Saumen Paul is a young and budding photographer from Assam who loves candid photography and enjoys capturing the various moods of the people he is surrounded by.
In conversation with The Story Mug, the young photographer speaks at length about his work and aspirations.
TSM: When did the photographer's bug bite you?
Saumen: I always loved clicking but never thought I am good at it. I still think of myself to be just an average photographer who is still learning.
The photographer’s bug bit me when my brother gave me his DSLR. That is when I started to click quite often, before that I would click rarely but DSLR wasn’t my thing. I was not enjoying clicking pictures with a DSLR camera as it brings a lot of attention and I like to stay invisible when am clicking.
I always preferred clicking with phones but phone cameras did not have such good quality back then. Not anymore though, now they do and I love clicking with my phone. The bug may have bitten me when I had the DSLR but the Infection only spread after I had a phone with a good camera.
TSM: What was the first photograph you clicked?
Saumen: My first photograph has to be the one I clicked back in the early 2000s, probably around 2004-2005, when I was just a kid.
My dad was a photographer himself and he had a camera of his own. Do you know the ones with reels? Dad had one of those. I asked him to let me click and he gave me his camera and showed me how to click! It was the occasion of Rathayatra and we were at the Ashram, people were about to pull the Rath out and I took the camera looked at the viewfinder and just clicked. I don't remember anything else. I just clicked and I loved it.
TSM: What is your favourite subject?
Saumen: My favourite subjects are people. I like to click candid images and the one I submitted and you all selected was also candid. I observe them and when I see a story I try to click before the story ends. The one you all selected had my friend in it. He was walking in the hallway and I was at the other end of the hall. I saw him and it seemed he is lost in his world, so I clicked it before he finds his way back. I also like to click landscapes but a human subject is always preferable.
TSM: Who have/has been your inspiration/inspirations?
Saumen: My dad is my inspiration. I have grown up knowing he used to be a photographer. Honestly, I was never interested in any other photographers and no photographer had ever made me click pictures. It always felt as if the interest in photography was within me the entire time but when I think about it, it was my dad who actually introduced me to Photography and seeded the interest in me as well. There is no one else who inspired me to click other than him.
TSM: What's your process of composing and framing a shot?
Saumen: I love the golden ratio, so I mostly follow that. I also prefer symmetry. There is something in both of these techniques that I just love. So, when I click an image if it is a landscape so I take my time to observe all the other pieces of stuff around and then I decide what to keep in my frame and what to not, if there is a possibility of an asymmetrical shot then I’ll do that if not then I’ll see if Golden Ratio can be done. Otherwise, I’ll follow leading lines. I also like to frame Inside my frame, so if there is a window and my subject is at the other end of the window and there is a little bit of negative space so I’ll keep my subject inside the window it would make it look as if my subject is inside a frame.
TSM: One change that you would like to bring to your photography skill?
Saumen: Everything, as I have earlier mentioned I am not a professional, I am still learning and I think my entire process is flawed, so I’d like to change everything if it means improving my photography skills.
I seek constructive criticism as it helps me to determine what exactly am doing wrong so that I can correct it later on.
TSM: Any message for The Story Mug readers?
Saumen: For The Story Mug readers, I’d like to say, do what gives you pleasure, what makes you happy, even if you think it’s flawed you should do it anyway.
Flaws can be rectified, you just have to try. Don’t let anyone say what you should or shouldn’t do. If they think you are not capable of doing something then avoid them. Let your work speak for you. You know the song right- Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, Logo Ka Kaam Hai Kehna, that’s my philosophy.
It is their job to say whatever they want, that doesn’t mean they are right.
Click here to see an exclusive photo essay of the budding photographer, which has been clicked especially for The Story Mug.
The Story Mug, a Guwahati-based blogzine, believes in telling stories that matter.