For documentary photographer and filmmaker Randeep Maddoke, photography is an extension of painting. A graduate in fine arts from Government College of Art, Chandigarh, for years now, Maddoke has been enriching his understanding of visual expression. He has been working on projects focussing on caste discrimination in India and Nepal, the ecology of Punjab and landless labour. He is now sharing his experiences with those passionate about photography. He is the coordinator at the Chandigarh School of Photography that offers opportunities for practical learning with intensive outdoor workshops across the country. The first was recently held in Spiti Valley.
Maddoke notes that more people are gaining interest in the art form. “I want to increase visual literacy and create awareness about visual language. I have developed a module that focuses on the history of photography, from classical to contemporary practices to role of photography in world events, information about scholarships, grants and opportunities in the field and changes in technology, how different lens and cameras work. There is a wealth of information that can be utilised. As a student of fine arts, I have studied the history, aesthetics and development of art and this knowledge has given me a new perspective in the field of photography,” explains Maddoke.
The seven-day workshop in Spiti had participants from Jalandhar, Delhi and Australia and focused on the technical aspects, visual language and aesthetics of photography. After a brief lecture, the participants, including Maddoke, would step out to take photographs with no particular theme. The subjects ranged from the landscape to the people, architecture and monasteries. Maddoke would also discuss the essentials of a good composition. “At the end of the day, we would evaluate each photograph and discuss its technical aspects. The energy was terrific. I am a one-shot photographer, but there I sometimes took four to five shots to capture the light and its effect on the landscape,” says he.
The other vital aspects of the workshop was to work on a short travel documentary film and a photo exhibition, which, Maddoke says, will give young photographers a platform to present their work. “You cannot focus only on one aspect. At the school, we want to build a larger community of photographers, filmmakers, artists and teachers,” says he.