From a little watch shop in the Ooty Market to a day in a primary school, the subjects chosen by Batch 22 students for the Black and White Photo Story assignment were varied and unique. Told through a lens stripped of all colour, these stories get a timeless and visceral quality.
Scroll further to have a look at a selection of stories.
For my black and white story assignment, I picked a watch shop in the Ooty market. I was fascinated by the number of elements and the strong character of the shop. I had done a portrait of this shopkeeper earlier, so I was a little familiar with the place as well. I had very little time with the shopkeeper to make these pictures, but I am happy with how it turned out. I think the intricate details are well highlighted in black and white.
My idea for the Black and White was actually based on color. I wanted to shoot a subject with prominent reds as part of the story, because I felt this would look interesting in Black and White based on the contrast it would create. In the first few days of the assignment, I had a second topic I was trying out – a carrom board game with local workers, but that didn’t work out. Eventually I decided to cover this meat shop. My goal was to spend a full day at the shop and make pictures of all the stages of the preparation of the meat.
I did this photo story as a series of self portraits. This is about my journey of being diagnosed and cured of depression and fibromyalgia. At the start of this experience, my vision of myself was very clear and then things started to get fuzzy. Soon, the illusion completely cracked and I didn’t know who I was looking at in a mirror. But my friends and family helped me through this phase of my life. I’ve tried to express this story through this series of images. The final image is me making peace with the fact that I might never be whole again but will learn to live with the pieces of me.
The topic I wanted to depict through this story was the loneliness of the elderly. I decided to do this as a tribute to my grandfather, who passed away last year. He lost all his close friends over the years and that led to a very lonely final few years of his life. I chose to shoot this with a long lens to show the true essence of the lives of these people. Most of them live very uncertain lives, worried about how to get through the day. I hope a viewer seeing this will give more importance to the elderly and not push them away.
When we were asked to do a photo story, I immediately decided to cover a day in a local government school. I wanted to do a set of portraits that would tell the story of a day in school, through the eyes of the kids. I was very excited to shoot the story and had visualized a set of shots beforehand. What I couldn’t plan for was the weather. There was rain, fog and mist on both the days I did these shots, adding a whole other dimension to the story.
The topic I chose for my Black & White assignment was a horror story. I picked this because I thought it would look very interesting in black and white, and I also wanted to try some of the techniques we had learnt to create a haunted vibe. One of the first shots I did was in a cemetery, and I think that set me up nicely for the rest of the shoot – since the experience itself was quite spooky – weird unexplainable sounds and some creepy looking people hanging about! It was quite fun experimenting with blurs and portable flash. This assignment was a great learning in how to continuously implement my vision as a photographer. I think I got a little too much into it- I started having scary dreams for a few days after the shoot.