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  • f.d. walker
  • May 07, 2015 09:36:14 AM
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Where Travel + Street Meet. A personal and widespread look into the world of Street Photography. Learn about Street Photography and Travel the World through the eyes of Street Photography. Join me as I travel the world on different photography projects one city at a time.

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City Street Guides by f.d. walker: A Street Photography Guide to Kolkata, India

*A series of guides on shooting Street Photography in cities around the world. Find the best spots to shoot, things to capture, street walks, street tips, safety concerns, and more for cities around the world. I have personally researched, explored and shot Street Photography in every city that I create a guide for. So you can be...

*A series of guides on shooting Street Photography in cities around the world. Find the best spots to shoot, things to capture, street walks, street tips, safety concerns, and more for cities around the world. I have personally researched, explored and shot Street Photography in every city that I create a guide for. So you can be ready to capture the streets as soon as you step outside with your camera!

Kolkata

Overview:

Kolkata might not be as popular among the general traveler to India, but it’s very popular among the photography community. There’s good reason for this too because Kolkata is made for photography as much as any city in India. While it is one of India’s biggest cities, it doesn’t feel like the others. With a friendly reputation and a more condensed landscape, there’s a welcoming feeling where you can just explore away with your camera without a worry. It’s the most walk friendly big city in India and as packed with chaotic interest as you’ll find. The colors and interest mixed with an old world atmosphere meets big city life. The colonial-era architecture contrasting with urban slums, along with the yellow ambassador taxis and endless street food are just a start to all there is to experience with camera in hand in Kolkata.

New Market | Kolkata, India

So here’s a Street Photography guide so you can be ready to capture all that Kolkata has to offer before you even arrive!

Map:

  1. New Market
  2. Mullick Flower Market / Howrah Bridge
  3. Kumortuli / Bagh Bazaar / Sovabazar
  4. Victoria Memorial / Big Field
  5. Park Street

Bonus: College Street

Top 6 Street Spots:

1. New Market

The New Market, also known as the Hogg Market, is always one of the busiest areas in the city. Right in the center of Kolkata, you’ll find rows of shops selling clothes, jewelry, electronics, leather, household items, flowers, sweets and more. The unique red-brick market hall contains over 2,000 stalls in all.

New Market | Kolkata, India

For me, the best part of the New Market isn’t inside, but outside in the surrounding chaotic streets. The shopping continues with street sellers, a meat market and more stores, along with some of the street food Kolkata is known for. This area has been the heart of the city’s shopping for over a century, even after a large fire in the 1980’s caused much of it to be rebuilt. If you want busy streets and chaotic India, this is a top spot to go. It can get overly crowded and somewhat touristy for some, especially among local photographers, but it’s still a must for some exploration. 

2. Mullick Flower Market / Howrah Bridge

The Mullik Ghat Flower Market is the largest flower market in Asia. You don’t need to like flowers to enjoy it, either, because the endless variety being sold here creates one of the more unique and chaotic market atmospheres around. Its location right by Kolkata’s signature Howrah Bridge background makes it arguably the most popular place for photographers to come. Behind all the packed stalls of colorful flowers, you’ll find busy steps down to the Hooghly River where people bathe and use the water. If you’ve seen any street photography from Kolkata, chances are you’ve seen this famous bridge background. The market and life here goes from very early morning into the night. There’s almost always plenty happening here. 

Howrah Bridge | Kolkata, India

Now, since everyone comes here and leaves with shots of men carrying flowers or children playing in the river with the Howrah Bridge dominating the background, that means you have to work to capture something more unique. While it’s been photographed so much, you still can’t leave Kolkata without shooting here. There’s too much activity and unique interest surrounding you here. My advice is to go really early at least once too to catch things just starting up. The famous Kushti Wrestlers also practice here early by the river, but they always want money, which ruins it for me, but it might not for you.

Mullik Ghat | Kolkata, India

3. Kumortuli / Bagh Bazaar / Sovabazar

Kumortuli is a neighborhood in north Kolkata most famous for sculpting deities. This tradional potters’ quarter has become so famous for manufacturing clay idols for religious festivals that it exports them all over the world. You can walk through the narrow alleys here and see all the rooms and lanes lined with different gods and goddesses. Most are in the process of being created with straw and clay, while others are fully painted and ready to go. Early in the morning is more quiet, where you mostly only see the workers and locals who live here, and the interesting variety of deities. Later in the day, it can get more crowded, depending on the time of year. 

Kumortuli | Kolkata, India

It’s a very unique spot to explore with your camera and something you’re sure not to find elsewhere. There’s a good mix of local life too combined with all the surrounding interest. Nearby, across the train tracks, you’ll find the Hooghly River, where many of the used deities are thrown out near temples for prayer by its banks.

Sonagachi | Kolkata, India

In this area you’ll also find Bagbazar to the north and Sovabazar to the south, two great spots to explore for more street activity and photography. Heading down Chittaranjan Avenue, also known as Central Avenue, you’ll walk through a variety of  activity the whole way with plenty more to discover for a packed street photography walk, including Sonagachi, India’s largest red light district.

4. Victoria Memorial / Maidan Field

The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building on Queens Way that was built over a century ago in dedication to the memory of Queen Victoria. Now, it’s also a museum, but the reason you should come here for street photography isn’t for the building, but the 64 acres of grounds and gardens surrounding it.

Maidan Field | Kolkata, India

There are parks, ponds, and plenty of people walking around here at all times during the day, especially in the evening. One thing you’ll notice is that it’s also where all the young couples come for romance. In the streets you don’t see much affection, but here everywhere you look there are couples enjoying each other’s company and the quiet privacy the grounds provide in comparison with the chaos of the rest of Kolkata.

