Passion knows no age—17-year-old Amira Chanana has chosen to click in the medium of yesteryears. Leaving behind colour, she prefers black and white photographs and is soon going to be holding her first exhibition titled Travelogue at Alliance Francaise, New Delhi, from July 28.
Currently pursuing her education in UK, she calls her body of work as Chiaroscuro, the intrinsically intertwined light and dark captured through her lens. Her love for photography began at the age of 11 influenced by her frequent travels to different parts of the world and wanting to capture every moment at its finest and authentic experience. Excerpts from an email interview:
In the age of colour and fast moving digitals, why did you choose black and white?
In the 21st century when everyone is in a hurry to capture their colorful moments and destinations with the latest camera they have, they loose the essence of appreciating the emotion and sensitivities of the picture. The naked eye is swayed by the rainbow of colors in the photograph and sadly the nuances are not noticed. Hence, black and white photography appeals to me on a deep level emotionally. It enhances the emotions in the photograph and allows the naked eye to capture the nuances in a short span of time. In my opinion, I also thoroughly enjoy the dramatics of a black and white photograph. Therefore I chose this medium to photograph in.
What fascinates you when you shoot a picture?
My lens is my second eye. What I can visualise from my naked eye, so can the person next to me. However, what I am able to discern through my lens and naked eye in conjunction, is what fascinates me as it is unique to my perception and understanding. Also, I am constantly fascinated by the subtle changes that occur momentarily in each scene that I shoot. So every shot is different in it’s own way.
Did you have any formal training or are planning to have any formal training?
I have not had any official formal training but I have been/am being mentored by my photography teacher at school. I also take dark room photography lessons at my school and can print my own negative photographs. In the coming years I do want to take up formal training in photography. I believe it is important for me to enhance my skills in photography and learn more about the different techniques in this field.
Five shots that appeal to you
1) Colosseum, Rome: The invincible and majestic Colosseum stood almost in the middle of this beautiful city. I could not fathom that this monument has been around for over 10,000 years. The contrast between the 21st century cars and technology around this historic monument was a sight in itself to see. I was truly in awe of its presence and preservation of the Colosseum.
2) Granada, Spain: Granada is a small yet significant town in the Andalusia (southern Spain). The vast amounts of culture and tradition packed into this small zone was far from overwhelming, it was enriching. I visited Granada during the time of Semana Santa (coming up to Easter). This time period in Granada reflected its multicultural influences- the Arabic designed buildings mixed with the Christian festivities. The atmosphere was truly genial and welcoming.
3) Beach in Mauritius-This beautiful island is beyond aesthetically pleasing. I had the opportunity to drive through it and the abundance of nature along with simple living was phenomenal to see. The inhabitants of this island seemed carefree and happy which gave the place an even better feel. Coming from London and Delhi, this destination provided me with the ultimate detox and relaxation time.
4) Madrid, Spain-Spain is my favorite country in Europe. Maybe it’s because I am almost fluent in the beautiful language but also because it is generally a warm and culture rich country. Madrid was not only modern and 21st century city but it encompassed an old world charm that brought the city to life. Driving from new Madrid to old Madrid, the difference between the two parts of the city became more distinct however the citizens were the same- they enjoyed both the old and the new with the same gusto and enthusiasm.
5) New York City: The energy, the attitude and the vibe of this city fulfills my inner ‘new age’ thirst. Being a child of this highly developed and technologically advanced era, NYC is the epitome of all this and more. It is full of contrasting and interesting sights to see on every street and avenue. From downtown to midtown and from the east to the west side, each part of NYC seems to hold it’s own and be self sufficient. The diversity of people in the city is phenomenal and unlike any other city on this planet.