Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are learning about taking Indian street photography in Mumbai.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
In the heart of Mumbai, where the rhythm of life beats strongest, the photographer found a venerable storyteller of the streets. His name, unknown to the photographer, mattered less than the tale his weathered face told against the backdrop of a bustling morning. Here, amidst the chaos and the calm, he discovered the essence of Indian street photography – a vibrant tapestry woven from the threads of everyday life.
In the heart of Mumbai, where the rhythm of life beats strongest, the photographer found a venerable storyteller of the streets. His name, unknown to the photographer, mattered less than the tale his weathered face told against the backdrop of a bustling morning. Here, amidst the chaos and the calm, he discovered the essence of Indian street photography – a vibrant tapestry woven from the threads of everyday life.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on May 6, 2024

Indian street photography

In that moment, as the morning sun cast its golden hue upon the city, the photographer glimpsed the timeless ritual of a man immersed in the news of the day. His face, etched with lines that whispered of countless stories, spoke volumes without uttering a word. Here was a scene that encapsulated the spirit of India – an interplay of tradition and modernity, of solitude amid the symphony of the streets.




What is the essence of doing Indian street photography?

The essence of Indian street photography lies in capturing the vibrant chaos, raw emotions and everyday moments that unfold and discovering beauty in the ordinary in the bustling streets of India.


Indian streets are a symphony of chaos and harmony
Amidst the cacophony of honking vehicles, bustling markets and crowded alleys, photographers find beauty in the ordinary. They freeze moments that reflect the spirit of India the contrasts of tradition and modernity, poverty and resilience, joy and struggle. Indian streets are a visual feast. From the vibrant 'Saris' of women to the weathered walls of ancient buildings, every frame tells a story and photographers play with colors, textures and patterns, capturing the soul of the streets, where the bustling markets, roadside food stalls and graffiti-covered walls become their canvas.

Capturing emotion in portraiture
Indian street photography thrives on candid moments and offers an abundance of characters – smiling fruit vendors, contemplative 'Sadhus', curious children and weary labourers and these portraits reveal the human connection that transcends language and culture. In this photograph the Photographer is trying to draw the viewer's eye to the crinkles around his eyes and the thoughtful furrow of his brow as he is reading the newspaper. Each line seemed to narrate a chapter of his life, inviting the viewer to linger and listen.

The aperture of the camera can be adjusted to different optical fields
To freeze the raw emotion etched on the man's face and also to photograph the street, the photographer chose a 'Deep depth of field', which means that most of the image is in focus and is often the goal if the surroundings also should be in seen in the photograph. On the other hand, 'Shallow depth of field' refers to pictures where a particular subject is in focus, but the remainder of the image is blurred. You might have seen photographers try the 'Bokeh effect' in portrait photography, which is one of many instances you would use it.




"Indian street photography is a celebration of life, culture and humanity. It is a journey into the heart of India – one frame at a time. So grab your camera, hit the streets and discover the magic that unfolds in every corner of this incredible country"




Embracing the chaos in India
Indian streets are a symphony of sights and sounds a whirlwind of colors, textures and movement and to convey this vibrant energy, he opted for a wider frame. The man, seated amidst a kaleidoscope of passing faces and rickshaws, became a poignant anchor in the midst of this whirlwind. The contrast between his stillness and the city's ceaseless motion created a visual tension, drawing the viewer deeper into the frame.

Seizing the decisive moment
Henri Cartier-Bresson's philosophy echoed in the photographer's mind as he waited for the perfect moment. It was not just about capturing a scene, but about freezing a fleeting moment that revealed the essence of life. As the man glanced down in his newspaper, lost in thought, the photographer clicked the shutter. In that fraction of a second, he immortalized a moment of introspection a pause in the relentless march of time.

