The Click and the Craft: Learning Film Photography from Jagdish Yadav Sir

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While the digital age offers instant gratification with its endless ‘clicks,’ film photography, as Jagdish Yadav sir emphasized in the workshop, is about ‘making’ a deliberate artistic choice.

Sir’s class was more than just technicalities of the black and white world. It delved into its interrelation between conceptual understanding and practical application. He emphasized the camera as an extension of one’s identity, a tool that goes beyond capturing moments.

He constantly reminded us that the true test lies in the field, where moments demand immediate action – Where a photographer anticipates and captures the essence of a scene. These decisive moments, as Henri Cartier-Bresson aptly called them, are the very essence of Sir’s photojournalism, honed through years of experience and countless captivating stories he generously shared with us. His anecdotes were like a spotlight illuminating the man behind the camera, reminding us that the world is often captivated by what the camera captures, but rarely delves into the heart and mind behind the camera! Where in essence the story behind the exposure lies!

One of my most significant takeaways from the workshop is the concept of exclusivity in film photography. The limited number of shots on a roll forces a deliberate and patient approach. Each shot becomes precious, pushing to refine an artist’s composition and understanding of light. This straight out of camera (SOOC) approach hones skills, forcing to evoke artistic expression through careful capture rather than relying on post-processing crutches. Furthermore, film photography not only saves memory and extends camera life, but also nurtures a deeper artistic connection with the process.

Sir also highlighted a fascinating aspect: the flexibility of film output size. Unlike digital, where high-end cameras are needed for large prints, film offered the freedom to create magnificent prints from a single shot. Film negatives allow for scalability, creating versatility even with basic equipment. This lesson underscored that true mastery lies in the photographer’s vision, not just the technology itself.

The darkroom sessions were fascinating. Watching the enlarger, developer bath, fixer and test strips unveil the magic, witnessing it with other students, myself included, eagerly anticipating the black and white prints – was a shared moment of wonder. In a world obsessed with instant clicks, the workshop where we witnessed the slow art of making a photograph, a product of effort and artistry, felt almost magical. This is a rarity in our digital world!

The exposure with Jagdish Yadav Sir wasn’t just on film photography. The workshop was about slowing down, appreciating the moment, and weaving our perspectives with lights and shadows, ultimately resulting in a true photograph.

Anindith Gowda Kochi Baarike
MFA (Sem II), IIP Academy

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