Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are learning about taking Street photography and portraits in Delhi, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Delhi is paradise for street photographers, you will find interesting subjects at every nook and corner of the city with different emotions from cries to the laughter. In this Delhi portrait we see an Indian man preparing potatoes and across time and across cultures, food is one thing that unites us all. Sometimes out of necessity and sometimes simply to enhance flavor, humans generally prepare their food before eating it.
Delhi is paradise for street photographers, you will find interesting subjects at every nook and corner of the city with different emotions from cries to the laughter. In this Delhi portrait we see an Indian man preparing potatoes and across time and across cultures, food is one thing that unites us all. Sometimes out of necessity and sometimes simply to enhance flavor, humans generally prepare their food before eating it.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 22, 2024

Delhi street portraiture

Food preparation in India involves the entire spectrum of events from obtaining to eating food and most of the food that we get in raw form is not best to eat as is. So, the first step in food preparation is cleaning the food. The need for this is obvious for things like meats, which can contain harmful bacteria if not cleaned properly. In many cultures, including certain Jewish and Muslim dietary restrictions, meat is deemed unfit to eat if there is blood on it, so the cleaning stage is vital. There are reasons that cultures have such restrictions, where they they are based on rules for survival.

What is a street portraiture?

Street portraiture is in photography also called a 'Street portrait' and it is portrait photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places in a portrait.

Food preparation in Delhi
Cleaning is just as important for other ingredients as well, including natural fruits, vegetables and grains. Most food products we consume today are not only grown commercially but are treated with pesticides or other chemicals to ensure the survival of the crop. These chemicals should be washed off of produce before consumption. Additionally, dust, natural bacteria and trace chemicals from insects or birds can be found on organic produce and which has been of great interest for the photographer avoding not to get sick while visiting and photographing in India.

Taking street portraits
If you are new to photography the photographer suggests you to start with Connaught Place where you will found hundreds of street hawkers, beggars, pedestrians and tourist making it an ideal place for street photography and you can also head to Delhi where you will find the rustic charm of Delhi's streets, 'Havelis', food joints that are as old as 100 years, places like Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Daryaganj and Nai Sadak on a sunday may interest you.

Lenses for street photography
A lot of travel photographers are discussing if a 50mm lens is good for street photography and there are both yes and no depending on a number of factors. If you are asking about 50mm as a field of view in full-frame terms, then yes it is good. So long as you are photographing the equivalent on smaller formats you will be okay. 50mm lens for Street photography will have a different effective field of view depending on your camera and sensor or medium.

Remember that if you are photographing a micro 4/3 camera you will want a 25mm lens, APS-C cameras like Nikon DX series, Fuji X series, Sony a6000 series cameras need a 35mm lens with medium format 6x6 cameras like Hasselblads and Rolleiflex TLRs with an 80mm lens will equate to a 50mm 'FOV' also known as 'Field Of View'. The 50mm field of view is not weak by any means but it is going to be a rather tight in terms of framing if you are working up close or want to provide your subject or subjects with the proper context. Again, it depends on how you are photographing and the typical distance and distances you work with.

"A lot of street photography purists will say stick to 35mm or wider because, the closer you are, the better the photograph, but the problem with this is a 'FOV' and the lens you photograph with, is a conscious choice that you are making as the photographer. No one method, lens, 'FOV' or style is going to work for everyone"

Portrait photography at the Crawford Market in India
Honestly the best way for you to find out whether a 'FOV' or lens is well-suited to street photography is to go out and photograph, photograph and photograph in India. The time you spend out and about making photographs is more important than your choice of lens or 'FOV'. Eventually you will settle on one or two focal lengths that just mesh with your style of photographing. By then you should no longer be worrying about whether this lens or this 'FOV' is good or not.

See this video about Delhi made by Distance between.

The photographer's own experience with street photography in Delhi
"- As I stepped off the plane and onto the busy streets of India, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement and curiosity. I had heard so much about the country's rich culture, vibrant colors and bustling cities, but what I was most eager to discover was the diversity of people that call this place home. From the moment I arrived, I was surrounded by a mixture of people, each with their own unique story and background. As I traveled from city to city, I encountered a wide array of individuals, each leaving a lasting impression on me", the Photographer says.

"- My first stop was the bustling city of Delhi. The streets were chaotic, yet somehow organized. People rushed past me on rickshaws and even cows roamed freely. I was in awe of the colorful markets, historic monument and busy streets. I quickly learned that being a travel photographer in India meant always being on your toes, ready to capture a moment at any given time. One of my most memorable experiences was photographing the Taj Mahal. I woke up at dawn to capture the sunrise over this magnificent monument. As I stood in front of it, I was overwhelmed by its grandeur and beauty. The changing colors of the sky added an extra layer of magic to my photos. It was an incredible feeling to capture such an iconic landmark in my own perspective", the Photographer says again.

"- In Delhi, I was greeted by the warm smiles of the locals who welcomed me with open arms. I was taken aback by their hospitality and how easily they struck up conversations with me, eager to learn about where I was from and share their own stories. Everywhere I went, I was met with genuine kindness and a deep sense of community. The daily routines of the people, whether it was the tea seller also known as a 'Chaiwallah' brewing a hot cup of 'Masala tea' or the street food vendor serving up spicy samosas, were filled with an infectious positivity and happiness", the Photographer says again.

"- Me personally, I find 50mm very versatile for my style of street photography. I like to photograph and show the relationships humans have within their environment. That little bit of distance a 50mm provides works very well for my purposes. Many photographers prefer wider lenses such as the 35mm or 28mm. However, some photographers prefer the 50mm because of its lack of distortion. Henri Cartier-Bresson, for instance, used the 50mm exclusively. Look at his work. The 50mm is somewhat of a challenge to work with because of its narrower depth of field. I do not recommend it for cameras with APS or Micro 4/3 sensors. With APS a 35mm lens will give you the effective coverage of a 50mm and if you are using a Micro Four Thirds camera, you will need a 25mm lens", the Photographer says again.

Read also:  An Indian portrait

An Indian portrait

Read also:  An Indian portrait

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian man in Delhi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.