To the west and north, Victoria Memorial is surrounded by green space, including Maidan, the largest urban park in West Bengal and home of Eden Gardens cricketing stadium and a race course. Across Queens way is a popular place for the local children and adults to come play pick-up games of Cricket on the gigantic grass field. At times, the open fields will fill up with 5+ games going at a time, right next to horses being offered for rides. If you really want to capture India’s love for cricket in your Street Photography, I’d recommend coming here on a Sunday.

5. Park Street

Park Street is a famous thoroughfare in Kolkata. It was the original high street of this huge metropolis and has been the recreation zone for Kolkata people since the British era. This is where much of Kolkata’s night life has been centered over the last century and remains Kolkata’s premier dining district.

Park Street | Kolkata, India

Lined with cafes, restaurants, bars and shops, it’s more upscale here than the most of Kolkata. While it’s lost a little of it’s luster with more commercialization than the rest of Kolkata, it still retains some of it’s old world charm.

Come here if you want to mix in slightly different and more modern scenery for your Street Photography. There’s plenty to do here too so it’s one of the prime spots for walking and people watching. 

Park Street | Kolkata, India

Sample Street Walk:

For a full day of Street Photography, covering some of the best spots, you can follow this sample street walk for Kolkata:

  • Start your early morning exploring Kumortuli (3)
  • Then head south down around Sovabazar (3) for more street photography, or up to Bagh Bazaar if it’s Sunday
  • Walk down to the Mullick Flower Market and Howrah Bridge (2), which should provide hours more of interest
  • Walk or take the metro down to the New Market (1) and finish your day shooting here, or over to Maidan Field/Victoria Memorial (4) if you have time
North Kolkata | Kolkata, India

3 Things I’ll Remember Most about Kolkata:

1. Compact walk friendly big city in India

Most of India’s larger cities are spread out, but in Kolkata things feels more compact and within walking distance. By most accounts, Kolkata has the country’s third largest population. With the other top 3 cities, Mumbai and Delhi, transportation is needed much more, with many top spots long distances apart. In Kolkata, I can continuously walk around the city and hit more spots in the same day. The way the city is laid out makes it even easier and faster to get around too if you want to include the metro. Most of Kolkata’s city activity goes North/South along the metro line, without stretching out nearly as much East/West, making the metro easier, faster and not too far off most of the time. A lot of time can be spent in traffic and transport in other big Indian cities, but Kolkata is a great exception, which makes it one of the best walking cities for street photography in the country.

Park Street | Kolkata, India

2. Very Camera Friendly, even for India

India in general is extremely camera friendly, but Kolkata still feels even more-so compared to the other major cities. Locals have told me they feel a slight change towards camera suspicion in India over recent years, which I can say I may have noticed a little, but it’s still one of the easiest places to shoot street photography in the world when it comes to reactions. In Kolkata, especially for a foreigner, bad reactions just don’t happen. There is a flip side to that, though. You have to get the shot off quickly if you want it to be candid because people love to smile and pose for the camera. As a foreigner, especially holding a camera, you stand out so they notice you quickly. So, with all that camera friendliness comes both a gift and a challenge for street photography.

New Market | Kolkata, India

3. British Styled Taxis & Rickshaw Pullers

Taxi cabs dominate the streets of Kolkata. They are everywhere, along with the sound of their horns. These aren’t your normal taxis, though. Most of them are old, yellow Ambassador Classics. These are the first cars manufactured in India and were modeled after the vintage styled British Morris Oxfords of old. In my opinion, they are coolest cabs in the world and provide a unique look that is all Kolkata.

Park Street | Kolkata, India

3 Non-Street Photography Things To Do in Kolkata:

  • Eat: Macher jhol, Pani Puri , Ghugni Chaat, Cholar dal and Jhal Muri
  • Drink: Chai and whiskey
  • Visit: Indian Museum and Victoria Memorial Hall

Street Safety Score: 8

*As always, no place is completely safe! So when I talk about safety, I’m speaking in general comparison to other places. Always take precaution, be smart, observe your surroundings and trust your instincts anywhere you go!

India is a very safe feeling country, especially for street photography. People are extremely friendly and you can feel like anywhere is welcoming to walk. Kolkata feels even more welcoming than the other major cities in India too and their crime statistics match this. It’s a city made for freely walking worry free, while being surrounded with activity. Saying this, though, women should always be more cautious in India, especially at night, and pick pocketing can be something to look out for.

Kumortuli | Kolkata, India

People’s Reaction Score: 9

More than any country, India is famous for its friendliness towards photography. As far as big cities in India go, Kolkata might be even friendlier when it comes to candid photos. It’s a city made for worry free street photography. Your biggest worry is people being too friendly towards photography and posing their way into your photos. Kolkata is a fun city to shoot in and would especially appeal to beginners that might normally be shy to snapping photos of strangers.

New Market | Kolkata, India

Street Tips:

Built on a line. Use metro and walk.

Most big India cities are spread out, making them not as walk friendly for street photographers. Kolkata is the big city exception, though. Instead of being spread out in every direction, most of the interest runs along a North/South line with a metro line running down the middle. This means you can you can just walk much of the city’s hot spots for street photography, while using the nearby line to help out when you need it. You can use the metro to start you off up north and walk back down, or you could use it to take you back home at the end of shooting, or you could always use it in the middle of your walk too. Even better, it’s also cheap. One of my favorite things about Kolkata for street photography is how it’s a big India city made for walking.

New Market | Kolkata, India

Bring cool clothing, tough sandals and extra memory cards (or film)

Kolkata gets hot and humid. So wearing cool clothes and sandals goes a long way. The roads aren’t great everywhere, either, so strong sandals with good support are a good idea too. And there aren’t many cities where you’re going to be surrounded with more sensory overload for taking photos every corner you turn. So, you’ll might take more photos than usual. Make sure you’re prepared.

