Ritesh Ghosh – The Making of a Photographer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
OUR FIRST MOVIE: “AT THE EDGE OF THE SEA – A photographic journey with the landscape photographer Andy Mumford”
“Greetings readers! I am Ritesh Ghosh and I describe myself as a visual storyteller. Simply put, I am a photographer who loves telling stories through his images. My journey as an artist began unknowingly many years ago when I owned a point-and-shoot camera, which I carried with me during family trips. I loved clicking family moments unaware of the vast areas of photography which were out there waiting to be explored. After completing my MBA and working for seven years with a private bank in India, I switched my job and had to leave India for an international assignment. My point-and-shoot also eventually got upgraded to the Fujifilm X100S. Currently, I am a full-time photographer, having quit my corporate career in pursuit of my passion. I own two camera bodies, the X-T1 and X-T3, with a set of six Fujinon lenses. Street is where my heart is while I also love documenting festivals while travelling in India and abroad. I believe that my journey in the second innings of life has just begun and I have a long way to go in the hope of discovering the photographer within me. “