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Skywalking on thin air

How do you break the monotony of a desk-job? You could think of many ways but would you pick sky-walking? The mere idea of mustering up enough courage to see the world from some of the highest construction points in our city would get many of us nauseated. But, this's exactly what Ukranian sky-walker Mustang Wanted does. Once a legal advisor, he has now taken roof-topping to another level. "There was no push". he says on taking up sky walking. Not only does he climb those dizzying heights, he makes a mockery of it by dangling over the corners, sometimes with just the grip of one hand. Yes, that's what separates his astonishing feat from becoming a horrifying news. Relying on his immense upper body strength, he doesn't has the comfort of a safety net or a safety line as a back-up measure if something was to go wrong.

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Surfing for photographs

Andrew Cooney is an up and coming landscape and wave photographer with a passion for nature. Andrew’s love of photography started in 2010 and since then he has achieved recognition both here in Australia as well as internationally. He has already had a vast amount of experience including photo shoots for album covers, entering many photo competitions and even trying his hand at timelapse photography, which was used for an Australian country music video. With the help of his friends and family, Andrew has achieved great success for someone so young.

When was it when you knew that it was surf that would define your photography?

Ever since I started photography, I was always wanting to shoot waves and surfers. It wasn’t until I finally got my underwerwater Housing that I realised how much I loved it. The thing that pushes me is that there is no one in my area shooting amazing wave photographs, so to be able to perfect it would be the biggest achievement.

What would you say are some of the toughest challenges of surf photography?

Getting in the wave of surfers, or being caught in the set getting pounded.

Which are your favourite locations to shoot, travel and surf?

The Central Coast of NSW, Australia is my primary location to shoot. I have always lived here and always shot here. I’ve been to New Zealand at it is amazing, but it just does not have the variety that the Central Coast has. From great surf, rock formations along the beach and some incredible sunrises, to outback country landscapes, old trucks, windmills and sheds to beautiful waterfalls. My home place definitely delivers photographically.

“I will normally only stop shooting when I run out of shots or if the conditions are really bad.”

With waves after waves crashing in, how do you know when to call it quits and when you have the perfect shot you are looking for?

I was never one to charge the big huge waves, but the Central Coast doesn’t have that, so it’s never been an issue. The biggest surf I have been in would have to be about 6 foot shorebreak and that was pretty scary. I never go out there to get a particular shot in mind, I kinda just decide what I wantg when I’m out there and depending on the conditions. If I think I’ve got “the shot” I stay in and try and get an even better shot. I will normally only stop shooting when I run out of shots or if the conditions are really bad.

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Out on the streets

After completing an M.A. in political economy at The New School For Social Research, Ed Peters became interested in photography. Heworked as a freelance photographer before joining the staff of The Star Ledger in Newark , New Jersey. He then relocated to Asia where he photographed the plight of Burmese refugees and the pro democracy movement in Nepal. After returning to the United States, he joined the photo agency, Impact Visuals. As a member of the agency, he photographed a wide variety of stories. These include : famine in Somalia, war in the former Yugoslavia and the continuing AIDS crisis. During these years his work appeared in many publications and he was the recipient of a New Jersey State Council On The Arts fellowship. He now focuses on his personal work , with an emphasis on street photography.

From Political Economy to photo-journalism and now street photography, how did these transformations happen? Walk us through it.

My introduction to photography was gradual. After completing an M.A., I was working as a caseworker for a governmental social services agency. One of my roommates had a girlfriend ,who was a photographer and she got me interested. As time passed, I became more intrigued with photography and left my job as a caseworker. I later worked for various newspapers and was a member of a photo agency. I'm now retired and my work revolves around street photography.

Both street photography and photojournalism are known mediums to evoke responses and convey stories through amazing photographs. Do the resemblance between the two ends here and what are the intricate differences?

"Street photography is more open ended, ambiguous in meaning and typically focuses on the banal events of daily life."

