Illustrated talk on photography and Kashmir by Matt Brandon and David duChemin

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending illustrated talk on photography and Kashmir by Matt Brandon and David duChemin at the India Habitat Center. While I attended Friday’s lecture on Tibet and China, alone, this time I had Varun for company.

The session began with Matt walking us through the treks he had done in Kashmir while running a Trek and Tour company there, and his experience of living in Kashmir for over a decade.

After Matt’s wonderful presentation, it was David’s turn and he was going to talk about photography. This was the main reason I had gone there in the first place and I wasn’t at all disappointed and I have to say, I couldn’t agree more with David’s statement, “it isn’t the quantity of light that matters, it is the quality.”

During the presentation, David not only gave a few invaluable tips on photography, we also got a treat by seeing some of his brilliant work and hearing the story behind them.

Once the session got over, it was time for Q&A round and which was really the icing on the cake and something I enjoyed more than the actual session!

While the questions ranged from how to approach people (in particular women) for their photographs to tips on landscape and portrait photography etc. it was when couple of “purist” asked the eternal question “is post processing ethical?” that the session really turned interesting.

Matt’s response to this question was “I am not doing anything that I did not do while shooting films and slides, even at that time we used to tweak color and clean the blemishes etc. while processing them in the dark room and this is what we are currently doing through tools like Photoshop. Even the famous photograph of the Afghan Girl on the cover of National Geographic Magazine was enhanced by removing blemishes on the face of the girl, and this was over 20 years ago!”

When another “purist” accused them of bending reality and not showing things exactly the way they were, David gave a short and firm reply, “We are artists and not photojournalists or documentarians, we do not show what was there, we show things the way we saw them. If you wish to see what is actually there, then you should go there personally.”

I have to say, I completely agree with David’s statement. After all, photography is not supposed to be a scanning technique; designed and built to produce duplicate copies of a given scene or object.

Photography is art, and a photograph is the artistic representation of the artist’s perspective and it should be left to the artist’s discretion, how much post processing he/she wants to do.
Overall it was a fantastic session that I thoroughly enjoyed and I am hoping that I’ll be able to attend more such sessions in future.


Show Comments


  1. prashanr khapane September 15, 2008
  2. Yogesh Sarkar September 18, 2008
  3. Pingback: Old Delhi Take Two December 6, 2009

Leave a Reply