Welcome Portrait & Street Photographer Mahesh Balasubramanian to James Robinson Photography Blog. Thank you Mahesh for sharing time with us.
Mahesh Balasubramanian: Thanks a lot James for approaching me for the interview.
JRP: Where do you call home Mahesh?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I am from Chennai, one of the city from South India. Chennai is a “Cultural capital of South India“. There is so much tradition in daily life. The city is surrounded by ancient temples. There are old streets and new urban landscapes. This is a lovely place for photographers.
JRP: How did you get your start in photography?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I love photography from my college days. I use to shoot with my friend’s film camera during our tour back then but I never thought I would get into serious photography until 2008. I started photography in 2008 to help with a stressed out corporate life but, then it became a serious passion. I started shooting whatever I found beautiful landscapes, nature or people. Then I realized that people photography was the one which gave me so much happiness and started concentrating on that. Now, I can’t think of living without a camera and shooting pictures.
JRP: Who are some of the photographers that have inspired you and influenced your work?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I admire and have been inspired by many Masters like Ansel Adams, Henri-Cartier, Elliot, Raghubir Singh, Raghu Rai, Alex Webb, etc. Steve McCurry is one of my great inspirations for people photography. I also love Cole Thompson’s work. I also get inspiration and are influenced by my fellow photographers in India and Chennai.
JRP: What is it about street portraits that turns on your creative light?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I love taking pictures of faces. By a glance, face tells story. Anything conveying with undercurrents of emotions is character. The challenge is once the mouth and the eyes tell two different stories at the same time. I try to take the convergence. I mostly take close-up portraits and I take pictures with their permission. I watch people and if I find something unique or something special about their eyes, gestures or expressions I approach them. It is not easy to straight away start clicking pictures. I am a slow photographer by that I mean I don’t take pictures instantly. I always make use of good ambient light so, I plan for a portrait and ask them to pose for me in specific places which have good lighting and backgrounds in their own environment.
I strive to portray their inner heart and soul through the expressions in the eyes. I believe that through the subject’s eyes and expression, one can get a feeling of the person’s emotions, state of mind, happiness or sorrow. It is my goal to make portraits which will connect the viewers and the subjects directly. I want my viewers to go through my subject’s eyes and understand the soul in the picture.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I don’t have big kit these days. I have a Canon 5D Mark II with Sigma 35mm. I also have 24-105.
JRP: Do you use flash in your work or strictly available light?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I don’t use flash and highly depend on natural light.
JRP: Describe your digital work flow and the software you use? What do you think one must do to master image processing?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I always take pictures in RAW format. It helps me to do better and simple post processing. I use Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC for post processing. My work flow would be correcting contrast, colors, shadow and highlights in Camera Raw itself. Photoshop is used to further correct anything if required.
JRP: When you look through the view finder what do you feel is the most critical moment in the capture of your images?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: A great picture should have strong content and nice way to present it with beautiful composition and light. I am trying to achieve this. This is what I consider most critical moment.
JRP: Has there been a shoot or project that revealed to you the distance you’ve come as a photographic artist?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I think to understand there is still a long way to go. .
JRP: If not photography what would Mahesh Balasubramanian be doing with his time?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: I am not a full-time photographer. I work in a software firm for a living. Whenever I get time I go for a photo shoot. So if not photography I would have concentrated more on my software skills.
JRP: So far what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: “Concentrate more on the content rather than aesthetic part of the picture.”
JRP: What advice would you share with other photographers?
Mahesh Balasubramanian: Believe in yourself. Take pictures from your heart. I mean, whatever you like, you take pictures of that. I use to shoot a daily picture in early days to understand the technique. It really helped me to get the basis of technique. Once we know the basis of technique then the camera is just a tool to capture what we want to communicate to others.
JRP: Thank you Mahesh for sharing this time with us. It has been a pleasure and we wish you continued success.
Mahesh Balasubramanian: Thanks a lot for allowing me to express myself and my photographic journey.
JRP: To view more of Mahesh Balasubramanian’s photography please follow this link: