"Music is the doorway that has led me to drawing, photography, and writing." - Layne Staley

1. Sourav Das

Being a Science graduate and a software consultant, my thinking always revolved around formulas, codes and theories. I like to get involved and familiar with new technology, products, and techniques. That’s how I started reading about photography around two years back and with course of time, the interest got intense. So much so that I slowly started buying photographic gear. I knew what were my gear's capabilities, specifications, and disadvantages. However, I never paid attention to the light, never knew light. But, that’s what ultimately counts.

I believe that we can always learn, no matter how well you are aware of the task. There is always something you can learn to make it easier/more efficient/more creative.... This led me to be in touch with Shailan and Jogi & join their workshop. The pace of workshop was fast and I enjoyed what they taught. There were many minute details, to which I never paid attention while taking photographs. Or as they'll say 'making' photographs. I always asked them about techniques and formulas to take a snap. I always too often asked: "What were your camera settings when you took that picture? It would really help me to know that." or "What was the aperture setting and shutter speed on that photo?". I believed that knowing what the camera settings were for any given photo will help me learn something, or give me some guidelines or insights on how the photographic process works. However, Shailan and Jogi instead made my thinking to take a completely different approach. It was of seeing light. The workshop had three good techniques that were absolutely necessary and without any one of them, the whole purpose could have failed -

a) Understand Basic Technical Principles
b) Apply them with your camera (Shoot and Experiment)
c) Critique

While experimentation is the key to improvement, it's the critique that enables this improvement to take hold. Getting photographs (clicked during the workshop) reviewed by Jogi, was a complete nightmare the first time. But later on, it was real fun because I knew where I had to improve upon and could feel sense of satisfaction of improvement in the due course, very matter of fact but still very inspiring. That’s what my objective was. Now, I don't have confusion between vision and critique. They have nothing to do with one another. There is no right or wrong in taste; it is what differentiates us from each other. Now I believe in a famous quote by Albert Einstein - "Creativity is learning to hide your sources."

2. Lubna Sen

It is  said that a feedback is the best gift that you can give to someone. So  here it is -  the parting (  ? or  may be not  ! ) gift from my  side :

1. It was an extremely well packed workshop with just the  right balance between theory and practical.
2. The theory  part was very well laid out with  each aspect having a photograph as an illustrative example.  I still remember vividly each an every example of the elements of composition you illustrated in the first class.This is etched in my mind whenever I take any photograph.
3. I particularly loved your home-works  : I am an avid follower of art and frequently surf the net for contemporary art . But  for the first time I actually surfed the net for photographs and discovered a equally beautiful and artistic world out there .
4. The class atmosphere was informal and friendly : given such diverse backgrounds of the students , this was an essential ingredient in making it happen .

The only negative is  the fact that it is over !!!  Must say getting up early to learn more about light was becoming addictive !
Couple of suggestions :

1. One small note covering the basics of  focal length , lens etc  can be helpful for absolutely  camera illiterate people like me. Alternatively , if you could suggest one good site or a one good book ,  to clear our

2. Since the sessions happen every weekend in a row , we do not get much time to explore and practice and also fumble ( which is important )on our own , during the length of the workshop.  This is very relevant  for people like us whose work life from Monday to Friday is far away from colour and light !
Can there be a  final day session after a month , when the students  bring a selection of their  own  photographs  after applying all what they have learnt . This gives them  time to explore on their  own  , correct their mistakes , educate themselves  further and may be cross check with you on their  doubts .
All in all , as I have mentioned earlier , the workshop rocks .

3. Ilan McKenna

Price of workshops: A bargain!  I think the workshops were worth far, far more than I paid for them.  The tangible and emotional gratification was priceless, really.

Workshops:  4 weeks felt short, but an intermediate class, or a follow-up class, would fix that!  I would join in a heartbeat.  I liked the flexibility in the shooting sessions, that sometimes we would leave early and go eat breakfast, or just leave early.  I felt comfortable being able to be tired of taking pictures.  The Saturday in-studio classes were great.  I really needed all of that background information about how cameras work.  I still feel like I don't understand everything, but I am learning little by little. What an idiot I was to buy my camera without knowing a thing about it.  Greedy American, thinking I need all the high tech stuff.  It was perfect to learn something one day, and get to practice it the next.  I didn't like looking at everyone else's pictures, but only because there were sooo many and my judgment gets skewed and lazy when I have too much to look at.  That happens in all areas of my life, it's nothing personal.

Random notes:
1. I liked being blown away by new information every Saturday. 
2. I felt like I finally earned my camera, since I could finally use it a little. 
3. I saw parts of Delhi at a time in the day I never would have managed otherwise.  I hadn't been to any of the places we went, so they were more than photo shoots for me. 
4. I am actually interested in looking at photographs now.
5. I met some cool people, saw a cool exhibit, and listened to a Bedi brother speak.
6. I felt comfortable taking pictures with guidance.  Less intimidating and less intrusive I think.

Leave Out: I can't think of anything to leave out. 