Howrah Bridge | Kolkata, India

The food is great, but be careful

I’ve never had food poisoning anywhere in the world my whole life. Outside of India, that is. I’m batting 100% for food poisoning on trips to India, and while Kolkata doesn’t seem to be as bad as many other cities, you should still be careful, or prepared. They are known for their food here, especially their street food, so you’re going to want to try it. Just be careful and bring some medicine.

New Market | Kolkata, India

Inspiration:

For some more inspiration, you can follow and look through the work of local Kolkata street photographer Saumalya Ghosh (@saumalyaghosh). And as always, you can check out 33 of my photos taken in Kolkata.

New Market | Kolkata, India

I hope this guide can help you go experience Kolkata… So grab your camera and capture all that Kolkata has to offer for Street Photography!

If you still have any questions about shooting in Kolkata, feel free to comment below or email me!

(I want to make these guides as valuable as possible for all of you so add any ideas on improvements, including addition requests, in the comment section!)

Click Here For More City Street Guides!

(A New Guide Posted Every Other Week)

 


Two-Day Workshop in Sydney (with myself and Sam Ferris)

  2-Day Aussie Street Workshop in Sydney (Developing Your Vision) DECEMBER 1ST-2ND : Sydney, Australia ADVANCED STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP WITH FORREST WALKER AND SAM FERRIS I’m excited to announce an upcoming 2-Day workshop I’ll be leading this December 1st-2nd in Sydney, Australia. The workshop will be run through Aussie Street and also led by talented photographer and member...

 

2-Day Aussie Street Workshop in Sydney (Developing Your Vision)

  • DECEMBER 1ST-2ND : Sydney, Australia
  • ADVANCED STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP WITH FORREST WALKER AND SAM FERRIS

I’m excited to announce an upcoming 2-Day workshop I’ll be leading this December 1st-2nd in Sydney, Australia. The workshop will be run through Aussie Street and also led by talented photographer and member Sam Ferris. Read on for more details and how to sign up!

This intensive and practical two-day workshop will focus on the development of photographic ‘vision’ through the processes of discovery and reflection. It is designed to give students who already have a grounding in the fundamentals of street photography the necessary tools to develop their own ‘vision’ by building skills in their shooting, editing, and sequencing of work over two full days of instruction and activities. Led by international photographer Forrest Walker and AUSSIE STREET’s Sam Ferris, this workshop is sure to be an enjoyable, immersive, and insightful experience not to be missed.

EARLY BIRD SIGN UP – $400 UNTIL NOV 11TH / $500 AFTERWARDS

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS

SAM FERRIS

Sam Ferris is a professional teacher from Sydney, Australia. He is an organiser and co-founder of the AUSSIE STREET exhibition and competition, and is a member of SlowLight international collective. His award-winning work has been published widely and exhibited in Australia, Europe, the UK and the US. A highly experienced teacher and presenter, Sam has held workshops for the HEAD ON Photo Festival and for NYCSPC in New York City, as well as around Australia for AUSSIE STREET.

Recently, alongside Trent Parke and Jesse Marlow, Sam was one of three Australian street photographers selected for the book ‘100 Great Street Photographs’ (2017), edited by David Gibson and released by Prestel Publishing.

Sam holds an Honours degree in Arts and a Masters of Teaching. He is represented by Black Eye gallery, Sydney.

SEE MORE OF SAM’S WORK ON INSTAGRAM & HIS WEBSITE

EARLY BIRD SIGN UP – $400 UNTIL NOV 11TH / $500 AFTERWARDS

Places are strictly limited, sign up early to avoid disappointment

ITINERARY

DAY 1

INTRODUCTIONS AND PORTFOLIO REVIEW:

Sam and Forrest will facilitate a number of introductory activities and conduct a brief portfolio review of participants’ work that will focus on constructive feedback and goal setting for the workshop.

OUR WORK/ OUR ‘VISION’ – HOW TO FIND YOURS: A PROCESS OF DISCOVERY AND SELF-REFLECTION:

Sam and Forrest will present their respective bodies of work and projects, offering insights into the process of developing an individual ‘vision’ for their street photography. They will go into depth about the processes of discovery and self-reflection that have allowed them to realise their ‘visions’.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECTS – SHOWING AND TELLING. CASE STUDIES:

After the overview of their own projects and individual ‘visions’, Sam and Forrest will deconstruct a number of projects, books and bodies of work from the masters of street photography in order to teach the process of developing a long or short term project from conception to presentation.

LUNCH:

Sam and Forrest invite participants to join them for lunch. Participants are free to commence shooting or make their own plans for lunch.

SHOOTING SESSION 1:

Participants will join Sam and Forrest on the streets of Sydney for a hands on and practical session on photographing and technique. They will specifically focus on skills such as identifying strong content and form in street photographs, working a scene, and creating layers and depth in an image. This session will involve activities and shooting in small groups and one-on-one tutelage.

DEBRIEF/ DRINKS:

Sam and Forrest will meet all students again at the end of the session for an informal debrief, to answer any questions, or clarify skills and concepts from throughout the day. Participants are invited to join Sam and Forrest for a post-workshop drink and dinner at a venue TBA.

DAY 2

SHOOTING SESSION 2:

Participants will meet at a location TBA before embarking on the second shooting session of the workshop. Students will have the opportunity to develop and hone their skills learned during day 1, experiment, and be encouraged to take risks and push themselves. Students are to shoot independently during this session and given space to work; however, Sam and Forrest will be nearby to offer assistance and guidance when needed. Meeting spots will be nominated every two hours for students to regroup with the instructors and have the opportunity to ask questions and seek feedback.

