In this series we feature the Indian street photography of Marji Lang. Marji is a travel and documentary photographer from France. Photophique caught up with Marji for an interview for this feature:
Hi Marji, thanks for speaking to Photophique, could you tell us about your experience of travelling and working in India?
I started photography while traveling in south and south-east Asia a few years ago. It came naturally this way along with my growing interest and love for Asian cultures and ways of life, and particularly India since 2005, the first time I landed there. My very first Indian experience was to meet people who lost everything in the Marina district of Chennai after the 2004 tsunami.
I was stunned and I felt warmth at the same time like nowhere else, the people made me love the country instantly and since then I always find that warmth wherever I go in India, maybe I’m also inspired because I feel so comfortable there. And of course, there are the colors, and the light that we can find. And culture. Since I am so much attracted by colors, I could not resist, I love colorful compositions, and even more with a strong cultural background as we can find in India. All these reasons are making my work experience in India the best I’ve ever had in the world. It is unique. Because of people, and culture, and colors … and a feeling that cannot be expressed, but only experienced.
What (or who) inspires you as a photographer?
I am inspired by Art in general, any kind of art. From photography books to paintings or drawings, to cinema, to music. All kinds of arts can give you emotions, and emotion is the key to me. As a photographer, I feel particularly close to some fellows as Claude Renault, also a french photographer who has a passion for India and colors, just like me. I also enjoy the work of many other photographers as my tastes are very eclectic, it would be never ending to say all their names.
But I really like this quote from Raghubir Singh, a famous Indian photographer, one of my favourites: “It is impossible to express India’s particular beauty in black-and-white. Black-and-white might be a good medium to convey Europe’s fear and alienation, but color is natural for Indians and more appropriate for the extraordinary diversity of India. Unlike European art, Indian art did not have the tradition of independent black-and-white sketches and drawings. If any line drawings were made, they were for being filled out in color. Color is the fountain of India. Color is the basis of the entire rasa theory, that governs Indian painting, dance, music, and literature.”
What camera equipment do you use for your street photography?
I use a Canon 5D with 24-70mm lens while traveling. Almost all the time, I only use this combination. I’m very happy with that. It could be another brand or camera, I don’t give much importance to stuff, I only wanted to keep the full frame format that I really like, I’m used to it. But sometimes, the temptation of a lighter body and lens is obviously there.
Photophique has express permission to publish these images and Marji Lang retains full copyright to all photographs featured in this showcase series.