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Confessions of a Large Format Photographer

It is not easy to take a bad photo in India and it remains one of my favourite destinations as a result.

This one is taken at Mandu, Madya Pradesh, one of the most beautiful ruined medieval cities of India.  I had taken the photo the previous day, but the sun had moved around in the sky enough to have it come through the entrance at an angle. Clearly that wasn’t going to do at all. Oh well, what’s another day?

So I got there in plenty of time the next day and had my camera in place and ready for the midday sun. Problem: I really wanted a local figure using the steps to create point of interest but had just a 5-minute window of opportunity with the sun in the right position. Solution: offer a few rupees to a local to play the part. I chose the wrong man. Perhaps he was intimidated by the large format camera, but he came up with the most wooden and unnatural performance conceivable. He looked exactly as he was: a paid extra.

Enter Photoshop. The man in the photo above was just going about his business the previous day. I combined the two photos. That shadow he is casting is entirely manufactured.

There, I said it.

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