LUNCH:

Sam and Forrest invite participants to join them for lunch. Participants are free to continue shooting or make their own plans for lunch.

RETURN TO CLASSROOM FOR EDITING, SEQUENCING, AND DEVELOPING YOUR ‘VISION’:

Participants will return to the classroom to edit and sequence their work from days 1 and 2. Sam and Forrest will provide an overview of editing workflows and techniques for sequencing images. This session is designed to help students reflect on develop their ‘vision’.

PRESENTING AND PUBLISHING YOUR PROJECT:

Participants will present their work in a slide show to the workshop class and invited guests. A question and answer will follow where students will receive constructive advice on publishing, exhibiting or developing their work further.

DRINKS AND POST WORKSHOP CELEBRATION:

Informal celebratory drinks and food at a venue TBA

WHAT TO BRING:

Good walking shoes, camera(s), lens – between 50mm and 28mm equivalents preferred, sunscreen, hat, water bottle, ‘sun-smart’ and comfortable attire, laptop with appropriate processing software installed (Lightroom, Capture One or Photoshop), spare batteries and memory cards, notepad, pen, and mobile/ smart phone.

EARLY BIRD SIGN UP – $400 UNTIL NOV 11TH / $500 AFTERWARDS

Places are strictly limited, sign up early to avoid disappointment

Terms and Cancellation Policy:

–          AUSSIE STREET and the instructors reserve the right to cancel the workshop at any time, for any reason. In this event, participants will receive a 100% refund on any fees paid.

–          AUSSIE STREET and the instructors reserve the right to reject the application of any participant for any reason.

–          Workshop fees include tuition ONLY. Participants are responsible for their own equipment costs, food and beverage costs, and travel expenses.

–          AUSSIE STREET and the instructors accept no liability for any loss or damage of participants’ equipment or liability for injury, illness or misadventure during the course of the workshop. The public liability of the participants is their own responsibility as is conducting themselves safely and according to Australian Law at all times.

–          AUSSIE STREET and the instructors are not responsible for reimbursement of travel expenses in the event of a cancellation. We recommend that you buy refundable air tickets and/or travel insurance. Cancellations: More than 30 days before workshop begins, participant will receive a 100% refund. Between 29-8 days before workshop begins, participant will receive a 50% refund. Within 7 days of workshop, participants will receive NO refund.


33 Street Photography Photos from Seoul, South Korea

After a quick stop back “home” in Ho Chi Minh City, I was back on the road working on my 100 City project in major city #54 Seoul, South Korea. It doesn’t get much bigger and sprawling as Seoul so there was a lot to explore within its mix of urban atmosphere, old traditions and new trends. With...

After a quick stop back “home” in Ho Chi Minh City, I was back on the road working on my 100 City project in major city #54 Seoul, South Korea. It doesn’t get much bigger and sprawling as Seoul so there was a lot to explore within its mix of urban atmosphere, old traditions and new trends. With the help of an excellent metro system and a ton of walking, I was able to see a large variety of neighborhoods that not many cities can provide, where you’ll find old markets and villages not far from trendy shopping streets and k-pop street performers. It’s an enjoyable city to explore with your camera from day to night, and the first city I finally broke the 50 kilometer barrier in a day on foot doing just that. It’s also a city I’ll likely return to so I can discover even more of Seoul.

So here’s 33 photos that I was able to capture during my time in Seoul…

33 Street Photography Photos from Seoul

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For more info on Seoul, be sure to check out my first impressions from a street photographer’s perspective. And stay tuned for one of my City Street Photography Guides to Seoul.

Have you photographed Seoul before or do you plan on it someday? Let me know about it in the comments below!

And let me know which photos you like best too!

Click Here for More “33 Street Photos” from Cities Around the World   

 


7 First Impressions of Seoul, South Korea (From a Street Photography Perspective)

After a very short break from the project to stop back “home” in Ho Chi Minh City, I was back on the road in major city #54 Seoul, South Korea. Seoul is a massively sprawling metropolis mixing industry and urban atmosphere with old traditions and new trends. While some cities you can quickly explore, Seoul is just...

After a very short break from the project to stop back “home” in Ho Chi Minh City, I was back on the road in major city #54 Seoul, South Korea. Seoul is a massively sprawling metropolis mixing industry and urban atmosphere with old traditions and new trends. While some cities you can quickly explore, Seoul is just too big to truly explore all of in one visit. Luckily, though, it does have one of the more expansive and efficient metro systems around to help you fill your time with a variety of neighborhoods that not many cities could rival. While it receives comparisons to Tokyo, to the annoyance of many locals, Seoul brings a different culture and atmosphere the more you get a feel for it. It’s one of the most populated cities in the world, where you can find old markets and villages not far from trendy shopping streets and k-pop street performers. It’s a fun city to explore with your camera from day to night, and one that you’ll want to keep coming back to truly get to know.

So here are my first impressions of Seoul, from my personal Street Photographer perspective…

7 First Impressions of Seoul
(From a Street Photography Perspective)

1. Is Seoul like Tokyo?

This comparison can bring some heated debate. Some people take offense to it and feel they aren’t anything alike at all. One local even told me that they lose all respect for anyone that makes the comparison. Still, there’s no city I’ve been to where more people compared it to another city like they did when speaking about Seoul. So, being someone who has Tokyo in my top 5 favorite cities in the world, did I feel the comparison was warranted or not?

Well, they are still very different cities, but I’d be lying if I didn’t feel some strong similarities in atmosphere and things I saw. Sorry, I do understand why many people compare them. The colors, tones and character can give a very similar feeling. And a lot of the culture shock people get from Tokyo can be experienced and seen here too, but to a lesser degree, in my opinion.

