Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are learning about taking Street photography in India by portraying a sleeping young man in Mumbai.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
India, a land of diverse cultures, vibrant traditions and bustling streets, often presents a unique blend of the expected and the unexpected. Among the many facets of life that catch the eye of visitors, one particularly striking aspect is the phenomenon of street sleeping. This practice, born out of necessity and circumstance, paints a vivid picture of resilience and adaptation in the face of urban challenges. Such scenes are a memorable representation of street photography in India, capturing the raw and unfiltered reality of everyday life.
India, a land of diverse cultures, vibrant traditions and bustling streets, often presents a unique blend of the expected and the unexpected. Among the many facets of life that catch the eye of visitors, one particularly striking aspect is the phenomenon of street sleeping. This practice, born out of necessity and circumstance, paints a vivid picture of resilience and adaptation in the face of urban challenges. Such scenes are a memorable representation of street photography in India, capturing the raw and unfiltered reality of everyday life.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on May 21, 2024

Street photography in India

India makes it easy for a traveler to present impressive photos to those who stayed at home. Sights of all kinds and hardly a day without colorful festivals and street markets invite you to have the camera at every turn. And in addition a unique willingness of the Indian population in front of the camera, leaves hardly to be desired. What can make your street photography even better, the photographer has summarized here in some interesting points.

What defines street photography?

Street photography, a genre of photography that records everyday life in a public place. The very publicness of the setting enables the photographer to take candid pictures of strangers, often without their knowledge.

Street photography techniques in India
India, with its kaleidoscope of colors, cultures and contrasts, offers a treasure trove of opportunities for photographers, especially those passionate about street photography. Capturing the essence of daily life in India's bustling streets requires not only a keen eye but also a mastery of specific techniques that bring these moments to life in vivid detail. One of the most fundamental aspects of street photography in India is the art of blending in. The country's streets are teeming with life, such as the Vibrant markets of Mumbai. To capture authentic and candid moments, photographers must learn to become a part of the scene rather than a distant observer. This often means immersing oneself in the rhythm of the streets, allowing the sights, sounds and smells to guide the lens.

Another crucial technique is the use of natural light. India's sunlight, whether it is the soft glow of dawn or the golden hues of sunset, can transform ordinary scenes into extraordinary photographs. Street photographers often seek out interesting play of light and shadows, using them to create depth and drama in their compositions and every corner offers a new interplay of light waiting to be captured.

Composition is also important in Indian street photography
With the chaos and vibrancy of the streets, photographers must train their eyes to find order within the apparent disorder. Leading lines, juxtapositions and framing techniques come into play, helping to create visually compelling stories within a single frame. Whether it is a solitary figure against a colorful backdrop of 'Saris' or a group of children playing cricket amidst the chaos of Mumbai, the art of composition elevates a photograph from a mere snapshot to a captivating narrative.

Take your time in India
This is the most important tip that the photographer can give. Nobody wants to be taken a photo of immediately and this leaves an uncomfortable feeling even for the photo-enthusiastic Indians, so be prepared for the situation. Sit down and watch, let the camera down first and arrive. You do not believe how many people you are watching without your noticing it. Whether in the commercial street, the park with the sights, the market or elsewhere, we stand out. It has often happened to the photographer that someone has approached him and asked if he would not like to take a picture of him. He would have seen that the photographer had been here for some time, taking pictures. In most cases, people lose interest in foreigners over time.

Patience is a virtue in Indian street photography
The beauty of the country's streets lies in its unpredictability, with every moment offering a new story waiting to unfold. Photographers often spend hours in a single location, waiting for the perfect combination of elements to come together. Whether it is the arrival of a brightly decorated procession during a festival or the spontaneous laughter of children chasing each other down a dusty alley, the reward for patience is often a photograph that speaks volumes.

Communicate when you are doing street photography
The least that one should do before triggering is to point nicely to the camera and ask for permission. It is much better to show interest in your motive. First, let the camera down, have a chat, ask what is being made or sold here, tell about yourself. Show people that you are interested in them, then the invitation to take pictures often comes by itself. Whether that was the audience with a 'Sadhu', the invitation to a wedding, the photographing of street photography, all this did not come about because of his camera, but because he was intentionally interested.

Once the first pictures have been taken, they will be displayed on your screen. If there is something to laugh about, the ice is finally broken. If you fly to India, you generally want to take pictures. As many motives and opportunities as they are in India can be found in hardly any other country everything is new and different. The prohibited subjects include all military facilities, airports, railway stations and various areas of tribal princes. Pay attention to who is in the area it can be expected a variety of reactions that are not always pleasant.

Street photos from India
In India you can take excellent street pictures. Not only the fabulous sights, but above all the faces of the people and the many colors in the country are outstanding motives. The best and easiest way to do this is to check out more tips for street photography, where the photographer has compiled the best photo tips for you and listed them in many of the archive stories here on the India photography website, so that you can revel in vacation memories even more in the future.

Much of what is regarded, stylistically and subjectively, as definitive Street photography was made in the era spanning the end of the 19th century through to the late 1970s, which was a photographic period which saw the emergence of portable cameras that enabled Candid photography in public places and many years later the photographer of this website explains:

"For me as a street photographer, I try to create fine art photography, which is including street portraits by capturing people in public places, often with a focus on emotions displayed, thereby also recording people's history from an emotional point of view. Social documentary photographers document people and their behavior in public places for the purpose of recording people's history and other purposes"

For the Photographer the topic of street photography is photography that features the human condition within public places like this neighborhood in Mumbai and as it is seen on LensCulture. As a traveling photographer he finds that street photography does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment, but the subject in street photography might be absent of people like the people portrayed in the street of this archive story or it can be an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic. Framing and timing can be key aspects of the craft with the aim of some street photography being to create images at a decisive or poignant moment in Mumbai or elsewhere in India.

