ANJAN GHOSH. THROUGH HIS LENS
SILHOUETTES OF INDIA & HER PEOPLE,
THROUGH THE LENS OF ANJAN GHOSH
By Mina Thevenin, Editor
Sometimes, someone comes along in life who you just know- they are a one of a kind. I’m not talking about the “one-hit wonder” kind of fame. And I’m not talking about the kind of photographer who just lucks into a great shot like a crap shoot or the photographer who relies heavily on post-processing like the old woman who wears a bit too much eye liner to create an illusion, at least for herself. I am talking about the kind of photographer who comes by it naturally. Almost as if the lens intuitively is an extension of the photographer- that to discriminate between camera and photographer is impossible. They are one.
Meet the one, as Photography World takes a closer look at Indian Photographer ANJAN GHOSH. THROUGH HIS LENS.
Street photography and portraits of India are filling Anjan’s photography portfolio these days, in addition to his ever growing portfolio of colorful paintings, and graphic design images from JWT in Mumbai, India, where he creates and directs corporate and new business designs.
(Click on any image to view as a gallery/scroll mouse over image for copyright details.)
“I think life is full of colour, particularly my country is tropical and one can see lot of colour everywhere- like bright and sunny nature, colorful festivals.” Where does he find these people? In his home country of India, a country that holds the number two slot with an estimated world population for 2014, at 1.27 billion people; China ranks first with a population of almost 1.4 billion people, and the U.S. is listed third with a population of 317 million. (1)
Photography was not his primary study in school, and Anjan only picked it up as a side hobby to his original art focus- painting. Like his photography, many of Anjan’s paintings have themes of his homeland India- portraits, people working, people living life, and lots of color. Water colors. Acrylics. These are his mediums of choice for Anjan because of their ease and flexibility with which he can experiment, he tells me. But photography is his main focus and has been for the past several years. ,
“Photography is my life. Photography is my passion. I cannot think without it.”
As creativity abounds in his work with print media design and computer graphics, painting and photography, Anjan finds himself a busy life as he works to support himself, his wife, and their young son who is eight years old. Anjan and his immediate family, who speak in their native language Bengali, live as a nuclear family in the city of South Kolkata, India, (formerly Calcutta). Though Anjan grew up in a typical Joint Family, a household comprised of multi generations with adult children and their spouses and their children all under the same roof, he and his wife decided to live as a nuclear family. So they moved the 40 km (about 25 miles) from Barrackpore, West Bengal, India to South Kolkata.
Of his family, his father was always Anjan’s biggest advocate, supporting him in art endeavors and his life long creative edge. His father, who is now deceased, was the only one he wanted to recognize of his family when we talked about it. But there has been someone else who left an impression on him and that was his beloved school teacher, “Yes, I cherished my school life… I still remember one of my [teachers], Sir Late Bijay Lal Bannerjee, fondly called BLB Sir who has [had] a great impact on my life. He used to say, ‘Love the man whom you hate most.’ “
Anjan, or Jhon, as he is known by his friends, uses a Cannon 7D camera and an 11/16 Tokina lens. He has never known dark room developing nor film photography. A true photographer of the 21st digital Century, Jhon’s color images capture portraits of India and endear them to our hearts as her people are made magical in the golden hour light he uses so expertly from the early morning sunrise and sunset of his homeland. More recently Jhon reaches into black and white photography. Portraits and images from the street are now made edgier, maybe even more honest, without the bright colors of India to distract. But whether he is photographing in color or black and white, Anjan Ghosh’s ability to capture the enduring spirit of India is clear and plain to see in his images of her people.
We talked about street photography back in the summer of 2014. Jhon studies the photography techniques of well-known American photographer, Steve McCurry. So it was no surprise when I asked him about the photographer whose work he admires most, McCurry, of course, was the only name Jhon offered. Steve McCurry- who can forget the 1985 cover of the National Geographic green-eyed “Afghan Girl“? The image almost never made it as cover photo, but last minute the editor pushed it through and it has been celebrated ever since. McCurry’s green-eyed girl is certainly that iconic image we won’t forget; interestingly, she was a refugee from Peshawar, Pakistan- which was the site of the December 16th, 2014 abominable massacre, where 132 children and 9 adults were killed while at school .
Are we drawn to certain people or situations when we are like them or, at the least, we aspire to emulate those qualities or skills we admire because we hope to achieve that high level of performance ourselves? Certainly there is some truth in this. Like energy begets like energy.
In many systems or organizations one cannot advance until there is an opening. Systems are like people and we generally like routine because routine is predictable. Often times predictability feels comfortable. Photography, like any other industry, often relies heavily on the pool of photographers who are already within that pool. You know the pool, that pool. And some times it just means that a newcomer must wait until there is space and the opening is made- a retirement in the pool, the passing away of one of its members,… and then there is the roll call, and the scroll unfurls as the next name is read aloud, clearly for all to hear,
“Anjan Ghosh, please step forward.”
(1) “Current World Population” (December 2014) http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/