Guru Charan or “Gucha” as I fondly call him is a street photographer from Bengaluru. An IT engineer by profession, he found his calling in Street photography. Guru’s unique brand of simple yet intimate photography has seen him shoot to fame among various photography circles across the world. PhotoConcierge is thrilled to feature Guru Charan, the street photographer extraordinaire as its ‘Featured Photographer Of The Week!’
1) The Indian street scene can be chaotic, full of life and interesting characters interacting within an entanglement of vibrant colors. Amongst the chaos, how do you choose your subjects?
My ideology towards photography can be best summed up as “Content is more important than form”.
To express the same in photographic analogy is to say that expression and feel are most important aspects of a photograph. I have tried layering and/or heavy composition with multiple characters filling the frame but alas I found that even though the photograph was composed perfectly, it was lacking in expression and thus making it harder for the viewer to empathize with the subject. Therefore when I photograph I give paramount importance to expression and go for a simple but more intimate composition, lifting the subject out of its chaotic surroundings into a more serene world for my viewer to comprehend.
To answer your question, I listen, feel, observe and let my heart guide my lens. If something catches my fancy, I click.
2) Your photographs bring out the fleeting intimate emotions of your subjects, a rarity in today’s fast-paced world. You can give an insight into how you click such intimate photographs?
For a viewer to empathize with the subject, first the photographer must empathize with it. I love to interact with my subjects, I interact with everyone from the tiny tots to the elderly, learn their story and try to express what I felt through my photographs. I never adopt a rigid shooting style instead, I go with the flow, taking whatever the universe offers me. Sometimes I take a step back and let the story naturally unfold or when clarity is needed I get into the midst of things.
3) Your Photography has been evolving a lot over the years, so what is the next phase in this ever-continuing evolution?
I wouldn’t call it evolution, I adapt to the seasons and the surroundings. For example, during summer you get good golden light during golden hour which makes for good back-lit photos, when it’s cloudy you have soft light which makes for good portraits, during the monsoon you have freshness in the air, come October and early November the festival season sets in and brings with it a wave of energy, winter is also special with fog and mist dancing about leaving us gloomy and sleepy. It’s not the photographer who evolves but it is the world that is constantly changing, we are nothing but an observer, observing, adapting and documenting.
4) While a lot of photographers horde all the latest and greatest gear out there, you keep it simple with two lenses. Can you enlighten us about your gear selection ?
I shoot the lion’s share of my pictures with either my 85mm f/1.8 or 14-24mm lens. The lens selection comes down whether I’m looking to emphasize the emotion or offer a different perspective. I use my 85mm to get close and isolate those elusive emotions.
Whenever there is good light I go wide with my 14-24mm lens to get a more wholesome composition with leading lines, frames, etc. It also gives my photos that distorted perspective which I crave.
5) You have gained a considerable fan following over the past few years. What is it about your photographs that attracts so many people?
To be frank my photography is very simple photography with more emphasis on emotion. It is this simplicity I feel that helps a wide range of viewers connect with my work. I don’t really look to cater to a specific audience because that will make my work repetitive.