German photographer Andre Lutzen does not believe in a single image. To cover one subject and do justice to what it depicts, a sequence of photographs is necessary wherein the content in one image flows to the next telling a story. It was the thought process that goes behind each shot that dominated the photography workshop that he held at the Goethe Zentrum here on Saturday, rather than dwelling on the techniques of shutter speed, aperture and focus.
“You can read those off a manual,” says Mr. Lutzen, whose philosophy of ‘narrative photography’ was taken to by the 25 participants of the one-day workshop. After a brief session in the morning, they were split into groups of five and sent to ‘chase the monsoon’ in different parts of the city. But unexpectedly, the weather on Saturday was not particularly favourable for the kind of photography they had in mind as the sun shone through most of the day.
Renowned nature photographer Balan Madhavan, who turned assistant for a day, regarded that as an added challenge – whereby the participants were encouraged to find frames that contained an element depicting the monsoon even under blue skies.
At the end of the exercise, five photographs from each team had to be strung together to form a cohesive series and given a title.
In the evening, Mr. Lutzen and Mr. Madhavan along with the participants studied each picture and gave them valuable feedback on what could be done to improve that particular frame.
Mr. Lutzen’s keen sense of observation caught the unique elements in each frame, appreciating those that were simple yet effective in conveying the feel of the monsoon. He is living in Kochi for a month to add on to a series he has been working on that explores the concept of living spaces. He did this in Hanoi, in the cold reaches of northern Russia, and now in Kerala in the monsoon to understand how people arrange themselves and the things around them depending on the climate they live in.