Travelling in India with just an iphone 4S
We've all seen it, how incredible mobile phones have become as replacement cameras. I have many friends that tell me that they don't bother with cameras any more since their phones do the job just fine.
Meanwhile, more established photographers are bothered by these statements as it really trivialized their vocation. Yet, I've always wanted to be a minimalist and have gone so far as to preach this to all my students, because photography can become an exceptionally expensive hobby and isn't there a lot of merit in doing more with less?
I wanted to visit India for several reasons. One of them was simply to reconnect with my culture and my roots and visit parts of the country that I have never been to. Another was simply because it was time to see whether we could do workshops in India and I had, for far too long, admired Steve McCurry's work - himself a minimalist in the world of established photographers.
Before making the trip to India, I had, without realizing, put myself in a great deal of trouble - forgetting my battery charger in Mauritius where I was attending a best friends wedding. What was suppose to be a day of exploration of my birth city of Hyderabad had become a relentless search for a camera charger. There wasn't a soul in the city that could help me. India, as it happens, was Nikon country and my Sony camera, though admired, was looked at with some amount of bafflement.
This was going to be a long trip. I had to travel South first, to my mother's home in Tamil Nadu - through places where few people from outside the metropolitans (let alone outside the country) had ever visited. Then came the flight from Chennai to Delhi, a journey which posed more problems than you could imagine. Chennai was incredibly hot, even in January and in 2 hours, this flight would take me from the tropics to being exposed to the chills of the Himalayas, something that I had prepared for but clearly underestimated.
'Photographically' speaking, I made the decision to use my phone as the main camera for the trip (as well as a film camera). I knew that if I shot during the day and stuck to the basics of composition then there would be something memorable from this situation.
I took some help from Instagram but the images below are all from my wonderful iphone 4S. In hindsight, I'm actually glad that I was handicapped and challenged in this way - a good reminder that loading on expensive equipment is not always the solution.