Saturday, October 05, 2013

An Evening with Craig Semetko (UNPOSED)

    What happens when an accomplished comedy writer and stage performer pursues photography as “an amateur hobbyist” for seven years, becomes a celebrated photographer and passing through Chennai, agrees to spend an evening with members of PSM?

Answer: A fantastic evening of learning, motivation and entertainment.

Criag semetko at PSM      Facebook
    Craig Semetko, the celebrated American street photographer is currently in India, shooting for a photographic book on the country. This closely follows his year and a half long project to capture “the extraordinary cultural diversity of the United States.” Sharing photographs from both these projects as also his book titled UNPOSED, Craig drew out lessons, unabashedly acknowledging the influence of heavy weights Cartier-Bresson and Elliott Erwitt, on his work.

Craig’s mission statement is ‘to provide the elements of an interesting story in a single well-composed frame’. Craig has a purist’s inclinations.   Craig prefers black & white. (“Colour shows clothes of the humans, B&W reveals their souls”). No staged photos for him, or cropping. 

Criag Semetko Classics via google images
Elliott Erwitt calls Craig “the essential photographer, the one who sees what others could not have seen”. Craig catches and frames the right moment often through anticipation, using human psychology and the power of observation. Add to it his “highly developed sense of the absurd and ironic” and you have photos that are hilarious, side by side with occasional captures of pathos and melancholy – some of these moods created without any human element in the frame.

Craig has a way with words. And a scriptwriter's instinct for impact. Sample these:
  • “It is much easier to ask forgiveness than permission”, on taking permission of the subjects before shorting.
  • “Good photography will have the DIE factor: D for design, I for information, E for emotion”.
  • “If you like something, shoot it straight away. Nothing is the same ever again.”
So true, Craig!

About the Author :   
Thomas T Abraham  (A Nomadic Indian).  Exiting from a corporate job has given him greater opportunities for self-expression through travel, photography and writing. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and supporting causes that deserve it.


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