They both have large hi-tech industries. They both have an endless variety of neighborhoods. They both have interesting and very unique young fashion scenes. They both have impressively extensive metro systems, which provide much more interest for street photography than most cities. They both have streets buzzing with life, an interesting food scene and a strong nightlife. And they both have things you probably won’t see anywhere else. Seoul feels slightly muted in many comparisons to Tokyo, but like any city would be. It’s not all the same, of course, but I’m not sure how anyone can deny there’s a feeling that can bring comparisons. The first day walking around, the colors of the buildings and signs, along with streets and greenery, gave me a very Tokyo feeling.

Still, I’d say the cities are much more similar in how they look than how they act or feel. The people and culture are very different. While friendly enough, it’s not to the extreme degree of friendliness and hospitality you feel in Tokyo (which is on a different level from most any city, anyway). So, overall, I’d never compare the cultures, but I would compare the look and interest.

2. Markets everywhere

Seoul is full of markets. Even for a city its size, markets are found everywhere. Some are street markets along alleys and along sidewalks, while many are large, covered inside markets. I’m not a huge fan of the covered market style that is extremely popular here, mostly due to the bad/dark lighting, but many will love the endless number of them to explore. Finding the outside street markets is more my style for exploring with my camera. Luckily in Seoul, there are so many different markets, you can’t complain, or have trouble finding one. I probably ran into more here than I have in any city yet.

It would take pages to list all of Seoul’s markets, but here’s a few of the more popular ones (and ones I found interesting):

  • Namdaemun Market
  • Dongdaemun Market
  • Gwangjang Market
  • Garak Market
  • Noryangjin Fish Market
  • Majang Meat Market
  • Yeongdong Traditional Market
  • Guro & Daerim Central Market (most local feel)

3. Cheongyecheon Stream provides a relaxing and interesting walk through the center

The Cheongyecheon Stream is over 10 kilometers long and runs right through downtown Seoul. The stream flows below street level with pathways along each side, making it a more serene walk below the city. The city spent $900 million back in 2005 to fix it up with small waterfalls, bridges and more. While the surrounding downtown streets are busy, it can be surprisingly quiet along the stream, as people come to relax and stroll. It has an interesting atmosphere within downtown. You’ll find business suits on their lunch break, couples enjoying some privacy, and others going for a walk. It likely won’t bring chaos and loads of interesting scenes, but it can bring some interest, while also bring a change of scene when you’re already downtown.

 

4. Love the villages

Mixed into the sprawling modern metropolis, Seoul contains small, older villages still mixed in. Some are built on the mountain side, giving them even more character and views. Ihwa Mural Village is one of those villages, which takes you along a nice little wallside hike up Seoul’s Mt. Naksan to get there. In an effort to revitalized this old village, artists painted murals along its steep, winding streets. This also ended up bringing crowds of tourists after being featured in a movie. Some of the murals have been painted over, but it’s still an interesting place to check out for a change of scene in the city. I didn’t even really care about the murals, but more enjoyed the old Korean village atmosphere and city views. 

  

Another village I’d recommend isn’t on a mountain, but it’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seoul. Seochon Village is near Gyeongbokgung Palace so you’ll probably be in the area at some point, anyway. There’s a lot of Korean charm here and plenty of alleys and streets to explore. If you really enjoy this part of Seoul, you’ll find more villages by just continuing on toward Mt. Inwang. Seoul couldn’t be further from a village, but it’s nice to have the option to experience that atmosphere with your camera, while staying in the city.  

5. Myeongdong’s chaotic shopping center

In a city full of shopping destinations, Myeong-dong remains its most popular. The area is also a hub of commerce and banking in the center of the city, but is most known for its mix of retail stores, street stalls, restaurants, cafes, street food and people walking in every direction among the crowded pedestrian streets. Among the retail outlets, clothing and Korean cosmetics bring the most shoppers. Its not only popular with the locals, but also with international crowd, as it can feel touristy. For some, it might be too messy and crowded, but it does supply guaranteed activity at all times. With plenty of streets to explore, you can spend a good amount of time here too. While I’m not the biggest fan of crowded streets of people moving in all directions, it does have some areas where people hang out. And it provides a very much Seoul atmosphere with a good amount of K-pop character.

6. Itaewon for nightlife and drunk scenes

Itaewon is a popular district in Seoul, especially with expats and foreigners. It’s gritty and contains one of the city’s popular red light districts, but it’s all still safe and friendly. In addition to some of the grittier side, there’s plenty of nice restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. It’s a good area to explore with many pedestrian friendly streets and some of the better food in the city. There’s an international feeling here, including a nearby army base, and plenty of activity throughout the day, and night. 

Itaewon is especially popular for its nightlife. So on a street photography recommendation, I spent a whole night here shooting the streets and watching the drunken debauchery. There’s a lot going on here throughout the night and the streets are still busy up until the first metro ride in the morning. It definitely contains interest, especially during those last couple hours when people are done with the bars and are just stumbling together out on the street. That first metro ride can contain some interest too. I wouldn’t do it every night, but it was worth a night to see the neon lights and night scene in Seoul.

7. Huge city, but great metro system

When it comes to population, Seoul has over 10 million people, but when it comes to size, it’s even bigger. By some measurements, Seoul is considered the second largest city area in the world at over 230 square miles. This means you’re never going to see at all, but it also means it can be a little daunting even trying to see a variety of it. I was trying to explore and photograph as many interesting areas as I could, as usual, but it takes some planning here. You can’t just step outside and walk around. Since they’re likely to be far apart, you need to decide on one or two areas to give your time for the day. Luckily, Seoul’s metro system is great so it helps as much as possible. I used it more than just about any city I’ve been. Still, it can only do so much when many places are 40+ minutes apart. So prepare for the travel and distance when planning out your day of street photography.