Include: A few more days. I would be very happy if I could visit every historical site in Delhi with a PhotoSensitive workshop instead of on my own.  Also, maybe do the camera care lesson during the first class when you explain how to hold a camera properly.  I was kind of embarrassed during the last class when I realized how haphazardly I'd been carrying my camera around.
Lastly, I want to know how you become comfortable taking pictures and about photography ethics.  Is it ethical to take a picture of a sleeping homeless person?  Or anyone without their consent, for that matter?  I struggle with that.  I also struggle with carrying a camera around as if I am someone with lots of money. It seems a little pretentious, especially because I am very new to the art form.  I guess I need to start thinking more about light and less about how people perceive me. 

I could write about the workshops all day.  I grew a ton from the experience.  You inspired me to look around me and take pictures without being so shy, to visit places and really look at them, to learn about my camera and photography, to think about composition and light and shadows and colors, etc.  I think, for my time in India, the experience was priceless.  I can't imagine how much of the country I would miss without those workshops. 

Thank you thank you thank you!

4. Sravanti Kommajosyula

May i begin with...it was a great experience meeting both of you and both are wonderful teachers!!
My journey with the SLR began quite recently...about a year and a half back (finally when i could afford pumping my savings on it....) but my interest in photography is almost as old as two decades....but way back then it was an expensive hobby to have and my father with his humble salary could not afford to either buy me a camera or send me for learning classes. (it was no digital era then and each bad photograph meant money going down the drain...:-) ) Thanks to people who invented microchips, life in the digital world has become less expensive....(i would like to believe so...but the lenses and cameras featured in 'Better Photography' give me a completely contradictory picture).
Photosensitive is my alma mater and will always be as far as photography is concerned!!!! After the classes got over, every time i have taken a picture and stood back and looked at it and smiled....(because the picture was worth a second look...) i have thought of both of you and said to my self....its because of them...
You'll have given me the first step to looking through the lens in the 'manual mode' unlike my auto mode that i was using till i joined the classes....i have immense gratitude for that!!!
As far as the workshop goes, i have found the classes extremely well designed and executed. The presentations and the topics containing illustrations (in terms of the photos included in them) absolutely appropriate to demonstrate various technicalities (like the photos demonstrating the varying shutter speeds, focal planes and aperture settings).
The practical sessions were good and were timed right (the very next day after the theory classes)..it personally gave me the chance to incorporate what i learnt the previous day into the pictures i was taking.
i was just wondering if among the practical sessions, different genre of photography could be explored...like we did two architectures (qutub minar and jantar mantar), one lodhi gardens (architecture and nature maybe), phool mandi (again people and flowers maybe)....if instead of the overlap, we could have had architecture, in house (maybe studio portrait/product photography), nature, people (purely street photography) etc..... You as teachers are the best judge of that....but having said that , i still mean it when i say that each of those sessions have been extremely fruitful to me.
i would like to close by saying that it was a wonderful experience learning and also interacting with everyone and seeing that when 16 people are left to take pictures in the same location....no two pictures are alike (makes me want to look from other's perspective too...or should i say viewfinder??)
i would also like to thank you for allowing to make up for the missed sessions...(i would like to attend the last presentation in the Nov session, because i could not attend the previous one due to a family emergency). I am also hoping to be a part of the practical sessions with your new batch of students and the summer trek....whenever that happens!!!
Here's wishing you'll the very best for the next session and many more to come.
5. Susanne Maria Kraft

"After buying my DSLR camera I felt helpless and in the dark about its various functions and possibilities. However, I was very lucky to find out about the workshop at photosensitive with Shailan and Jogi!!! The workshop was extremely well structured - a perfect mix between theory and practice - and I learned a lot!!! Not only about the technical possibilities my camera has but also about composure, patterns, light and shadow! I simply began to SEE.
Jogi and Shailan did a great job as trainers! The theory lessons were very interesting and everything was explained along practical examples which was extremely helpful. They were always there for questions and I was impressed by the professionalism both of them showed while conducting the workshop. The group was great and the lessons were always fun, too.
I most appreciated the constructive feedback on the photos we shot as this feedback enabled us to improve form week to week.
Therefore enthusiastically recommend this workshop to everyone!! Thanks guys!"
6. Shalini Baisiwala Anand