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

As a street photographer it is essential to be prepared in the streets because this not only can improve the quality of your photography but when your are prepared by finding a good spot to take the photos is something that also makes it easier and more enjoyable when being in the streets. When you are photographing here you should expect to see something different, new or intriguing almost everyday. As a photographer doing this genre of photography in India one should anticipate the actions of people and the result will be a good photograph. Another thing to remember when doing street photography is focusing, not only sharpness but depth of focus or depth of field.

Find a photographic story or project
More than other genres of photography one need as much of the photograph in focus and the photographer is opinion that it is not so for individual objects but rather for street scenes so set you aperture to 'F/11' or smaller and manually focus if necessary. Choice of a subject or subjects for your photo walk through the streets of an Indian street can be an effort so think about it before you start. A great idea is to choose a theme or set yourself a little project before starting photographing.

Monochrome images from masters
Street photography lends itself to great monochrome images through many Indian masters such as Raghu Rai and the variety of subjects, the contrasting lighting as well as textures and patterns result in wonderful black and white images. A lot of street photography by the more reputable photographers is mainly in black and white but that does not mean color gives good results. One tip here about photographing in black and white with digital, the photographer found out that converting color to black and white after the photo was taken using software most times results in a better monochrome photographer.

Know your camera equipment in India
When the photographer is venturing to India to take photos, of course, the batteries are full and memory cards at hand. In addition, the photographer has preset aperture, exposure and 'ISO' for likely scenarios. That is, he is thinking of what and where he will possibly be photographing and how the lighting conditions will be. The camera he wears by means of a camera strap on the hip and this has the advantages that it will not be seen right away and he has it ready to fire at lightning speed. Anyone who has ever been in not only in Mumbai but all over India, knows how fast an interesting subject can appear in street photography. If you have prepared the camera and are still able to change settings as needed, your yield will be even better.

"Mastering street photography techniques in India is a journey of discovery and immersion into the heart of the country. It is about more than just capturing images it is about telling stories, preserving moments and celebrating the vibrant tapestry of life found in India's streets. So, grab your camera, venture out into the chaos and let the magic of India's streets unfold before your lens"

Street sleeping in India – a reflection of resilience and adaptation
India's cities, from the sprawling metropolis of Mumbai to the historic streets of Delhi, are home to millions. These urban centers, while offering opportunities, also present significant challenges, particularly regarding housing. The high cost of living, coupled with limited affordable housing, forces many individuals to seek unconventional sleeping arrangements. For numerous street vendors, daily labourers and the homeless, the streets become both workplace and bedroom.

A day in the life
Imagine walking through the streets of Mumbai at dawn. The city, known for its relentless pace, is slowly waking up. Among the stirring activities, you might notice a young man asleep on his small vendor desk, his body curled up amidst his wares. This sight, while surprising to some, is a testament to the adaptability of the human spirit. The phenomenon also brings to light the communal aspect of Indian society. In many instances, local communities offer support to those sleeping on the streets, whether through food, blankets or simply a watchful eye. This sense of shared responsibility underscores the collective spirit that often defines Indian communities.

For many street vendors, their stalls are not just a means of livelihood but also a place of rest. After a long day of selling goods, the effort of commuting to distant suburbs or paying for even the most basic accommodation is often impractical. Thus, these vendors opt to sleep where they work, maximizing their hours of rest and ensuring they are ready to start business at the crack of dawn.

"Street sleeping in India is deeply intertwined with socio-economic factors. The rapid urbanization and influx of people seeking better opportunities have strained the infrastructure of cities. Despite India's growing economy, the benefits are unevenly distributed, leaving a significant portion of the population to fend for themselves in harsh conditions"

See this video about street photography in India made by Smit Enough.

Which camera for street photography?
"- Many talented photographers have carved a niche in Indian street photography, each presenting a unique perspective on the country's everyday life. Exploring the bustling streets of Mumbai offers a rich canvas for Indian street photography enthusiasts, capturing the city's vibrant culture and daily life in every frame. The art of Indian street photography lies in its ability to find beauty in the ordinary, turning mundane moments into captivating visual narratives. Learning street photography techniques in India can be an immersive experience, blending the country's diverse landscapes with the art of capturing candid moments in its bustling streets", the Photographer says.

"- As a passionate Nikon photographer, there's nothing quite like the thrill of exploring the vibrant streets of India with my camera in hand. From the chaotic markets to the serene temples, every corner of this diverse country offers a unique photographic opportunity. Just about any camera can be used in street photography. Of course, the better the camera the better the quality of the photo. I'm using Nikon and prefer to have a camera or lens that is fairly wide-angled as this allows me to include more of the street scenes in the photo", the Photographer says again.

"- Telephoto zoom lenses are also handy as they allow you to isolate scenes, pick out detail and frame your subjects more tightly. A large aperture helps when photographing in shade or lower light inside markets or public buildings. Overall street photography should be fun and help you grow in your overall skills. It brings you back to reality and sometimes results in you viewing life differently in India, where life is full of characters and subjects that are almost endless in the neverending streets"
, the Photographer says again.

"- As a Nikon photographer with an insatiable wanderlust, India had always beckoned to me with promises of vibrant chaos, rich history, and unmatched colors. Finally, the day arrived when I found myself amidst the bustling streets of this kaleidoscopic country, camera in hand, ready to capture every moment, every emotion, every hue that danced before me. As my journey through India comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the countless moments I've captured with my Nikon camera. From the street photography and to the portraits in Mumbai, each photograph tells a story of this vibrant and diverse country. And as I pack away my camera and prepare to return home, I know that these memories will stay with me forever, immortalized in pixels and color", 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 a sleeping young man 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.