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Harish Tyagi, а member of the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest 2020 Jury, Chief photographer (Indian sub-continent) for the European Press Photo Agency (EPA).

Harish Tyagi: If the image is strong enough and connects emotionally with the viewer, you have succeded as a photographer

© Harish Tyagi
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Interview of Harish Tyagi: EPA and Jury Andre Stenin Contest 2020

Harish Tyagi, а member of the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest 2020 Jury, Chief photographer (Indian sub-continent) for the European Press Photo Agency (EPA).

An Elephant named Gajraj, who was rescued from an Indian royal family, takes the mud bath near the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital after receiving medical treatment in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, 180 Kilometers from New Delhi, India, 22 November 2018.
An Elephant named Gajraj, who was rescued from an Indian royal family, takes the mud bath near the Wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital after receiving medical treatment in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, 180 Kilometers from New Delhi, India, 22 November 2018.

Q. The outcome of every contest depends on the experts judging it. But jurors are just human beings with their subjective views and professional likes and dislikes. What could help you keep an open mind and avoid current influences/trends/clichés?

A. The digital world has had an overhauling impact on photography – the way it is shot, edited, viewed and transmitted. It has reduced the time lag between an event and the point where the photograph is seen by the end viewer. As for profession and passion – if you want to feel rooted to your work and enjoy it  cannot be done without passion. Photojournalism mostly involve human interest stories. From disasters to famines to current affairs and daily life the gamut of the medium rotates around the person on the street and the public at large. It is very important for a photographer or if your are a Jury member,  to connect with viewers or photo enthusiasts emotionally.

A Tibetan exile runs after setting fire to himself in New Delhi during a protest against Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit in New Delhi, India, 26 March 2012.
A Tibetan exile runs after setting fire to himself in New Delhi during a protest against Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit in New Delhi, India, 26 March 2012.

The more work experience you have better you connect with the images, for example,  if a Jury  looking and trying to form a conclusion on  the set of images on the earthquake and a Jury member himself or herself being in that same situation in the past, will surely help the Jury member to gain a better understanding about the photographer's effort he or she put in taking the picture.

For me if the image is strong enough and connects emotionally with the viewer or jury,   you have succeded as a photographer and you deserve to be a winner.

A view of Connaught Place, one of the business and financial hubs in New Delhi, India, 24.
A view of Connaught Place, one of the business and financial hubs in New Delhi, India, 24.
Pigeons walk in an empty parking space in Connaught Place, one of the business and financial hubs in New Delhi, India, 24 March 2020.
Pigeons walk in an empty parking space in Connaught Place, one of the business and financial hubs in New Delhi, India, 24 March 2020.

Q. Since its invention, photography has been positioned as an independent art form that doesn’t need any additional formats to explain the themes or subjects in the image.  However, today photographers make use of a multitude of other formats to express their meaning more clearly. Many photo projects are based on multimedia formats. Is the art of photography driving itself into a corner by abandoning the purity of the genre, which is a direct dialogue between the image and the viewer?

A. Well, there is no comparison between the social media (that include every platform that photographers are using to reach their followers)  and mainstream media as mainstream media still holds credibility and helps the masses to shape their thoughts. In my opinion any social media can be a good platform to advertise your work and to interact with your followers but surely it is not very reliable unless you know the photographer personally or understand the background of his work. Multimedia and other formats can help for the overall understanding for your photographic project but there is a risk element in that if you have other stuff more then the visuals. The risk of  only being impressive but not being expressive enough.

A woman brushes the floor stands next to her new toilet at Katra village in Badaun Uttar Pradesh, India, 31 August 2014.
A woman brushes the floor stands next to her new toilet at Katra village in Badaun Uttar Pradesh, India, 31 August 2014.
An Indian man is surrounded by polluted froth and toxic foam as he takes a holy bath as part of a Hindu ritual at the polluted Yamuna river in New Delhi, India, 24 October 2017.
An Indian man is surrounded by polluted froth and toxic foam as he takes a holy bath as part of a Hindu ritual at the polluted Yamuna river in New Delhi, India, 24 October 2017.

Indeed “A picture is Worth a Thousand Words” today as anytime before. Even bloggers need photographs to weave their story. The two complement each other. The impact of a photograph actually gives the story mileage than the other way round.

Indian widows participate in a celebration of the Holi festival in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India, 21 March 20
Indian widows participate in a celebration of the Holi festival in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India, 21 March 20

Q. What can make you exclaim about a photo: “Well done!”?

A. When I  work or look into on a long projects I like to spend some researching and reading about the subject. I feel the more indepth knowledge one  should have about subject the better the depth with which one can portray in it. Ultimately photographs have to speak for themselves and retain a timeless appeal. 

A photo of the 19 year old farmer Mukesh Yadav, who committed suicide by consuming pesticide, hangs on the wall of his residence in Lachur village in Sehore Madhya Pradesh, India, 19 May 2018
A photo of the 19 year old farmer Mukesh Yadav, who committed suicide by consuming pesticide, hangs on the wall of his residence in Lachur village in Sehore Madhya Pradesh, India, 19 May 2018
Indian elderly widows look on as others participate in the Holi festival in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India, 14 March 2014.
Indian elderly widows look on as others participate in the Holi festival in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India, 14 March 2014.
Nepalese earthquake survivors salvage their belongings from their damaged houses in devastated area of Bhaktapur, outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, 18 May 2015.
Nepalese earthquake survivors salvage their belongings from their damaged houses in devastated area of Bhaktapur, outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, 18 May 2015.

Like I said before For me if the image is strong enough and connects emotionally with the viewer or jury,   you have succeded as a photographer and you deserve to be a winner.

Read more here:  http://www.delhiphotographyclub.com/