I'm not sure that street photography tells stories. Photojournalism usually creates images that have relatively precise meanings. It concentrates on news events and attempts to both influence and inform ,viewers about those events.These kind of images exhibit a greater narrative quality than most street photography. Street photography is more open ended, ambiguous in meaning and typically focuses on the banal events of daily life. It does, however, depict those events in a manner that is more suggestive than declarative. A good example, of what I'm talking about , is the first picture in Robert Frank's book, The Americans. It shows two women, watching a parade - but the parade is never seen. Instead, Frank shows them peering from darkened windows, their faces obscured by the American flag. Frank used that photograph , to set the emotional tone, for all the images that followed. The Americans is a great book, but it isn't a conventional journalistic essay. It's something that's much more impressionistic.

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Photography as a story teller

Leena Kejriwal is a photographer and installation artist and specializes in books, history and human stories.Her photographs capture the joy of living and tells a story of human lives as never told before. She is a member of British Institute of Professional Photography(BIPP) and also Photographers Guild of Pune(PGI). She has held various exhibitions depicting life on the streets like Kalikatha, A life of its own, Babu Bibi Series, Hampi- Living History, Easy City Kolkata, etc. She was on a Indo-French "Artists in Residence" program and her work was showcased in 2006 as part of the innovative cultural dialogue between the two countries. She has designed book cover for Kalikatha, Shesh Kadambari and Koi Baat Nahin by Alka Saraogi. She has worked as a principal photographer of a book based on Shiva conceptualized by Rajiv Sethi of the Asian Heritage Foundation. Leena was also one of the Super Six, the brand ambassadors for Fujifilm in 2005.

You could have been a model, why did you opt for photography?

You serious? I never thought I could, probably because I come from the old school background where we grew up without an ambitious bone and a lackadaisical; happy go lucky, laid back, full of fun and no studies background. I picked up photography only after college when I had all the time in the world and nothing much to do. I was always arty so loved the way the camera helped me frame images.

I was always arty so loved the way the camera helped me frame images

You were interested in art and thus you opted for photography. What made you choose photography in particular?

You seem to have read my mind here. I picked up the camera when my younger brother bought me one back home from his holiday. It was a manual one and so I had to learn about the behaviour of apertures, shutter speeds, etc. In the beginning it sounded too technical, but guess I was a passive learner.

Does your childhood and your family background have an impact on your photography? Does family support matter while choosing a career in photography?

There you go again. Bingo! I don’t think my childhood or family has an impact other than the initiation into the camera through my younger brother. I was always artistic and slowly started enjoying myself with the camera. I had loads of time after graduation so I joined the only available basic Photography Course for a year. There weren’t many choices in Kolkata; it was a small city back then bit I managed to get a lot out of it. I think family support matters in wherever one does.

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Into the world beyond

Bagrad Badalian is a 23 year old photographer and graphic designer living in Brussels, Belgium. A photographer and a frequent traveller, Bagrad has already carved a niche for himself for his seemingly different images, which are tailor-made to adorn exhibits. He is into experimental photography and tries to bring in new elements through his pictures. Having evolved in an artistic environment since his childhood, as both of his parents were painters, he has inherited an undeniable artistic gift. 

Bagrad’s photography resembles painting, a great concern for detail and a perfect sense of composition. His mastery of the photographic techniques is conspicuous and his art is indescribable, it is lived, it is felt. It opens a path to our interrogations, our dreams and nightmares, it shatters our beliefs, stimulates our desires. 

What made to take up photography? How did you start off as a photographer?

Around 2008 I bought a camera and started shooting all kinds of things. I then realized that I liked working in a studio, an empty canvas where silence is the setting by default.

What would you call your genre? Most of your pictures don\'t fit in any particular type yet are compelling.

Expressionism, Experimental Photography, Light Painting. I don\'t like the idea of having a genre, copying myself would be worse than copying others so I try to reinvent my styles most of the time.

“I don\'t like the idea of having a genre, copying myself would be worse than copying others so I try to reinvent my styles most of the time.”

What is experimental photography and what made to choose this different genre?

In my opinion, experimental photography is what stands in the middle of Painting and Sculpture. It is to sculpt a flat image. In its early days, photography was a scientific and experimental tool. I want to keep things that way. I want to find ways to look at reality from unusual angles, and then express myself through them.

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