In Kolkata, India, Shibasish Saha uses drone photography to capture mesmerizing aerial views of nature and people at work — fishermen and fisherwomen casting ghostly nets in unison, famers harvesting water lilies in neat rows — and often totes a Nikon around to take colorful, joy-filled portraits of people in West Bengal and beyond. His work is being recognized all over the world. He sheds some light on his work and process.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Shibasish Saha and I am a pictorial artist from Kolkata, India. I have had the opportunity to become one of the youngest from India to achieve EFIAP (Luxembourg), FFIP (India), HonPESGSPC (Cyprus) and EIUP (China) distinctions. I first learned about photography through my maternal uncle. When I was about ten years old, I would take his Kodak camera and click around randomly. In college, I learned there was a photography club — which reignited my interests. I started shooting with a Sony Cybershot camera back in 2011. Then in 2012, my mother bought me a Nikon D5100 with a 18-55 mm lens and I kept on shooting random things in the street and gradually came to know the different rules of light and learned other things by trial and error.
Around that time, I took an image of a boy playing in the streets (see below), which is how people came to know my work. I'm a self taught photographer — always shooting on a trial and error basis.
How do you describe your photography style?
I started with street photography using a 18-55 mm kit lens. After getting my job in IT, I upgraded to better quality gear. I currently focus on travel-based photography documenting lifestyles of people around the world.
What do you shoot with?
I shoot with Nikon D500 with a Nikkor 16-80 mm f2.8-4 lens for travel along with a Nikkor 200-500 mm telephoto lens for birding. Apart from DSLR cameras, I have also been using a DJI Mavic 2 pro drone 2020.
What do you appreciate about shooting close to home?
Due to COVID-19 restrictions I didn't travel much but I didn't stop shooting, either. I kept on exploring the rural areas of West Bengal, basically day trips from my house.
What do you love most about photographing on the road?
Aerial views of curved roads and the light trails in natural environments. Whenever I am on the road in a hilly area, I find the nearby sunset or sunrise point and shoot the place during golden hours.
Any favorite places you keep returning to? Places you can't wait to photograph?
I keep on visiting the northeast portion of India — like Shillong and Meghalaya — known as the land of nature and beautiful waterfalls. It is my dream to one day go to Norway to document the aurora zone.
What photo projects are you currently working on?
I'm working on images with various fishing nets and techniques that are used by fishermen worldwide. As of now I have documented most of them in West Bengal, India. I'm planning to visit Vietnam to document the fishing culture there.
Any advice for others?
Gain as much knowledge as you can about your camera. Apart from theory-based knowledge, the only way to improve your skills is by continually shooting and reviewing before shooting again.
Find Shibasish Saha's Photos