Tell us about India. What do you love about it the most?
India is both frenetic and intense. It seems to oscillate between running by some strange clockwork and completely imploding under the pressure of its massive population. Some places such as the markets are an assault on all the senses whilst other places in the mountains feel like the most peaceful place on earth. I loved having to work through each day, it seemed the worse it began the better it would end. There was always a surprise or a twist to everything for us.
From a photographer’s perspective, what’s most inspiring to you?
India really changed the way I looked at things and forced me out of my comfort zone. On previous holidays I could always rest on taking some nice landscape photos or some abstract details but with so many people it seemed impossible to find a landscape that wasn’t marred by human contact. I had to shift my focus to the people themselves and capture the faces of the cultures that I was encountering for the first time. It’s really the only portrait series I have ever shot.
Where were the photos taken and what drove you to pick the subjects you picked?
The photos were taken mostly around the North of India. I travelled there with a friend (one of the few trips I have done without my partner Kate) and we decided to go in May. It was so hot in much of the country we stayed as far north as we could, even heading up into Kashmir for a week. I chose subjects that I encountered along the way who’s faces I found interesting.
How did you discover your love for photography?
It has been a pretty surreal journey. I never considered myself artistic or creative at all. I couldn’t draw so i figured that was the best sign to stay away from it. I got an SLR for my 20th birthday and fell in love with everything about photography. It combines my nerdy-techy side, my pedantic perfectionist side and my love of meeting new people. Since then it’s kind of been a series of “dream come true” moments to take me to where I am today.
Most fascinating country you’ve been to, and why?
I think India would have to be up there. It’s so incredibly different from Australia and it is steeped in culture spanning thousands of years. The nuances that develop over that period of time is amazing to see. We also completed an un-intentional tour of the faiths of India and met holy people from each. Exiled buddhists in Dharamsala, Sikh Guru’s in Amritsar and Holy men in Varanassi and it was incredible to learn about their practices and beliefs.
If you could pick one word to describe your work, what would it be?
Australia-based photographer Tom Blachford is well known for interiors and architecture photography. Blachford’s Instagram account sheds light on that aspect of his work but we looked close enough and discovered a world of wanderlust and passion for travel. This portrait series on India is his first and came about unexpectedly. While different from a lot of his work, it carries the heart and passion we see on a lot of his photos, taking us on a visual travel through the North of India.