Play of light and shadow
The play of light and shadows is magical in Indian street photography, where the harsh sunlight casts dramatic silhouettes, while narrow alleys create intriguing patterns. Photographers chase the 'Golden hour', capturing fleeting moments bathed in warm hues and light in India dances with a unique fervor, painting every surface with its golden touch. In this photograph, the photographer embraced the interplay of light and shadow, where the morning sun, filtering through the labyrinth of buildings, cast dappled patterns on the man's face sand these contrasts added depth and drama, transforming a simple street scene into a chiaroscuro portrait.

Storytelling through composition
Street photography in India is not without challenges. Crowds, curious onlookers and sometimes even hostility can make it tricky. Yet, the rewards are immense the thrill of capturing a decisive moment, the satisfaction of preserving a slice of life and the joy of connecting with people. In this photograph the photographer framed the shot with careful consideration. The rule of thirds guided my composition, placing the man off-center to create a dynamic balance. The newspaper, folded neatly below him, served as a visual anchor, grounding the narrative in the present moment. Every element, from the blurred figures in the background to the peeling paint on the wall, contributed to the rich tapestry of the scene.




"In the labyrinthine streets of Mumbai, the photographer found more than just images the photographer discovered stories waiting to be told. Each face, each gesture, whispered of lives lived and moments savored. Indian street photography, to him, is not just a visual art form it is a celebration of life in its myriad hues"




The ordinary becomes extraordinary
Here, in the heart of India's bustling cities, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the mundane becomes magical. And in the silent language of a wrinkled face reading a newspaper, he found the true essence of Indian street photography a celebration of life, in all its unfiltered, unscripted glory. As the photographer bid farewell to the elderly man, lost once more in the news of the day, he carried with me a piece of his story. In the chaos of the streets, amidst the cacophony of life, he found his purpose to capture these fleeting moments of beauty and weave them into the tapestry of Indian street photography.

Capturing the essence of India's streets
India's streets offer a captivating canvas for photography enthusiasts. It is not just the breathtaking sights, but the vibrant faces of its people and the kaleidoscope of colors that make for exceptional subjects. If you are keen on exploring this rich photographic terrain, delve into the world of street photography with a trove of tips waiting for you. Immerse yourself in the archive stories on this India photography website, where a seasoned photographer has curated a collection of the best tips to elevate your street photography game. Whether you are capturing candid moments or crafting fine art through street portraits, there is a wealth of inspiration to be found.




"The essence of street photography, as shared by the photographer behind this lens, lies in freezing moments that reflect the human condition in public spaces. From the historic neighborhoods of Mumbai to the bustling streets elsewhere in India, each frame tells a story. It is not just about the presence of people – sometimes, the absence of human figures can speak volumes, with objects and environments taking center stage"




For the Photographer, the art of street photography transcends mere visuals it is a glimpse into the emotional history of a place. Through framing and timing, each shot aims to capture the essence of a moment, be it decisive, poignant or simply human. So, whether you find yourself amidst the lively streets of Mumbai or the quieter corners of India, let your lens weave tales of the vibrant tapestry that is India's street life.

Tips for street photography:
• Preparation
• Focusing
• Subjects
• Mono or color
• Equipment

Essential street photography tips for preparation and focus
For a street photographer, readiness is key to capturing the essence of the streets. Being prepared not only enhances the quality of your photographs but also adds to the ease and enjoyment of your time amidst the bustling scenes. Finding the perfect spot to frame your shots can make all the difference. In the vibrant tapestry of India's streets, expect the unexpected a daily offering of something different, new or intriguing. Anticipating the movements and actions of people becomes second nature, leading to those captivating moments frozen in time. When engaging in street photography, remember that focus extends beyond mere sharpness. Consider the depth of focus or depth of field to add layers to your compositions. These nuances elevate your images from mere snapshots to evocative portrayals of life on the streets.

