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Photographs by Prakash Singh
Photographs by Prakash Singh

Photo essay | Finding the perfect shot

Meet the Indian photographer whose work has been shortlisted in one of the world's biggest photography competitions

What makes a photograph great? “It has a lot to do with timing and, of course, luck," says Prakash Singh, who is waiting anxiously for the Sony World Photography Awards 2016 to be announced on 21 April.

His Landscape series, a set of 10 photographs, is among nine collections, from countries like France, Germany, the UK, China, Belgium and Switzerland, that are competing in the Professional (landscape) category. All the nine sets of work will be displayed as part of the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition 2016, from 22 April-8 May, at Somerset House in London, UK.

Each year, the World Photography Organisation (WPO), a global platform that enables photographers to showcase their work, hosts the Sony World Photography Awards competition across three categories—Professional, Open and Youth—to recognize the best in contemporary photography. A total of $30,000 (around 20 lakh) in prize money and Sony camera equipment are up for grabs.

This year’s edition received a record-breaking 230,103 entries from photographers in 186 countries.

Five Indians—Anasuya Mandal, Abhijit Banerjee, Sanghamitra Sarkar, Nikunj Rathod and Jaydip Bhattacharya—were shortlisted for awards in the Open and Youth categories. None of them won; the results for these two competitions were announced on 29 March.

“Prakash Singh’s work has been selected from thousands of images submitted from across the world. The Landscape series stood out for its great composition. Each image is strong and has made great use of lighting and colour," says Scott Gray, chief executive officer of WPO. “I hope that the series, along with the other shortlisted works, can provide an inspiration to other photographers, helping to push their creative boundaries, while also serving to build the wider appreciation of photography," he adds.

Singh says it feels great to learn that Indian talent is being recognized on a global scale. “Just to be part of the shortlist is such an honour; winning would be the icing on the cake," adds Singh, who is from originally Kolkata but is now based in Dubai.

An interior designer and photographer by profession, Singh’s first tryst with the camera came at the age of 9, when he started playing with his father’s camera, a basic Canon. “I took up photography seriously when I purchased my first digital camera, the Canon 60D, four years ago," says the 35-year-old. “I was mesmerized by the cityscape of Dubai, and that’s how my interest in photography grew," adds Singh, who lists landscape, wildlife and architectural photography as his favourite genres.

His Landscape series showcases the different “faces" of nature. “Most of the pictures were taken over the past one year, during trips with friends to get away from city life. There’s a sense of loneliness as well as calmness to them, things which are hard to find in cities.

“Be it Kolkata or Dubai, no matter how beautiful they are, their madness gets to you after a point. Sometimes, you want to be at peace with yourself, with no one with you or around you. Landscape photography helps me get all of this," he says.

‘The Silence’ captures the colour, calm and beauty of Bali.
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‘The Silence’ captures the colour, calm and beauty of Bali.
‘A Masai Morning’ was shot during a trip to Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.
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‘A Masai Morning’ was shot during a trip to Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.
‘A Night At The Top’ is a shot of the road to Jebel Jais, the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates. Singh took the picture from the top of the mountain.
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‘A Night At The Top’ is a shot of the road to Jebel Jais, the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates. Singh took the picture from the top of the mountain.
‘The Unknown X (Under Billion Stars)’ was taken during a road trip from Dubai to Oman.
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‘The Unknown X (Under Billion Stars)’ was taken during a road trip from Dubai to Oman.
‘A New Dawn’—taken in Bali—captures the colours of sunrise.
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‘A New Dawn’—taken in Bali—captures the colours of sunrise.
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