Born and brought up in Pune city, Swapnil Jedhe is an Art Director in an Advertising Agency by profession. When not at work, he focuses his creativity on exploring the hidden art in our mundane lives through photography, and seeks to capture those magical unseen moments from ordinary, everyday scenes. He has a distinctive sense of composition, and most of his images have simple and clean graphical forms.
His work has been exhibited in India, Cambodia, Thailand, Russia, UK and the USA. In addition to winning prestigious awards, both nationally and internationally, his work has been a part of reputed publications.
How you got involved in street photography in the first place?
Photography is close to me since I started working in advertising. Once I was on set for a TVC, I clicked a few candid shots and instantly loved the process. It was something new for me. Then I discovered That’s Life, a collective of street photographers about India. It was so inspiring that I continued clicking in the streets.
When did you know street photography could be your field of expertise?
I don’t see myself as an expert. I have just started to explore street photography.
What is street photography for you?
I think SP is an attitude towards clicking anything around us. Of course, it has to be candid and not staged or manipulated.
What's the most unusual feature of street photography? You don’t have to go far to shoot. You can get fantastic moments anywhere.Even in your home.
How important is the originality of work in street photography?
Originality has to be in whatever we produce as art or design. SP is no different.
Without originality your work will be forgotten as there will be thousands of photographers who can pull off the same work as yours.
How can artists find their independent styles?
Practice until you find your reflection in your work. Consistency is the key here.
It’s a time consuming affair. Also, it is so difficult to achieve originality in the era of mobile photography and internet. We have so many influences on us which work subconsciously. We have to use these influences as stepping stones to reach the desired level.
What are the clichés in street photography that you don’t appreciate?
It really bothers me when anyone shoots pictures of beggars.
What is your take on social media influence on street photography?
Everything has its pros and cons. The world is a small place now, thanks to Social Media. SM is great when it lets you learn/see new things from all over the world and also for networking. On the other side, we get used to instant gratification on social media even if the work presented is of an average level. Popular work on social media is often mistaken as ‘master work’.
What is the most underrated feature of street photography you wish everyone discussed more about?
How can we get connected to the photograph? It’s the story within a picture. It is the most ignored feature of SP these days.
Most photographers are interested in what gear is used to capture the picture.
Who are the street photographers whom you look up to and why?
I have so many favourite photographers in India and abroad. I really admire Raghu Rai, Swapan Parekh and Prashant Godbole for their vision and aesthetics.
Do you believe readings and studies on this genre does help? Which work you recommend and why?
Of course! Learning never ends. It helps us to shape our thought process. I buy as many photo books as possible. We all should see books by Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh. Also, Magnum contact sheets are really great books. For starters, David Gibson’s Street Photography Manual and 100 Great Street photographs are good books.
Do you take photos for yourself or for others?
I don’t click photos to impress others or for algorithms. I take photos only for myself… that too, if I feel a connection with the scene I’m witnessing.
What message would you like to give other practicing street photographers?
Just shoot what you love. Photographs are everywhere. You just have to see.