Discover your photographic narrative or project
Among various photography genres, achieving a broad focus across the frame becomes crucial, particularly for street scenes. The photographer suggests an aperture setting of 'F/11' or smaller, emphasizing the need to capture the entirety of the scene rather than individual objects. Adjusting focus manually, if needed, can enhance these compositions. Selecting the right subject or subjects for your photographic journey through the vibrant streets of India requires thoughtful consideration. Before embarking on your photo walk, take a moment to ponder. A wonderful approach is to embrace a theme or set yourself a compelling project. This not only guides your lens but also infuses a narrative thread into your street photography, transforming each image into a part of a larger, more meaningful story.

Monochrome mastery from Indian legends
Street photography in India has been elevated to artistry through the monochrome mastery of legends like Raghu Rai. The diverse subjects, interplay of contrasting lights and the rich tapestry of textures and patterns create a canvas ripe for stunning black and white compositions. Many renowned street photographers favour the timeless allure of black and white and for good reason. Yet, this does not discount the potential of color in capturing remarkable moments. Here is a tip from the seasoned lens when shooting in black and white with digital cameras, converting color images to monochrome through software often yields superior results. This process allows for greater control and finesse in crafting evocative monochrome photographs.

Master your camera gear for Indian adventures
Before embarking on a photography expedition in India, it is crucial to ensure your camera equipment is primed for action. Make sure your batteries are fully charged and have an ample supply of memory cards at the ready. Additionally, consider pre-setting your aperture, exposure, and 'ISO' settings for anticipated scenarios. A seasoned photographer plans ahead, envisioning the subjects and locations likely to be encountered, along with the expected lighting conditions. The camera is securely slung on a hip-mounted strap, offering the advantage of quick access without drawing undue attention.

In the dynamic streets of not just Mumbai, but across India, captivating moments unfold in the blink of an eye. Those familiar with the lively pace of Indian streets understand the importance of readiness. By preparing your camera settings in advance and retaining the ability to adjust on the fly, you will enhance your chances of capturing those fleeting yet remarkable moments that define street photography in India.




"Diving into the art of street photography in India is an expedition into the soul of the nation. It transcends mere image capture – it is a narrative woven with each click, preserving fleeting moments and honoring the vibrant essence of life pulsating through India's bustling streets. With camera in hand, step into the whirlwind of chaos and watch as the enchanting tales of India's streets unfurl before your lens"





See this video about Indian street photography made by NSB Pictures.




Choosing the perfect camera for Indian street photography
"- Talented photographers, such as Neeraj Sharma Bhardwaj that is seen photographing in the above video, have carved their niche in Indian street photography, offering unique perspectives on daily life. The bustling streets of Mumbai serve as a vivid canvas, capturing the city's rich culture with every click of the shutter. Indian street photography thrives on transforming mundane scenes into captivating visual stories", the Photographer says.

"- As a devoted Nikon photographer, I find an unmatched thrill in navigating India's vibrant streets with my trusty camera in hand. From lively markets to serene temples, every corner of this diverse nation presents a photographic gem. While almost any camera can be used for street photography, the quality often aligns with the equipment's capabilities. Personally, I prefer Nikon cameras and opt for a fairly wide-angled lens to capture expansive street scenes", the Photographer says again.

"- Invaluable telephoto zoom Lenses Telephoto zoom lenses are indispensable
they allow scene isolation, detailed close-ups, and precise framing. Additionally, a wide aperture proves beneficial for shooting in shaded or dimly lit environments. Remember, street photography isn't just about honing your skills it's about experiencing a different view of life one filled with the endless characters and stories that India's streets offer", the Photographer says again.

"- As a Nikon enthusiast with an unyielding wanderlust, India's vibrant chaos, rich history and vivid colors have always beckoned. Finally venturing into its bustling streets, camera in hand, I found myself capturing every emotion, hue and moment before me. As my Indian journey draws to a close, I reflect on the myriad scenes I've frozen in time with my Nikon. From the vibrant chaos of a Mumbai bus junction to the intimate portraits of India, each photograph narrates a story. As I pack my camera and prepare to depart, these memories, immortalized in pixels and color, will forever resonate within me, reminiscing on my remarkable journey through India's vibrant streets", 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 with a newspaper in Mumbai. 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.

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