You Can Never Really Predict What’s Going to Happen on Any Given Day, Especially in Mumbai: Craig Boehman

Craig Boehman is an American street photographer based out of Mumbai, India. He shootsunnamed-8 for magazines and online publications and works for clients on a project basis, focusing on social causes assignments for NGOs and non-profits. He’s known for his monochrome and fine art images of India and its people. His work as been featured in Le Monde DiplomatiqueHuffington Post, and the DailyO. He’s currently working on a body of work to be featured in his first Mumbai exhibition and photo book.

Here’s an excerpt of an interview with him.

Tell us a bit about yourself? What drew you to street photography?

I’m an American expat who’s been living in Mumbai for just over three years. I was introduced to street photography over a year ago at a workshop and I’ve been dedicated to the genre ever since. What particularly attracts me to street photography is the chaos of the form. You can never really predict what’s going to happen on any given day, especially in Mumbai. The goal for me is to show the existential daily grind derived from people’s actions and their faces. That to me is exciting.

Among all the subjects available in street photography, which ones are your favourite?

The ultimate aim for me is to capture the candid image. I want to see the secret world undisturbed by my presence. And if that fails – which it so often does since I’m a foreigner and people on the street tend to watch me once they spot me – I switch gears and shoot street portraits.

Are there any legal or ethical aspects that one needs to keep in mind while taking these photographs?

My only ethical concern is to do no harm to those I photograph. Legally speaking, I believe you can photograph nearly anything in India as long as you are in a public space.

What kind of equipment/cameras are a must have for street photographers?

That’s a tough one because veteran streettogs have their own specific preferences based on the shooting conditions they encounter regularly. I’ve heard many stellar reviews of the sleekly compact Ricoh GR 2 for ease of carry and for maintaining a low profile. It’s actually the next camera on my list. For me an ideal situation would be to have a good compact shooter to carry around with me at all times and a full- frame go-to DSLR or mirrorless for street shooting and gigs. That’s it. Keep the gear at a minimum and concentrate on getting the shots.

Any tips you’d like to share with budding street photographers? What are the various professional opportunities that are available for street photographers?

If you don’t know what kind of street photographer you are in the beginning, don’t worry about it and just keep shooting. You’ll eventually figure it out. Watch instructional videos put out by the well-known street photographers and learn from them. Read up on the craft. Learn to use Photoshop and Lightroom. But more importantly, shoot until you discover what makes you tick. Your own style will emerge only after you shoot several thousand shots. Keep at it until your photographic voice develops.

The professional opportunities for street photography are few. While there may not be a big market for “street photography” per se there are still thousands of publications out there that still rely on photographs to fill their pages. Once you get a sale, as I was fortunate to do with a cover shot for a prominent German magazine, the trick is to repeat the success. Investigate what professional photographers you admire are doing and how they got their feet in the doors. You first have to know what it is you do well and then find the market because there is no one same path that exists for street photographers.

What has been your most memorable shoot so far? Few photographs that you’d like to share with our readers?

One of my most memorable shoots in Mumbai was when the matriarch of a homeless family invited me to follow her to where her family had set up their camp. I ended up taking several group shots. I enjoyed the experience greatly because I think most of the people in the shots enjoyed the distraction from their harsh lives too. I am sharing a couple of those shots and a few others taken around Mumbai over the past few months.

Here are some amazing photographs from Craig’s collection.

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