8 awesome photographers from 3 continents, 2 weeks, 4 cities, 3 night trains, 1 Bollywood movie and 1 incredible experience.

“In a journey, more important than all the scenery and natural wonders, will be the people you will meet.” – Liviu Rebreanu

The Gang

I’ve always been a big believer that when it comes to positive experiences, although locations can have an impact, it’s really people that make it. So when Anna and I met up to plan the India street photography trip, one of the biggest challenges was who to invite. We new the experience would be intense and we’d spend a lot of time crammed together (from bunkbeds in hostels, to night train cabins and rickety tuk-tuks). So we needed people who would see the funny side of the ridiculous as well as get on with everyone else and share in our passion for travel and photography. To narrow the list we focused on photographers we both new personally. Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for a better group – a range of different characters that gelled together.

And so it’s time to introduce the gang of 8 (click on their names to check out their work). We had Anna – the co-organiser of the trip and queen of facial expressions (I submit photos below as exhibit A). Andy – the plucky Australian who took everything thrown at him with a smile (check out his hobbit bed below). Anja – the champ who strode on defiantly for the entire final week with a nasty chest infection without complaint. Alex – my brother in arms for our Bollywood Adventure (involved us leading a company of Indian recruits up a mountain in the dark in our military best). Carla – the palinca nurse and logistics queen. John – the Maharaja of London (when you see his moustache you’ll understand). And finally Jide – my brother from New York and pose master.

A Live 3D Virtual Street Photography Experience

Photo of a 3D Gallery for a virtual Street Photography exhibition

I’ve created a Virtual Street Photography Experience with my fiancé and fellow tog Corina. It includes a 3D Gallery that you can actually walk around and audio guide with stories behind the photos! We’re using it to raise money for World Vision’s Covid19 Crisis Response. And it’s live right now!

Check it Out!

How We Learned From Each Other

One of the best parts of doing these trips as a group is what you stand to learn from each other. With such a talented set of photographers, with different experiences and skill sets, there was a ton to share and learn from. During lunch and evening breaks we routinely swap around cameras to see how others had seen things differently. We also ran some mini critiques on how photos could be improved next time. These exercises were gold. Looking back through how my work developed from New Delhi, through Jodhpur, Kolkata and finally Varanasi I can clearly see the impact the group had on my work. So thanks gang :)


Camera Choice – One Body, One Lens

I took one camera body and one lens for our India trip. The Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera and 23mm f2 prime lens (35mm equivalent for full frame cameras). One of the things I picked up from my consultancy days was the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).  Limiting my gear choice while shooting allowed me more time to focus on what was important in creating a great photo – light, composition and moment. It also meant no lens changes for me which, due to the level of dust, did cause some issues for others in the group.

This was my first time using the Fuji X-T2 (I’m usually a Nikon D750 fella) and it was a beautify. For street photography (especially because of it’s size and silent shutter option) I found it the perfect choice.  There where a few times where I would have enjoyed the tighter look of the 35mm (talking crop frame) but on the whole the 23mm was the perfect balance for the stories I was trying to capture. I chose the f2 over the f1.4 after the Fuji team informed me it was faster and sharper as the newer model. The fact it was smaller/lighter and cheaper was an added bonus.  As I shoot most my street photography work around f11, I had no need for the lower f stops.

Trip Highlights

After realising first hand this year how fragile our memories can be, even of the best experiences, I brought along a note book a friend had recently given me (cheers Punil). Every couple of days I’d sit down and write bullet points of all the humorous, fun and profound experiences I’d encountered. At the risk of losing this treasure trove of awesome memories, I’ve copied them below in-between the photos. This will mainly act as a journal for myself and others on the trip so most of it probably won’t make sense without context.

Now time for the best bit – photos of the gang in action (among doing other things).

New Delhi Highlights

  • Christmas jumper dogs
  • Rooftop bar meal
  • Dash for the train
  • Indian red wine
  • ‘Helpful’ security guard
  • Slum tours (resilience and hospitality)
  • Anja’s naan affair
  • Magic Mike
  • Fish fly market
  • Jide’s pole
  • Carla’s salty lassie
  • The longest of Long Island Ice Teas

Jodhpur Highlights

  • Wedding in street
  • Train stories
  • Rooftop lunch and rum
  • Andy’s interview ambush
  • Bollywood adventure Highlights
    • Asthma escape
    • Leading column in dark
    • Shit runner in white trousers
    • Returning to fort in British uniform – “not again”
  • Alex’s “Oh baby”
  • Lazy hostel roof mornings
  • Alex’s 360 Camera
  • 3x shit attack (birds and dogs)
  • Tiny tea cups
  • Anna’s face
  • 8 hour train delay
  • Late night train station dining
  • Sitting out of train door
  • Andy spitting on Anna (photos below)
  • Plane extra leg room

Kolkata Highlights

  • Carla’s Palinca
  • Kicked ass at table football
  • Spice market
  • Sunrise mud wrestling
  • Informed that I’m ‘cosy’
  • Ferry trip
  • Local restaurants
  • Rishi’s (homestay) recommendations
  • Andy’s hobbit hole (spot it in the photos)
  • Nap time
  • Playing black and white
  • Jide’s timely undressing
  • 360 group photo
  • Damn Japanese singing water machine
  • Sprayed with blood
  • Playing on train tracks
  • Armed escort from station
  • Indian surprise cocktail
  • Andy review/backlink disagreement
  • Rahul wrestling guy
  • Chai corner
  • Chai clay cups
  • Old school yellow taxis
  • Night photo adventures

Varanasi Highlights

  • 7 people in 5 seater taxi (Anna mad)
  • Bean bag chill time
  • Finding local priced rum with Amir
  • Dominos pizza run in tuk tuk
  • Sun rise boat trip
  • Wander along the ghats
  • Magnet fishing for coins
  • Partners dunking in river
  • Cheeky monkeys
  • Anna *** bird noises
  • DYI piñata
  • Indian Jenga
  • John Agnostic rum chat
  • Nap times
  • Walk with Andy’s local gym buddy
  • Explanation of burning ghat ritual
  • Window moon
  • Monkey cage restaurant
  • Kite fighting
  • Group photo #Jidepose
  • Don’t trust dominos!!
  • Tuk tuk hell
  • Local shave (soooo soft)
  • 1st class train
  • Politician with armed escort neighbour
  • Rum and mango train cocktail
  • Anna noise = angry politician

Brothers & Sisters in Arms

It seems experiences like this create a bond between those you’ve shared it with, maybe because the intensity of it (as Carla is kindly demonstrating in that last photo). I can say to each and everyone of you that I hope our paths cross again in the future and if you ever find yourselves in London, let’s grab a pint, but Dominos Pizza is banned (don’t ask).