It takes time to really experience and capture much of what Seoul has to offer, but the positive of that is how many places it does provide for street photography. In the end, I packed my time here well and was lucky to have amazing weather throughout. Below are just some of the areas spread around Seoul that I was able to give some time with my camera and enjoyed:

  • Hongdae
  • Sinchon
  • Sincheon
  • Itaewon
  • Seochon Village
  • Bukchon Village
  • Insadong
  • Myeongdong 
  • Gyeongnidan
  • Gangnam
  • Ihwa Mural Village
  • Gwanghwamun Square 
  • Cheongyecheon Stream
  • Dongdaemun
  • Namdaemun
  • Gwangjang Market

  

If any of you have been to Seoul before, tell me about your experience and impressions of the city and country in the comments below! And stay tuned for more on Seoul, including some of the best Street Photography shots I captured while there.

Click Here for More First Impressions on Cities Around the World 

(from a street photographer’s perspective)

    


City Street Guides by f.d. walker: A Street Photography Guide to Delhi, India

*A series of guides on shooting Street Photography in cities around the world. Find the best spots to shoot, things to capture, street walks, street tips, safety concerns, and more for cities around the world. I have personally researched, explored and shot Street Photography in every city that I create a guide for. So you can be...

*A series of guides on shooting Street Photography in cities around the world. Find the best spots to shoot, things to capture, street walks, street tips, safety concerns, and more for cities around the world. I have personally researched, explored and shot Street Photography in every city that I create a guide for. So you can be ready to capture the streets as soon as you step outside with your camera!

Delhi

Overview:

Delhi is India in all its historic, messy, chaotic glory. The good, the bad, and everything in-between. You want big city India, this is it. You want street markets, livestock, spices and smells, this it. You want history and interest around every corner, this is it. You want messy streets, dust and pollution, this is it too. Delhi is far from the most beautiful and colorful city in India, but it is full of life and an overwhelming atmosphere all its own. If you really want to experience India, you can’t miss Delhi.

Hazrat Nizamuddin | Delhi, India

So here’s a Street Photography guide so you can be ready to capture all that Delhi has to offer before you even arrive!

Map:

  1. Chandni Chowk/Red Fort (Lal Qila)/Jama Masjid
  2. Connaught Place
  3. New Delhi Station/Main Bazar Road
  4. Sadar Bazar
  5. Hazrat Nizamuddin
  6. India Gate
  7. Hauz Khas Village (Near Greenpark Market)

Top 7 Street Spots:

1. Chandni Chowk/Red Fort (Lal Qila) / Jama Masjid

India is known for chaos and Chandni Chowk is a perfect representation of how chaotic the streets can get here. Chandni Chowk is an endless market area in the heart of Old Delhi. You’ll find packed streets and alleys taking you through markets selling everything you can imagine, from spices, dried fruits and exotic oils to jewelry, clothing and plenty of street food. Mixed in, you’ll find an assortment of temples and the famous Red Fort nearby. 

Chandni Chowk | Delhi, India

Chandni Chowk has been around for centuries and you can feel it while exploring through the chaos. The crowds make avoiding messy photos difficult, but you can find ways and spots around it if you try. And for layers and that authentic, lively big city Indian atmosphere, this makes for a top spot to come get lost in. While it’s definitely packed with locals, it is also a top spot for tourists in Delhi. You can find some even more local feeling markets in the city, but probably not any more chaotic or with more variety to walk with your camera.

Chandni Chowk | Delhi, India

2. Connaught Place

Connaught Place is one of the largest commercial, business and financial centers in New Delhi. Running in a large circle around Rajiv Chowk, you’ll walk by shops, restaurants, chain stores, hotels and a few bars. It’s a busy area for pedestrians and traffic, but my favorite part is inside the circle around Central Park. This large circular green space fills with locals and might be the most popular spot in the city for young couples and friends to hang out. Nearby, you can also find a street market and more interest to explore. All in all, it’s not as chaotic or interesting as Old Delhi, but it gives you a more modern, urban side of the city to explore for street photography that always stays active.

3. New Delhi Station/Main Bazar Road

The New Delhi Railway Station is the main railway station in Delhi and the fourth busiest in the country. This provides activity and interest on its own, but it’s also right by Paharganj, also known as the Main Bazaar. In India, many people love to photograph the signature train station atmosphere and this New Delhi Station is as good as any for it. After capturing some of the life on the platforms, you can head west into the Main Bazaar. It’s very backpacker friendly here so it doesn’t feel as local as the other bazaars, but it still has its own busy feeling and a mixture of India meets tourism. This means you can find almost anything you want exploring its streets of shops and restaurants. It’s always busy here and provides more than enough area for hours of interest. While the hippy backpacker vibe might not be everyone’s favorite to capture while in India, it does provide a different scene with its own interest, characters and activity. And if you explore enough, you’ll get away from the tourism. It’s also full of budget lodging so it can make for a good base during your time shooting in Delhi. Two kilometers north of here you’ll also find Sadar Bazaar, one of my favorite bazaars in Delhi…

Paharganj (Main Bazaar) | Delhi, India

4. Sadar Bazar

On the west side of the train tracks from Chandni Chowk, you’ll find a bazar that rivals it for chaos. Sadar Bazaar is the largest wholesale market of household items in Delhi. The streets pack with crowds of locals just like you’d picture in India. For me, I might even prefer it to Chandni Chowk, although that’s all to personal taste. I find the backgrounds and light to be a little better here and easier to work with. And while both feel local and authentic, I don’t see as many tourists around here. Chandni Chowk has more chaos to explore, but Sadar Bazar has its own interest that I find unique. It’s open every day, except Sunday, so unless you want to capture its quiet side, make sure you come one of the other 6 days of the week. The train station is worth checking out too and heading south you can hit up New Delhi Station and the Main Bazar.

