George Koruth known as FOTOBABA is a documentary photographer based in India. His collection captures India’s rich culture and traditions. One of his specialities is street photography. He strives to showcase social issues and hopes his photographs can give a voice to those people who don’t have any say in this world. George has done work for international magazines and websites and has been featured in Indian magazines.
You may see his detailed work and follow him on following links
Following interview is an attempt to understand his approach and philosophy of photographic art
1. How would you describe yourself briefly (including your equipment and editing program)?
I’m a Doctor who roams around more with his camera gear than the stethoscope, I think that is the best way I can describe myself. I have been working as a Documentary Photographer for the past 7 years and I usually travel alone as my journies are not really easy ones. To reach my destination, is always a struggle & it’s not for light hearted. India is a huge country & every state is like a whole new country. Step by step I’m reaching my goal of documenting the culturally diverse nation.
I use the most basic equipment. I started with my father’s film camera, Yashika FX-3 then I moved to digital. I mostly use Nikon D 7000 nowadays also use Sony RX100. For projects I use Nikon D 700 & D 800.
2. Describe your photographic vision in a few words?
In search of real people with real stories that touch me and touch others for good. I believe if people can’t see the truth in my photos, its not worth showing it.
3. Do you think a formal training in principles of art and elements of composition is as necessary for a photographer as for a painter? How did you learn this art? From books, academy or just from senior photographers?
Yes I do, one needs to learn the basics at some point. I learned it a lot later, when I felt I had to teach others. When you know the rules, only then you have the right to break and play with them.
4. Art has been influenced by various art movements originating from philosophy and literature. Do you find similar influences in photography as well?
I would wholeheartedly say yes to this questions. Photography is a powerful medium, even in those days when it took days to months to get a photo printed. Now it us on-line. Combine it with social media and you have a powerful tool.
5. What type of art movement is currently in vogue? Who are the most prominent exponents of that trend?
I don’t think we can name any one for art movements. But I respect people like Oliver Toscani & Steve McCurry who had such great influence on this medium.
6. Have you been influenced by any literary figures in shaping up your photographic vision. How and what type of influence you received from them?
I have been open to any influence, there is no particular person or theme that has influenced me. But I’m in search of inspiration in every corner.
7. Why are you interested in portraits?
I have a very simple answer to that, I love faces. I look at every detail when I see a face. I remember one incident, when I was roaming around a market in Kerala, I saw a man with amazing eyes. I had to rush all the way back to get my camera I located him and & framed his face.
I see a face as an amazing piece of artwork and as a photographer I feel I am just documenting that.
8. Why do you prefer coloured pictures rather than the black and white?
It is not that I prefer. For me to create a black & white picture, it takes too many things. I have to be 100% sure I’m doing complete justice and there is really something more than colors that I have to portray.
9. From whom you have been most impressed in photography? Do you still keep learning from the work of masters or do you feel they hinder and blunt your innate personal vision?
Steve McCurry (The guy who captured the shot of Afghan girl for the cover of National Geographic) is one of the greatest influence and at the start of my career, I used to study every single shot he had captured, the details he frames & the most important part the truthfulness in every frame. l was lucky enough to even have a conversation with the legend. I had golden chance to meet him at Allahabad during Maha Kumbh mela but sadly just missed it out.
10. Do you feel photography influences one’s personality as literature and other genres of art do? How it has changed your own personality and world view.
I don’t know if it is the photography or the hundreds of interesting people I met during this journey. Interesting people here are the travellers, musicians, photographers and new friends I made. Yes they have had a massive roll in shaping me.
11. Can you explain your interest in culture of India rather than modern life of European nation?
Currently I haven’t really chosen to travel outside India. I have had few projects that need me to go outside the country sooner or later maybe then I will in a better position to answer this question.
12. What is your photography routine? How much time you spend in it and how you are able to manage it with your busy professional life?
When I’m out for a project only two things matter. Walking non stop from morning 6 am to evening 6 pm and yes I love to eat so I explore the local food, especially the street food. By the time I get back to my room I am be exhausted. But again I start the at 6 am usually before the sunrise.
13. What do you think are the benefits of social media in promotion of today’s artist? There is a frequent complaint that most of the celebrities are not personally present on media. Their publicity managers keep them alive on social media. How you can manage so much time on social media?
One needs to market them properly and I really don’t do that well. I usually don’t like too much attention as it distracts my mind. So very rarely you see my picture.
14. What are your future plans in photography?
Plans shape up as time goes by. frankly speaking I follow my heart and I just go where it takes me. Few destinations are calling me like Thailand, Moscow & Africa
15. Lastly any other lesson/advice you would like to give to an aspiring photographer
Anything you do for yourself with all your heart will show its results. As a photographer you may carry the most costly equipment but it takes so many circumstances to get that one perfect shot. However if you are a truthful person, all these circumstances will work in your favour.