I was one of those who was very skeptical about this workshop and was finding the fees very high; and after speaking with Shailan, I just decided to go ahead. I didn't even call any of the earlier attendees, even though Shailan had sent me the numbers.
I had bought the SLR a year back but was using it in AUTO mode throughout. I was unable to figure out the manual at all. I had even attended a couple of the sessions at the CANON centre but the funda of aperture, focal length, metering - all went over my head. This was largely due to the fact that I didn't even know all the controls on the camera also.
Through the workshop , I was able to figure out the controls of my camera - this was a pre-requisite for me and I had been looking for someone to teach me this first. Thank you so much for this.
You guys have a lot to give to people like me. The step by step explanations and the outdoor shoots were a big help. Just some points :
1) Found the duration small - maybe a six weeks thing especially for beginners like me; rather the whole group.
2) Maybe you can work out an extension to the four weeks as an option for some people; who would like to continue for another two weeks wherein the pre-requisite would be a telephoto lens / fish eye / or a basic 50mm - I mean it would basically be for ppl who want to seriously do more. We had gone to the zoo today; and most of us realized how a telephoto would have helped us all. Now suddenly, there is a rush to buy one
3) A portrait session would have helped too - we could have all posed for each other for say 15 mts and then we review. It would be similar to the exercise we did at Lodhi garden.
4) Exercises such as the above would be a great big help. Maybe these could be worked into the class sessions only esp the ones with the light, etc. If we had done these things before going out on the photo shoot, I think we would have been far more imaginative. Its just that these tricks didn't settle in till we did the exercises.
5) The review with Jogi for the pics where he asked us which one we liked and why - this was great. We should have had more of these; maybe section wise - that is architecture, food, people, landscape, etc... It helped to understand the perspective of a photographer.
6) Maybe given homework to all in the form of review a particular genre / photographer style before going for the photo shoot next day. LIke before the Qutub minar shoot; we could have seen some other work online to get an idea. The basic problem with all of us was - what to shoot? and this led to the prob how to shoot as we realized at the Jantar mantar and phool mandi. Infact JM we had already seen Sanjay's pics; so were able to see some form in the geometry ; though not very successfully. I realize that one drawback of this would be that we would copy stuff - but even that is not easy. As we realized after seeing Sanjay;s pics - we were all wondering how he framed all this. But it gave us some idea as to what to try and shoot.
7) Part of the exercises  - under exposed and over exposed pics - Basically a lot more exercises for raw beginners like us to appreciate the nuances better
Maybe for really raw beginners, you might need to do a different kind of workshop altogether.
In case you are planning a workshop - part 2 ; please let me know. I would be very much interested in joining up again. Or if you do mini photo shoot sessions for a weekend only with a specific subject in mind - please let us know.
I want to thank you guys for your amazing patience and forthrightness in teaching us and refusing to give us " formulae" as some of us seem to have been demanding.
7.Noni Chawla

First and foremost the thanks should go from all of us to you for having taken the trouble to conduct this workshop. Your dedication to photography, your enthusiasm, and your patience are all admirable.

I found the workshop very useful. Since you have asked for feedback, here is mine:

I think that your style is very good – casual, informative, interactive and patient. Key attributes of a learning environment.
I also think that the design, in terms of theory followed by practical work on location is a very good idea.
My suggestion is that, as far as possible, if you have people of the same level of proficiency in the group, the learning will go up. There was a fair amount of variation in the skill levels in the group, and, inevitably, your communication has to be for the least informed participant.
I would have liked to spend more “supervised” time while shooting, which would have helped me to learn more about composition, light, etc. while practicing in real time. In order to do this you gentlemen may have to sacrifice your own shooting, but….c’est la vie!
I would have valued more time on critiquing pictures (ours and others’) which would have helped me in composing better and shooting better.  
I would have also liked more time on “What makes a good picture an outstanding picture” kind of input.
May be because I missed some sessions on account of my travels, I felt I would have liked to spend more time with you folks.

8.Belinda Nishball

First, thank yous are never enough--I thank you from the bottom of my heart for conducting the course in English! What a relief! I could not have sat through 4 sessions of Greek!

Second, I enjoyed yours and Shailan's constant presence. In my previous course, our teacher was on a pedestal (deserved or undeserved, you tell me) and there was no real interaction or exchange of ideas. He told us what he knew and that was that. Though still a bit hesitant to ask for fear of being thought a fool, I was very comfortable about seeking information or clarification. I wish though that during the outings, you could do a little more hand holding. I witnessed the transformation of Jyoti's photos after Shailan's gentle guidance. I recognize that you (a collective you) want us to learn and develop our own style but I personally need some "hand holding", a little "spoon feeding." I enjoyed a taste of it during our  Jantar Mantar outing, many thanks. Perhaps on your next trek to the flower market we can do a little of that? I should have taken it upon myself to bug you but did not. I ask your permission then to bug you in the future. :-) 

Third, I felt the course was just technical enough for me. I understood almost everything you explained during the slide show and maybe I should credit my previous instructor for that. I wonder if you could up the aesthetic component of the slide shows? So intangible, how exactly does one learn to see? 

Fourth, I quickly warmed up to the critique portion. I think for most part, we know when we've done well and when we haven't. However, it was good to hear it from the pros. I think it would help to hear from the budding photographer first about his/her thoughts on the shoot. Which does he/she feel is the best shot and why? What would he do differently next time? Maybe having 36 photographs is too much because in many cases, we ignore a lot of them and focus on the best or worst 6 ot 7? (Oh yes, but how is the photographer to know that?) On the other hand, there are always the surprise favorites that the photographer may not have noted. Oh well, keep it at 36 then. I think that the critique should be emphasized more. Budding photographers comments and specially yours and Shailan's are very very welcome. It is good to feel that you've done a good job and even better to  realize the possibilities in future shoots. 

Fifth, the course is too short. I am sure I speak for the group, way too short! Expand it! Take this suggestion as testament to the enjoyable four weekends we've had. 

I can only count to five so I end here. I had a great time at the course, I would very much like to be a part of the online forum. 

You and Shailan are a fantastic team! Congratulations!

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