Sadar Bazaar | Delhi, India

5. Hazrat Nizamuddin

Nizamuddin West is the neighborhood surrounding the Dargah (mausoleum) of one of the Sufi saints. The Dargah complex itself has plenty to explore, while the surrounding market streets are always full of life. You’ll find other monuments and plenty of interest around every corner. This is mixed with the local Muslim life filling the streets and a number of visitors coming for prayer, shopping, and popular restaurants. More than just the chaos in the streets, you can find more interest if you really explore for more hidden spots. Children playing cricket, climbing the elaborate architecture or even swimming and jumping into the Nizamuddin Baoli, a sacred step well (pond). Friend and local street photographer Vineet Vohra thankfully showed me this neighborhood and it ended up being one of my favorite spots in Delhi.

Hazrat Nizamuddin | Delhi, India

6. India Gate

The 42 meter high India Gate stands at the center of New Delhi providing its famous “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway synonymous with city. It was built as a war memorial to the 82,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War. Today, it also serves as Delhi’s most popular selfie spot and tourist attraction. Still, it’s worth a stop with your camera to not only check out all the activity by the arch, but also explore the surrounding grassy lawns full of locals and picnics. It’s guaranteed activity here with open space and plenty of sunlight for street photography. Walking to the green space across the street you can usually find a cricket game too. While cliché photos are plentiful here, there’s still the opportunity to find something more interesting too.

India Gate | Delhi, India

7. Hauz Khas Village (Near Greenpark Market)

Hauz Khas Village has become the funky, hipster hotspot in Delhi. Once a historic residential village secluded from the center of the city in its greenery and deer park, today you’ll find fashion boutiques, bars, restaurants, music and artistic spaces. There’s a more open vibe here which attracts a very different scene from the rest of Delhi. This has also made it the prime spot for nightlife in the city. There’s a young, creative pulse here mixed in with crumbling monuments and nature. Before weekend nights, it doesn’t get too crowded here, but it’s still worth a visit for a change of scene while in Delhi. You’ll also find Greenpark Market, one of the more popular shopping districts in Delhi, with a more affluent accent compared to other bazars you’ll be more familiar with here. 

Sample Street Walk:

For a full day of Street Photography, covering some of the best spots, you can follow this sample street walk for Delhi:

  • Start your morning early exploring the chaotic Chandni Chowk (1)
  • After getting enough Chandni Chowk, head west across the train tracks to another chaotic market area in Sadar Bazar (4)
  • Then walk south to New Delhi Station and explore the Main Bazaar/Paharganj (3)
  • These three chaos and bazar filled neighborhoods will definitely pack a full a day of shooting so after finishing here, you can take New Delhi Station back home, if needed
Chandni Chowk | Delhi, India

3 Things I’ll Remember About Photographing Delhi:

1. Big, spread out city

There’s so much to love about big Indian cities for street photography, but walkability is usually the big exception. India’s major cities are usually very large and spread out. This is magnified by poor metro systems and heavy traffic. Some cities are condensed enough that you can walk most everywhere, while other cities provide metro systems and transportation that can easily get you to where you want to go. In India, especially Delhi, neither of these are true so you do have to work around this. Something that doesn’t look that far on a map can easily end up taking an hour in transportation, while walking on foot everywhere can leave you on empty streets for even longer. Delhi is as big and spread out as they come in India.

Paharganj (Main Bazaar) | Delhi, India

Fortunately, there are plenty of areas you can pick to explore away for hours on foot. So the best advice is to not try to cram too many places in one day or you’ll be in traffic half of it. I’d pick a couple of places with a variety of interest in the area and stick to them for the day. The areas around Chandni Chowk and New Delhi Station are two great choices with more than enough interest to last a day on foot exploring it all, while Hazrat Nizamuddin is another solid choice to take transportation to for a half day of shooting. 

2. Chaotic and Dusty

Delhi can get very hazy with a combination of thick smog and dust. Much of the time, there’s a brownish tint layered over the city, which can really be seen in photos. The amount of dust in the air affects the degree it’s seen more than anything, as some days there’s more than others, especially during dust storms when you can barely see through the brown tint. Constructions sites add even more to the dust and what you get is something that really becomes part of Delhi’s atmosphere. This means it doesn’t just have to be a negative, as it can become an effect and look to the photos that gives a feel of the city. From distant background views of the city and sky with a layer of brown, or up closer where you still get a bit of that brownish mask. Combine that with how Delhi is already a similar color, it gives it even more of that feeling. 

Paharganj (Main Bazaar) | Delhi, India

One thing to be aware of, though, is that with that layer of dust and smog, it’s like a constant ND filter of a stop, or more. Even without clouds on a typically hot day, the light won’t be as strong as your typical sunny day elsewhere. So make sure your photos aren’t underexposed if shooting manually in Delhi. 

3. Parks of Love

In India, city parks are always a very popular place for young love. Parks are a prime place for young couples to grab a spot by a tree or bush. Sometimes, almost all you see are young couples sitting or lying around the park. As a local told me, parks are also a popular location for these young couples and friends to skip school and university :) It definitely provides an interesting atmosphere when exploring parks in India, love is all around you. 

In Delhi, they have some popular parks of their own too. Central Park in Connaught Place and Lodi Gardens are two very popular parks for couples, but with different atmospheres. Connaught Place is a very busy business hub in Delhi with the circular Central Park in the middle. Due to it’s prime location, this spot is always busy with a variety of activity, but couples are everywhere. It’s always a popular spot for rose sellers because of it. Lodi Gardens, on the other hand, is much bigger and more beautiful. It’s more out of the way, but provides a much more scenic atmosphere. Couples and friends come here to hang out and take photos. While Connaught Place is usually better for street photography due to the guaranteed amount of activity and variety in the area, Lodi Gardens is worth one trip for the change of scenery within chaotic Delhi.

