Photography is known to be an extension of painting, and documentary photographer and filmmaker Randeep Maddoke has explored this belief as part of several projects across the country. A fine arts graduate from the Government College of Art, Chandigarh, Maddoke has been enriching his understanding of visual expression — be it his work on caste discrimination in India and Nepal, ecology of Punjab or landless labour. Now he strives to share the varied aspects of the artform and his experiences with people passionate about photography. The Chandigarh School of Photography, of which Maddoke is the coordinator, has a digital presence and opportunities of practical learning, with intensive outdoor workshops which Maddoke is planning to conduct across the country. The first one of these was held last week in Spiti.
Maddoke says that more and more people are gaining interest in the artform as the process of photography has now become digital. “What I strive to do with the online school is to focus on visual literacy and create awareness about visual language. I have personally developed a module which focuses on the history of photography, the masters — from Aristotle to the contemporary practitioners, role of photography in world events, information about scholarships, grants, opportunities in the field, change in technology, and how different lenses and cameras work, among others. There is a wealth of information that can be utilised. As a student of fine arts, I have studied the history, aesthetics, development of art and this knowledge has given me a new perspective in the field of photography,” explains Maddoke.
The photographer adds that through outdoor photography assignments, analysis, lectures, as part of the seven-day workshop, he took participants from Jalandhar, Delhi and Australia to Spiti 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 one theme or subject restricting the work process. The landscape, people, architecture, monasteries, and everyday life were the focus, with Maddoke discussing components of a good composition, many norms of the artform, how much to see, the nature of the landscape, and where is the subject placed, among others. “At the end of the day, we would talk and evaluate each photograph, what else could be done with it and also focus on the technical aspects of each picture. The group energy was terrific and there were so many new aspects to share. Teaching has also taught me how to see the medium in a new light. I am a one-shot photographer, but here, I sometimes took four to five shots to capture the light and its effect on the landscape,” he says.
Another vital aspect of the workshop is to work on a short travel documentary film and photography exhibition, which, says Maddoke, will give young photographers a platform to present their work. “You cannot focus only on one aspect. The aim is to present a larger picture by involving other photographers, filmmakers, artists, teachers and build a larger community,” he says