Artist Statement

As a Fine Art and Travel Photographer based in Mumbai, India, my  aim is to create FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHS  that make what is normally ‘invisible’ visible – to make viewers sit up, take notice, and gasp in delight and wonder at the things they otherwise wouldn’t notice or bother to photograph themselves. Since most of my fineart photographs are from my travels across India, it is also my goal to visually and emotionally engage the viewer. My ultimate goal in the making of my  fine art photographs is to produce  fine art photography prints  so unique, beautiful and large that the viewer feels transported to where I was, and is compelled to  imagine and feel the place for themselves. For it is only then that it stops being a static photograph and becomes a living, breathing work of art that grows with and on the viewer over time.

What do I mean by making the invisible visible? We have a priceless gift that has been – by some accident of fate – denied to some; it’s called ‘Sight’. I believe the least I can do with it is to use it to explore the world around me as intensely as those without it do with their touch. Sight has everything to do with the eyes. But there’s something more subtle, more refined. Something that has more to do with the heart and mind, than with the eyes.  It’s spelt “Emotion”.

Fine Art Photography really at the end of the day, is an expression of one’s self. The image is but the medium, the camera but a tool at my disposal. It is my heart and mind that are the most important elements in my toolbox. Unlike many a photographer, I photograph not only what I see but most importantly what I feel. I am neither interested in showing facts, nor in taking photographs that look the same as those taken by other photographers. Rather, my concern is that of conveying the emotion I felt when something unfolded in front of me. Unlike some  photographers who “take photographs with their [mind’s] eyes shut”, I, prefer to dream with my eyes open. Put in simple words, I not only See, but also Visualize. The former is about what is, the latter is about what it can beThe end result is a Fine Art Print which is uniquely Me – my vision, my inspiration, my style.

To further my aim of making the viewer see more that what I saw and feel more than what I felt, I work on the image during post-processing. This work may be as subtle as just increasing contrast and saturation slightly, to as complex as rendering the image such that it literally looks like an impressionist painting. Either way, four elements are a given in my photography: Light, Colour, Contrast, and The Decisive Moment  – they’re my “Gang of Four” without which my work would not be what it is.

Light and My Fine Art

I’ve had a long-standing love affair with that lovely maiden called Light, and if there’s one things she’s taught me it is never to take her for granted. Over the years, I’ve got to know her intimately, and while she’s predictable to some extent, she never fails to surprise me every so often. I especially look forward to rising early before her and then just wait for her to show herself: she positively exudes an ethereal golden glow as she rises from her slumber. She sometimes also reveals herself in her dusky avatar – as I said, she never fails to surprise me. And while I hold no monopoly over her, she is kind to me and those who chase her as I’ve been doing for ever so long. The key to getting the best from her is this: a lot of chasing, patience, and understanding her many nuances. And sometimes, some cajoling and coaxing during post-processing; she’s like any other woman – a bit of very gentle teasing, coaxing and cajoling and she’ll reveal many an intimate  detail to you.  But for that you have to really know her, love her and chase her. God made The Light, I just paint with her. Amen.

Colour in My Fine Art

To be able to photograph something, it must first catch my eye; nothing catches my eye faster than colour does. It is then that I begin to explore the scene further, to identify subject matter and the relationships between the various elements that will ultimately find themselves within the image frame. But for me, colour is not what it is for those photographers who use colour for colour’s sake; colour actually triggers an emotion in me. I believe that bereft of this emotion, a colour photograph is just another pretty picture, one where colour is merely decorative, empty of soul and real meaning. For an image to speak to you, it must be an image of something; the role of colour is to accentuate that thing and the emotion triggered in me. It is only then that I can communicate what I felt; to begin to truly understand colour is to begin to understand the many hues and emotions of Life itself.

Contrast in My Fine Art

Contrast, for me, is more than just differences in tonality (differences in light and dark). Contrast spells differences in colour, subject matter, shapes, lines, directions, spaces, forces etc., and it is contrast of one sort of the other that my images are all about at the end of the day. I believe that at some subconscious level, we all recognize the fact that it is variation – the play of opposites – that is the spice of life and makes life so interesting. And what is variation if not contrast? And extending this, I believe that what makes a photograph really interesting is when it mirrors some aspects of life: when it is packed with contrast. This is one of the reasons why most of my photographs border on what seems the edge of chaos while retaining that crucial element of Order that somehow ties and connects all the disparate elements in the picture together. In that, it mirrors both the chaos and order that is Life itself, and I believe it is this – along with the way I see and utilize colour – that makes my photographs leap out and grab the viewer by the throat.

The Decisive Moment in My Fine Art

Of the many photographers who have influenced my work, none have done so more than that master of  The Decisive Moment – Henri Cartier-Bresson. Cartier-Bresson coined and described the term “The Decisive Moment” as that “in which in a fraction of a second the emotion of a subject and / or the beauty of form is captured by a photographer at the very moment it presents itself”. The Decisive Moment can illustrate action, emotion, and an entire story in a single image. It is unforgiving to the extreme, with no scope for error. To quote Cartier-Bresson, “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever!”

One moment, one second, one push of the button. One single moment to capture that one single frame. An instant based on the instinct – that’s The Decisive Moment, and it’s a very common element in my photography as I go about making images of everyday life. Photography – for Cartier-Bresson – was “a supreme moment captured with a single shot”. So it is, for me.

The unique way I use light, colour, contrast and the decisive moment – the way I personally see them present all around us – and the way I communicate using them, is my personal signature style.

I offer only that body of my work that is of the highest quality and standard and refuse to cut corners in any aspect of the production process from image capture to printing to framing. I believe people buying my work do so because of the uniqueness and the quality of my work, and that they come back for those same reasons: Uniqueness and Quality. At the end of the day, as a Fine Artist, the quality of my work must match what I say about my work.

Neville Bulsara
Mumbai, India
2013