Learning to see again. Part One

A man sitting on a tubular structure in the warm sun, while talking on the phone. Time stands still

The Image Above

I shot that image above with my OnePlus6T phone. I used an app called Hypocam, to allow my phone to shoot only black & white. After the initial editing in the Hypocam app itself, I finished off the edit in Snapseed. This was the start of my project on learning to see again.

The Exercise

I was back on the streets after a very long while. This is an area of Delhi called “Old Delhi”. It is also called The Walled City of Delhi, or Shahjahanabad. In 2014, I had done 12 walks over a one year period, and intend to put this into a book.

Now, it is 2020, and I decided to go back to the street, with a twist. Before I go into that, I must also write that I almost had a heat stroke. The heats stroke gave me the idea and the title for another street photography project in 2021! I need to buy either the Fuji XT-3 or a Leica before then.

So, the exercise:

  • 12 walks in Old Delhi. The same 12, if possible. However, not over 12 months
  • I will use my Olympus OM-2n camera, with a 50 mm lens. The lens has some fungus
  • While I am granting myself the liberty of also using my mobile phone for a few shots, I will use only 1 roll of film per walk

The Result

When I was out, with the constraints mentioned above, I found myself looking very carefully, before shooting.

The Olympus only has manual focusing, which slowed me down further. Black & white can be unforgiving, so looking for a good composition when you have very few images to shoot, is an interesting challenge.

Further, unlike the digital world, where I can change the ISO frame to frame, with film, you cannot do that.

I found that, after many years, I was learning to see again. It is an exercise that is well worth doing.

Let’s see how the images turn out.

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