Capturing the essence of Delhi from behind the lens, a group of photographers share some of their best works and explain what it is about the city, which comes packed with several fascinating experiences, that makes it the ultimate destination for street photography.
Why is Delhi so unique?
What is it about the capital of the largest democracy in the world that makes it stand out amongst the rest?
The answer is often complex and multi-layered. Delhi has something for everyone, but knowing where to go and what to look for comes with its own set of challenges. It is this uncertainty in the familiarity that adds a characteristic appeal to the city and gives it a distinct identity.
For an avid photographer, there are ample opportunities throughout Delhi to immerse in its culture, traditions, festivals, celebrations, history, and of course the people through whom the diversity of the city shines brightly.
A city that adores its food and cherishes its historic past, there also lies a sense of eternal pride in its citizens who often go to lengths to showcase their love for Delhi.
Delhi is nevertheless a mismatch of personalities. And yet, no matter where we come from, in the end, we all become Delhiites.
Sumanta, who is one of many people that have at one time or another called Delhi their home, captures the essence of the city brilliantly as he explains how there is a rare harmony that exists underneath the chaotic facade of the city.
“Delhi is a perfect “Melting Pot” in terms of people not only coming together from various sections of the country but from all over the world. It is a beautiful mix of cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, traditions, in addition to modern thoughts, values, and a futuristic outlook.
Delhi has a rich and deep-rooted heritage, but at the same time, it has become one of the most fast-paced and fashionable cities in the world. All of these elements come together and reflect beautifully through the city’s age-old markets, seedy lanes, street art, buildings, and of course the very people that have always been the heart that keeps Delhi beating.”
Delhi is India in all its historical, messy, chaotic glory! Delhi is far from the most beautiful and colourful city in India, but it is full of life and an overwhelming atmosphere all its own. Some of the images that can be seen on the streets are visually stunning. – Prasenjit Bose
Among the most exciting places in all of Delhi is the area of Old Delhi including Chandni Chowk. The fascinating appeal of Old Delhi lies in the fact that within a distance of only 2-3 km there exist places that are significantly different in energy and significance. Adjacent to Lal Qila is the lively market of Chor Bazar. Here, one can find the most obscure objects being sold on makeshift stalls. Visitors can buy anything from a needle to spices, clothes, watches, and toys. The market also houses more expensive luxuries of life like air coolers and AC parts at a very negotiable price. You name it, and there is a shop somewhere in the market where you will get it. For a photographer, this place presents different moods and stories to capture. – Navneet Kaur Virk
I was born in Delhi and lived half of my life there, so it’s quite simply home to me. What I do like about the city is that it is ever-changing. The people that inhabit it have over the years transformed it into something completely different, and each new decade sees a dramatic change which reflects through the attitude of the residents. At the same time, some things are constant, and it is this melange of emotions that the people of Delhi carry with them at all times that makes the city ideal for street photography. – Raghav Modi
I find that Yamuna Ghat is a perfect place for street photography because it takes you to an altogether different mood from the hustle and bustle of city life to a peaceful place. On the Yamuna Ghat, there are always people visiting for rituals. The river, the pandits & their families staying there on the ghat, their houses painted in vintage shades, the old trees, the visitors coming for boating, the reflection of rising and setting Sun in the river water, the seagulls in winter, the pigeons and dogs that can always be found there just add so many elements for street stories. – Navneet Kaur Virk
Mehrauli, situated on the outer reaches of southern Delhi, exudes the essence of co-existence and amalgamation of ‘Old & New’ – Be it in terms of culture (education systems, faith, religious beliefs, buildings both ancient and modern) or the way of life for the people who live. The streets and the people give you glimpses into the past and at the same time show you how that past has made way for and embraced the future. – Sumanta Ghosh
Mehrauli is the side of Delhi that hasn’t changed for centuries. The old walls of the monuments tell stories of the past, whereas the people living in the village have followed the same traditions their ancestors did centuries ago. – Raghav Modi
Azadpur Sabzi Mandi
I find Azardpur as the perfect location for street photography because of the unique character of the place. Unlike the serene Yamuna Ghat, the sabzi mandi is full of action, the hustle and bustle. Mornings are best to visit this place. From the big sellers who bring truckloads of vegetables for mass consumption to the small farmers who arrive here to sell their daily produce, one experiences a lot of activity, enhanced by the sounds which add to the whole atmosphere. Azadpur Sabzi Mandi is especially perfect for street portraits. – Navneet Kaur Virk
Durga Puja celebrations in Delhi are much like their Kolkata counterpart and promises crazy days of fun and frolic and not to mention the fantastic photo opportunities everywhere. The decorations of the pandal are extravagant, and hundreds of devotees visit every day during the festival dates to participate in the rituals and get a glimpse of the goddess. – Prasenjit Bose
My first visit to C. R Park just before Durga Puja was a revelation. I spend most of my wonder years living near the colony, but somehow always missed out on the celebrations. Watching the craftsmen make the idols and capturing street scenes that particular day, about three years back, was when my interest in street photography started. – Raghav Modi
About the Photographers:
Sumanta Ghosh – Sumanta is a photographer as well as a business owner (Interiors), with a longing desire to capture and share beautiful moments in time. Photography is not only his passion but also his place of zen. You can view more of Sumanta’s work on his website Soulful Lumiere or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Navneet Kaur Virk – Navneet comes from a village in Punjab and is a chartered accountant working in an MNC in Gurgaon. Photography is her passion. She likes to capture life as it happens around her with an inclination towards nature and street photography. She can sometimes be found scribbling her thoughts both in Punjabi and Hindi. Navneet shares her photos and writings on Instagram and Facebook.
Prasenjit Bose – Prasenjit loves to keep things simple and creative. Photography is a passion for him and his chief reward for going through it is the process of doing it. The idea of sharing the essence of real life visually is what drives Prasenjit, and that is why his focus is on portraiture and candid elements. He also believes that photography is about the power of innovation and imagery skills that create a vision which interprets human life in all its greatness. Prasenjit shares his works on Facebook through his page Astound Image.
Raghav Modi – That’s me, the owner of this little website you are on right now. Photography for me is a tiny escape from the daily grind, and my wife – but we don’t have to tell her that, else I will end up sleeping on the couch tonight. I’m nowhere close to the other photographers featured in this post, but I find the whole idea of visiting new places and capturing everyday life in motion quite appealing. And hey, while you’re here, check out the rest of the blog, and my social media handles are listed in the sidebar.