Colours have meanings and play a very important role in our lives whether we realise it or not. Red symbolizes power and passion. Blue symbolizes peace and harmony. Orange symbolizes energy and enthusiasm. Prakhar Tripathi tells stories with colours trying to bring out an emotional response in each of us.
Describing himself as a visual content creator, Tripathi uses photography as a medium to connect his inner self with the world. “I have been very observant since I was a child. Photography is not about creating photos that please the eyes. To me it is deeper than that. I want to know the story behind the photo, knowing the subjects, understanding their feelings and the reason behind their behaviour.”
Bliss - A portrait of a boy from Sikkim, India - Nikon D4S, ISO 250, 1/400 sec, f/1.8, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D at 50mm
Life in a Village - Old farmer, accompanied by his son, returning to his home after a day of hard work, Sikhnapur, India - Nikon D800, ISO 400, 1/2000 sec, f/1.8, AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G at 85mm
A portrait from Nandgaon, India on the occasion of Holi - Nikon D4S, ISO 250, 1/800 sec, f/1.8, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D at 50mm
Colour is all around us and is therefore often taken for granted. Nevertheless, picturesque hues have the ability to affect emotions and moods in a way that few other things can. For Tripathi, colours play an important role in defining the emotions and perception of the subject correctly. “The trick is to know what colours should be kept in the frame so you do not alter the story, but embellish it.”
In each image, the balance between subtle and bold colours must be considered. Delicate tones are soothing whereas strong colours are eye-catching. According to Tripathi, the two contrasts can make wonders when used in combination. “Bold colours work well in making the subject stand out against the subtle colours in the frame. On the other hand, if I am shooting landscapes, I prefer subtle colours with as little amount of vibrancy as possible.”
Adjusting the temperature is another way to play with the colour palette. Sometimes Tripathi experiments with extremely warm or cold temperatures in order to create a dramatic feeling. “Colour temperature sets the mood of the photo. Choosing the right amount of saturation and contrast with colour creates magic.”
A boatman watches the sunrise from his boat. Captured this moment at the Holy City of Varanasi - Nikon D4S, ISO 500, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 110 mm
Sikkim - The Land Of Paradise - Nikon D4S, ISO 400, 1/1600 sec, f/4, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 70 mm
Two Sikkimese boys laugh as they share a joke while going back home from school, Gangtok, India - Nikon D4s, ISO 400, 1/320 sec, f/2.8, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II at 200 mm
Since his early days as a photographer, Tripathi has been adjusting the colour balance in his images manually. “I prefer to adjust the colour balance while shooting. I feel more connected with the subject in that moment, and by doing that, I only have to do minor adjustments in post-processing.”
As a self-taught photographer, Tripathi has a natural habit of staying up to date, especially with today’s substantial advancement in technology. “I believe intellectual curiosity is very important. One can never be perfect, but the good thing about that is that you can always strive to be. Therefore, the learning never stops.”
Tripathi also takes pride in learning about different cultures and understanding the different symphonies of life. During his solo travels, he challenges his assumptions about the world, slowly breaking down fears and discovering new stories to tell with his camera.
Joy of Colours - A portrait of a girl playing with colours on the occasion of Holi in Vrindavan, India -Nikon D4S, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, f/2, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D at 50 mm
Playing with colours at Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan, India - Nikon D4S, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, f/2, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D at 50 mm
A priest throws colours at devotees at Banke Bihari Temple on the occasion of Holi, India - Nikon D4S, ISO 1000, 1/30 sec, f/5.6, AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR at 18 mm
One of Tripathi’s favourite photos, titled ‘Joy of Colours’, portrays a girl playing with flowers and colours during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India. “I still remember how I was standing on a corner watching everyone celebrate Holi. Suddenly, this little girl - all covered up in pink – ran towards me and bent down to grab colours with her hands. She looked up with those mischievous eyes, looking for someone to throw that colour at. All this happened within 10 seconds. I did not even have the time to check the setting of my camera, but fortunately, the photo turned out the way I wanted it to.”
Holi is a Hindu festival, which marks the coming of spring. Also referred to as the ‘Festival of Joy’, this celebration is very close to Tripathi’s heart. “Shooting during Holi is crazy, and I mean that in a good way. All those vibrant colours and people celebrating can only bring a smile to my face.”
As Tripathi continues to tell stories through colourful visuals, he wishes to spark an emotional response in the viewer. “It is my job to enhance the beauty of the stories I narrate with my camera. What matters to me are the emotions behind, which I try to bring out in my work for the world to see.”
Prakhar Tripathi was born in Lucknow in Northern India. Currently, he is based in Mumbai where he works as a freelancer creating visual content. Telling stories with his camera since he was 12 years old, Tripathi has become a recognized photographer and has been a regular contributor to National Geographic since 2013.