Many praises have been heaped on the kind person and spectacular talent of Prashant Godbole.
However, my introduction to his talent was sudden. A photograph of a swash buckling pony-horse kicking its hind legs nonchalantly at the Mumbai sky –as if making a statement of its irreverence — had captured, imprinted and stayed long with my imagination. I had then admired this photographer’s spontaneity, keen attentive eye, detail and mind’s imagination for the moment’s ability to see this image in a flash and capture it for posterity. I wondered was he young, battered, egotistical? Little did I know that I would be sitting with this talent with his kind, intelligent, amused eyes at a work meeting with Lynn de Souza at the Social Access office for thinkers and doers. It was my lucky day. It was a spontaneous kindred spirit I had met.
New to the city of Mumbai now as a dweller – having lived as a travelling guest on work in and out of Times office guest houses and hotels –Mumbai has always intrigued me, tested me, thrown me into her bylanes to discover, shown me her people, faces, minds, moods and graciousness. Each man for his own, she says. And in that the mind’s eye gets sharper, your soul expands to grow, the spaces closing in on you or opening its girth, as Godbole’s photographs tell you the stories of life. Stark, naked, incisive, intrusive, in all its murk, beauty, darkness, light, pain, survival, triumph, in exquisite, almost painstaking detail and emotion. There is a soul stirring intelligence even in the eyes of the animals and birds he captures, who bore straight into your heart. The medium of black and white continues to be my sole favourite of expression, a journey of speed and frame that tell of Godbole’s mastery of time and spirit.
Showcasing a body of work recently`Shattered Not Broken’ in commemoration of 26/11, Godbole’s select work will also grace the forthcoming exhibition `Serendipity Arts Festival’ from December 16-23 in Goa.
A shutter speed interview with Godbole:
Ethel Da Costa: Tell us what happens the few moments before you peer into your lens
Prashant Godbole: When I peer into the lens I see there are no dust particles on the glass. I peer through the view finder before taking the photograph. I am capturing life with the help of my eyes at a tremendous speed of 299792458 m/per second, so my thoughts are only focused on my reflexes and getting the shot right.
ED: What goes on in the mind of Prashant Godbole behind the camera
PG: It’s all about finding something extraordinary in an ordinary place. Your interpretation at that moment and stealing a suspended moment at 10 thousandths of a second. And hoping you haven’t missed what you just experienced, plus getting all the 200 settings on the camera just right.
ED: Explain the soul of your narratives
PG: Any narrative is only as good as the emotions it evokes. As a photographer or as an artist you are observing people and their diversity, traditions, culture, their emotions like affection, love, greed, lust, joy, etc. The only way to make sense of all this is to plunge into it wholeheartedly, move with it, enjoy it and find a connection with the moment.
ED: Your work is Poetry, Art and a Commentary. What comes first and how do you achieve your balance
PG: As a street photographer, you don’t set out and say I will do poetic images today or brilliant art images, or I will shoot images that will be a commentary on life. No, you are constantly searching, living, enjoying the process of photography. Its beauty lies in its spontaneity – the fact that you don’t know what you are going to see or click. You keep shooting and then discover something magical in the process.
ED: You have travelled many places. Which city do you long to photograph
PG: I focus on people, not places. So any city or town or village that lends itself to a deep human moment, I’ll always be happy to shoot there.
ABOUT PRASHANT GODBOLE:
Prashant Godbole has been working in the advertising industry for the last 25 years. He is passionate about photography and capturing the life of a moment on film. Street photography is an extension of this very passion, and makes room for instinct, which finds better expression in street photography than in most other forms. Prashant does not discriminate between street photography, still-life, nature etc., and with each image he tries to tell a story, make you smile and often surprise you.
All photographs courtesy: Prashant Godbole
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