New Delhi Railway Station | Delhi, India

3 Non-Street Photography Things To Do in Delhi:

  • Eat: Chole Bhature, Paranthas, Chaat, Biryani, Butter Chicken and Nihari
  • Drink: Chai and Whiskey
  • Visit: The National Museum and National Rail Museum

Street Safety Score: 8

*As always, no place is completely safe! So when I talk about safety, I’m speaking in general comparison to other places. Always take precaution, be smart, observe your surroundings and trust your instincts anywhere you go!

As far as India goes, Delhi doesn’t have the best reputation for safety, but it’s still much safer compared to most other big cities in the world. As a man, you can feel fairly safe walking pretty much anywhere at most hours. Women should be more cautious, though. Still, food poisoning is honestly your greatest worry in Delhi. With normal street smarts, pick pocketing should be the only danger exploring Delhi for street photography during the day.

New Delhi Railway Station | Delhi, India

People’s Reaction Score: 8

India is well-known for its friendliness towards photography, probably more than any country in the world.  While locals tell me they’ve noticed slight changes over the years towards public photography, it’s still easier to shoot here without worry than just about anywhere else. Your biggest worry is people being too friendly towards street photography and trying to make their way into your photos, while posing. Delhi, and India in general, is a fun place to shoot and a great place for any beginners afraid of candid shooting.

Hazrat Nizamuddin | Delhi, India

Street Tips:

Use transportation: Tuk tuks, Uber, and sometimes metro

As previously mentioned, Delhi is a big, spread out city, even by India standards. For street photography, this can be a common problem in India’s big cities so you’ll need to use transportation a lot if you want to truly explore the city. I prefer walking everywhere, but it’s just not possible here. Luckily, you have multiple options in Delhi. Most of the time, especially for shorter distances, tuk tuks/rickshaws are your best option. They come bicycle powered, for the shortest distances, and motorized. As a foreigner, be prepared for a lot of haggling if you don’t want to be ripped off, though. For a no haggling option, Uber is helpful in Delhi, especially at night or for going specific places. And then there is the metro system that can get you a few major places, or at least in the area. 

Paharganj (Main Bazaar) | Delhi, India

A little less vibrant character, you have to look for it more here

Delhi is massive and full of places to explore with your camera, but in a country so full of interest and color, sometimes you have to work a little harder for a photo in Delhi. For India, it’s not quite as colorful here and the backgrounds aren’t always as pleasing. India is known for chaos, but organizing messy scenes is an especially valuable photography skill in Delhi. We’re talking about India, though, so it’s hard for any city to visually compare to cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Varanasi, or all of Rajasthan. Delhi still possesses what makes India amazing for street photography, you just have to look for it a little more. Luckily, it has endless neighborhoods to go looking with your camera.

Hazrat Nizamuddin | Delhi, India

Get up early

In a city full of bazars like Delhi, getting up really early is a great idea. You get a different atmosphere early. While it’s still active, it won’t be so overcrowded. Also, you get people setting up shop and interacting with each other, which provides a different scene than later. You can move and work scenes a little better too. And most importantly for many, that Delhi heat won’t be so scorching yet.

Delhi, India

Be careful of Delhi Belly

I’ve never had food poisoning anywhere in the world my whole life. Outside of India, that is. After many trips through India, I’m still batting 100% for food poisoning here, and Delhi seems to be the worst offender in my experience. It also seems just about every foreigner who has visited India for any length of time has the same experience. The term “Delhi Belly” was made for a reason so just be careful and bring some medicine just in case.

Inspiration:

For some more inspiration, you can follow and look through the work of local Delhi street photographers, and brothers, Vineet Vohra (@vineet_vohra) and Rohit Vohra (@rohit_apf). And as always, you can check out 33 of my photos taken in Delhi.

Chandni Chowk | Delhi, India

I hope this guide can help you go experience Delhi… So grab your camera and capture all that Delhi has to offer for Street Photography!

If you still have any questions about shooting in Delhi, feel free to comment below or email me!

(I want to make these guides as valuable as possible for all of you so add any ideas on improvements, including addition requests, in the comment section!)

Click Here For More City Street Guides!

(A New Guide Posted Every Other Week)

Hazrat Nizamuddin | Delhi, India

 


33 Street Photography Photos from Dhaka, Bangladesh

After finishing my last leg of India, I flew to Dhaka, Bangladesh, major city #51 on the project. Dhaka is the densest, fastest growing city in the world, with world leading traffic to match. Working against the congested traffic, city layout and other troubles can bring some challenges, but within all that chaos, is a friendly city full...

After finishing my last leg of India, I flew to Dhaka, Bangladesh, major city #51 on the project. Dhaka is the densest, fastest growing city in the world, with world leading traffic to match. Working against the congested traffic, city layout and other troubles can bring some challenges, but within all that chaos, is a friendly city full of life. Filled with chaotic streets, markets, old world atmosphere, history, spirituality, and energy, you won’t get bored in Dhaka. Along with all that, though, it brought the most welcoming experience and passionate photography community to date.

So here’s 33 photos that I was able to capture during my time in Dhaka…

33 Street Photography Photos from Dhaka

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For more info on Dhaka, be sure to check out my first impressions from a street photographer’s perspective. And stay tuned for one of my City Street Photography Guides to Dhaka.

Have you photographed Dhaka before or do you plan on it someday? Let me know about it in the comments below!

And let me know which photos you like best too!

Click Here for More “33 Street Photos” from Cities Around the World   

 


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