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  • Writer's pictureMrinal Bahukhandi

ONE Love - A Photo Challenge

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

ONE - Hour

ONE - Camera

ONE – Lens

ONE - Location

ONE - Film Roll (of 36 Images).

I have always been fascinated by reality and what it has to offer. It surpasses imagination on most counts, especially because of its ability to update itself constantly and manifest unfailingly with brilliant outcomes. Streets are where "reality" unfolds most indiscreetly and that is why street-photography is one of the most popular genre of camerawork out there, practiced avidly by amateurs and professionals alike.

My love for street photography is coupled with my love for the full frame 35mm format. I would seldom use the 35mm standard for indoor or fine art. But in the streets, 35mm is the king (making the 120mm format a crowning glory). I have shot streets on 35mm film as well as on digital and have enjoyed both. Digital enables you to get the perfect image since the photographer can pick the "one" out of a burst. However, with film, one really has to time the shots well, making “perfection” a true art. But what if, you were left in a place you will not have the chance to visit for a long time, with just one hour of daylight remaining and a ISO100 roll that has 20 exposures balance. I would be greedy to shoot as much as possible and a fool not to do so. It was a similar situation that made me develop a unique self-imposed challenge that I have since been exploring and practicing.

Here, I explain and propose the same to everyone. The “ONE” project is a challenge any photographer puts himself up to, wherein he or she is allowed to use only one lens of his choice, on a 35mm SLR, with one film roll of his choice, in any one location, for only one hour. What will make this more exciting is if the photographer is able to develop and scan the roll within the same day, taking this project to “journalistic” levels. The sheer dynamics of choosing to shoot a subject changes the moment the photographer knows he has the luxury of exposing 36 images in one hour. One cannot be too picky while at the same time one cannot get on to the paparazzi mode. What if you empty out your ammunition 15 minutes too early, and then you notice the most amazing portrait opportunity? Timing makes this challenge fun and tests your instincts. If you are practicing this exercise with friends, then you will possibly hunt down the subjects before they get to them. At the same time, you will be inspired by what others are able to bring out. The adrenaline mixed with careful restraint can be a challenging experience. For me it has always been a “walk in the park” but the park has always been an“uphill” climb. I have had some pretty disappointing images and some have been spectacular. One can stumble upon a picturesque section in the given location, but one cannot stay there for too long, cause that will be monotonous and counter productive.

A recent shoot of mine at The Dhobi Ghat (world's largest open laundromat) is an example of such a challenge. Some images are so embarrassingly bad, that I could not post them, while a few were surprisingly good. I chose a cluttered and closed space, but one can always choose a scenic location and practice this challenge. Realism does not always have to be stark and lensing can never disappoint with a film roll to back it up.

Set your own rules and have fun.

Scroll down for the complete series shot in Dhobi-Ghat on my Instagram page.

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