At first glance, Life & Lines is just a series which involves travel and street photography, but if you look closely, it’s more than just pictures—it tells a story through people and lines—both which are an important aspect of life. “This series incorporates and displays the use of lines which is an integral part of nature, surroundings and situations,” states Mumbai-based photographer Anuja Rangnekar, who started this project in June, 2016. The on-going anthology has over 100 fine art photographs and they were shot in places like France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Austria. Rangnekar is already working on Life & Lines II (in India) at the moment. “The Indian version is going to have a twist, which I would not want to disclose at the moment, people will know what it is when the work is published,” ends Rangnekar.
We catch up with Rangnekar who tells us more about the birth of the idea, self-funding the body of work, the challenges she faced, and more.
The idea behind Life & Lines and what urged you to pursue it?
Everything visible to the naked eye has textures and patterns. Sometimes these visual patterns are created as a result of light and shadows. I seek for visual drama with a striking involvement of lines through architecture, nature and surroundings along with an element of life to create awe in the otherwise ordinary moment. This series incorporates and displays the use of lines which is an integral part of nature, surroundings and situations. It is a practice I undertake to observe and find contrast and unusual elements in order to compose pictures as a part of an everyday assignment.
The idea came about when I was on a family trip to Europe in mid-2015 and I was fascinated by the architecture there. I ended up shooting architecture photos with an abstract, minimal approach and the photos were appreciated by the viewers. Later that year, I practiced street photography here in India. In 2016, I had an opportunity to travel to Europe again. I was determined to shoot in different genres and put to use all that I had learnt practicing over the year.
There are 100 photographs in the series, how much time did it take to finish them and what countries did you shoot them in?
I had a month long stay in Europe. Whenever I set out I had my camera with me. Travel and street photography is an indefinite endeavour. One has to be on his/her toes while practicing it.
This version of the project has been shot over France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Austria.
Is this project funded? If not, how did you work out the expenses?
No. It’s a self-initiated project being more inclined to Fine Art. Undertaking such self-funded projects help me achieve two aspects—one, documenting and exhibiting my work. And two, learning new photography techniques and mastering the art. My personal work revolves around a process of my vision, observation, perception, experience and exploration of new ideas and media. I love to document my thoughts and experience and express them through photographs and writings.
Any challenges you faced while working on the project?
There’s little that you can control on the street, really! You cannot plan your shot; here it gets more challenging and interesting. I try to be open with whatever that I may encounter—nature, architecture, surroundings. The key is to observe. How I observe and perceive is put across in the form of photographs. While working on a series, the photographs may vary in genres but the style needs to have consistency.
What is your takeaway for something so visceral?
Photography for me is not just an art, it is a perspective of looking around, being involved and cherishing and preserving the moments and memories. Photography is a way of life.
My passion for travel helps me explore various genres of photography while focusing on details and bringing creative instincts to practice. And of course relating to various places and the people. The clicking of the camera is more instinctive than prepared. We never stop learning and experiencing.
Which of the photographs were the most fun and challenging to shoot?
Life & Lines (number 2) is my personal favourite from the series. The light falling creates a pattern and is intriguing combined with the position of the subject. His sense of style fits the scene as well. This was the first photograph shot in the series and the series actually began from this picture.
Shot in Nantes, France, just a day after I landed there, I had gone for a walk in the evening. While I still made my camera ready to shoot the streets, I sensed this shot. When you learn to observe a lot, your mind and senses work in sync. Your instincts grow sharper. The more you practise, the luckier you get.
Plans for the future?
I wish to continue this series in India—it’s my homeland and a country with diverse cultures and geography, it would be really interesting to explore in this aspect here. And, since I have been travelling over the years to different places in India, I know exactly where I might find what I am looking for. There are also plans for my first solo exhibition.
Below are few pictures for the anthology. To view the entire series visit her website here.