Ritesh Ghosh – The Making of a Photographer

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Ritesh Ghosh

"Greetings!!! Iam a Kolkata born photography enthusiast who loves shooting with the Fuji mirrorless system. I have been a Banker by profession since 2007 until I realised that I love making pictures more than anything else. I stepped into the world of photography about 2 years ago and have been putting in my efforts to evolve as a Street Photographer..."

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Hello Ritesh Ghosh! It’s a pleasure to have you again in the Fuji X Passion project, this time to be interviewed.
Could you make a brief presentation of yourself?
Hello and Thank You for having me once again on Fuji X Passion. My name is Ritesh Ghosh and I am an aspiring X-Photographer from Kolkata. I have been into Photography since the last 3 years now with the Street/Documentary style being my preferred area of work. It is my constant endeavor to try and bring out the stories of everyday occurrences and people interactions for my viewers.

1/60sec, f.4, ISO 4000
1/60sec, f.4, ISO 4000
1/80sec, f.2.5, ISO 3200
1/80sec, f.2.5, ISO 3200

Your life story, from the time you worked in a Bank until you became a street and documentary photographer, is quite interesting. Would you like to share with our readers?
Surely. Well to introduce myself as a Street Photographer would not have been possible 8 years ago when I was just a regular guy working as a cashier with a Private Bank. Although I had been creatively inclined since childhood the regular 9 to 5 grind left me with almost no time to discover and nurture the potential within me. I am a person who is constantly driven by creativity and the urge to interact with people. Photography as a medium to express myself compelled me to step down from my Corporate avatar and step into the world of photography. In January 2014, I decided to hang up my boots. With the little savings that I had managed to garner I acquired my first DSLR camera. Looking at the world around me through the little glass window (better known as the viewfinder), I began getting intrigued day by day realizing that this is exactly what I would love to do for the rest of my life. I was running out of money hence took up a temporary job in Dubai only to return a year later. Since then there has been no looking back and I committed myself to become a fulltime Street Photographer.

1/125sec, f.5, ISO1600
1/125sec, f.5, ISO1600
1/200 sec , f.1.4, ISO 1600
1/200 sec , f.1.4, ISO 1600

Who were your main influences when you started your interest in Photography?
Coming from a corporate background with no formal training in Photography I had little idea about Photographers and their work. Initially, when I started shooting with the Canon 600D it took me a while to decide what or which genre I wanted to pursue. Once I had that figured out I started following tutorials on YouTube till one day my friend shared with me a video of eminent Street Photographer Zack Arias. I was immediately drawn to his work and the gear that he was using. So yes I would say that Zack Arias had a major influence on me when I started my interest in Photography. I would also give him credit for inspiring me to switch my gear and become a devoted Fuji user. Presently I follow Vineet Vohra, Steve McCurry and Henry Cartier Bresson.

1/200sec, f.3.2, ISO3200
1/200sec, f.3.2, ISO3200
1/200sec, f.4, ISO3200
1/200sec, f.4, ISO3200

Looking at the evolution your portfolio has had, we can notice that very early you left the typical street photography candid shots to a more documentary style. In other words, you traded the randomness of several single street photos, to build a portfolio of stories. In each project, you document people’s lives. And they are consciously photographed, many times looking at the camera.
You moved from a style of “reaction” to what’s happening in your surroundings, to the “interaction” with the people you are photographing. How did this change happen and why?
This is really a good question and I am happy to know that this has been noticed and followed by you so closely. I would like to clarify here that I have not left the so called ‘typical’ street photography while doing the documentary style of work. Street Photography for me has been something that I love to do more often when I am not documenting the lives of people. As an active member of a couple of photography groups on Facebook, I have had the opportunity to work on a couple of projects where I have documented the lifestyle of individuals from different cultural backgrounds. It gave me an opportunity to travel places and learn at the same time through interactive discussion. I would love to work on more such projects in the future but not at the cost of giving up or moving away from street photography.

1/500sec, f.16, ISO 1600
1/500sec, f.16, ISO 1600
1/400sec, f.8, ISO 4000
1/400sec, f.8, ISO 4000

Approaching people must be the main difficulty for most of the photographers. How do you do it?
Yes, I have seen many photographers having difficulty while approaching people. As a street photographer my take on this would be to be yourself. Whenever I am out on the streets, I try to shed all inhibitions and approach people with a positive body language. Asking to get someone photographed is not a crime or a punishable offense. However, if someone feels uncomfortable being clicked in public I leave him/her alone and move on. Approaching someone with a smile has also helped me on many occasions. After taking my shot I do go up to that person to show him/her the image clicked on my camera and thank him/her for cooperating. I believe in keeping things simple by mostly taking candid shots without my subject realizing that he /she is being photographed.

1/320sec, f.11, ISO 1600
1/320sec, f.11, ISO 1600
1/320sec, f.7.1, ISO 1600
1/320sec, f.7.1, ISO 1600

What’s your current gear setup? And could you explain your choices, according to the type of photography you do?
Currently I own the X100s and the X-T1 with 3 lenses. The 16mm 1.4, the 18-55mm 2.8 and the 50-140mm 2.8. This lineup gives me a wide focal range from 16 to 140mm which I believe is just what I require to deliver. I mostly have the 16mm on my camera when I am shooting in difficult or low light conditions e.g. Inside a market. I really love the angle of view I get from the 16. For outdoor daytime shooting with proper lighting conditions I prefer using the 18-55mm. It is by far the best ‘kit lens’ available with tack sharp output and a fast AF. The 50-140mm is used mostly for environmental portraits.

1/640sec, f.10, ISO 3200
1/640sec, f.10, ISO 3200

If you had to choose only one camera and lens combination to shoot an entire project, which would it be?
Fuji X-T1 with the 16mm 1.4.
I have already covered an entire project with this setup and trust me I had no regrets.

1/200sec, f.10, ISO 4000
1/200sec, f.10, ISO 4000

How much time do you spend everyday, just shooting, without taking in consideration the time you spend in post processing and updating your social networks?
On days when I am shooting street I spend something around 3-4 hours daily which also includes extensive walking. I usually prefer an early morning shoot when the light is just perfect so I hit the streets by 6am and wind up by 10:30am. Sometimes I even do double shifts shooting both in the morning and evening (health and weather permitting).

1/500sec, f.5, ISO 3200
1/500sec, f.5, ISO 3200

Speaking of post processing, what’s your usual workflow from the capture to the final image?
Unlike Landscape, street photography requires minimum post processing. I generally try to keep my images simple with minimal post processing. Most of my editing is done using Snapseed and LR on my Smartphone itself. The basic editing which I do includes shadow opening and contrast adjustments with minor dodging and burning.

1/100sec, f.11, ISO 1600
1/100sec, f.11, ISO 1600

What plans do you have for the near future? And, in 5 years from now, which goals would you like to reach?
Well I constantly aspire to work harder to uplift the quality of my images. I wish to become an official Fuji X Photographer in the days ahead and get my work to reach people across the Globe. I would love to work with Zack Arias and be his apprentice. Finally I would want to have my solo exhibition someday to be attended by all the X Photographer’s around the world. Wouldn’t mind having some of my images being auctioned as well.

1/60sec, f.5, ISO 1000
1/60sec, f.5, ISO 1000

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  • Excellent work Ritesh

  • Troy Phillips

    Yes I agree great work. To me you seem to be capturing the (essence) or soul of the situation. I see and feel your photos. This is what street and documentary is all about. Best of luck