I switched to prime lenses: Priming my photographer’s brain

Back in October 2012 I had picked up the Canon 24-70 USM-II L 2.8 lens. It was/is a great lens – sharp, good in low light and ability to quickly go from wide to medium-tele. Then in Feb 2013 I sold the lens. Now why would that be? Make no mistake, the 24-70 is a […]