Rammy Narula is a Bangkok-based photographer with a deep passion for traveling and exploring the streets with his camera. His most recent work, Platform 10, a personal project shot on a single platform at Bangkok Central Train Station, has been published as a photo book by Peanut Press, New York. One of his photographs is also featured in 100 Great Street Photographs, a photo book published by Prestel Publishing in May 2017.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you came to photography?
I am from Bangkok, Thailand and I came to photography very much by chance. In 2012, I hit a wall in several aspects of my life and needed an escape to freshen my perspective and rediscover myself. My brother, who had been into photography for a long time, suggested I tried my hand at it and gave me my first camera. Quite unexpectedly it became an obsession that has never relented.
What constitutes a good street photograph for you?
A good street photograph for me has to be memorable. It doesn’t always need to be perfectly composed but it should have character and an aspect about it that isn’t easily replicated. Presenting the unique point of view of the photographer goes a long way as well. If you’re an emotional person, then I’d like to see some of that make its way into the photograph. I believe all of us have our own view of the world and the more we are able to communicate that in a photograph, the more value it holds.
You seem to enjoy traveling quite a bit. Which place, in your opinion, has produced the most rewarding results?
I do love traveling, yes, and for a while I felt that traveling to big and busy cities away from home gave me the most rewarding experiences. Lately though I’ve found that I can really enjoy shooting at home in Bangkok. In my own neighborhood. These days I walk a 2-kilometer radius around my house and feel like I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before. It’s taken me a few years to get to this point and feel this way, and it’s been an absolute revelation. I feel like I’m getting to do something very personal and that gives me just as big a sense of reward as with my other projects and photographs from anywhere else, if not more.
In the street photographs you have shared with us, your blend of composition, color and texture is really stands out. Do you have any favorites?
Thank you! I do have some favorites yes. In the set shared here it would be the woman’s hand with a cigarette and the one with the Coca Cola sign. Admittedly my favorites tend to be from my more recent work and both of those were taken in last month or so. I try not to hang on to any favorites too long though in order to push myself to look forward and work harder for the next one.
How comfortable are you getting so close to your subjects?
Quite comfortable I would say. Maybe less so on a quiet street, but if I really want the photo then I will do what I can. I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends, so to get close to people came relatively easy to me. In the beginning though, I did have a problem being stealthy and unobtrusive. I had to learn how to be more subtle, move more quietly and not be my usual animated self. On the street with a camera I found out quickly that you don’t want people to react to you the same way you want them to when trying to make new friends!
Which camera and lens are you currently using?
Right now I use a Leica M10 with the Summaron-M 28mm lens most of the time. This little lens is just magical. I also have an M6, which I use to take photographs of family and friends. I use it with a flash and it gives a completely different feel to my street photographs, which I really like.
How long have you been using Leica cameras?
I have had at least one Leica in my camera bag ever since the day I made the decision to take more candid photographs. I picked up the Leica M Typ 240 when it came out and I also used the Leica M9 along the way as well.
You are a member of Street Photo Thailand. Can you explain a little bit about your work there?
I have been a member of Street Photo Thailand since early 2016. It’s the first street photography collective in Thailand and I feel quite privileged to be a part of it. We run the largest social media community for street photography in the country and also promote education through physical and online workshops several times a year. I participate as a mentor in some of those workshops as well, which is really quite rewarding; to see people grow and take street photography more seriously. We also regularly make group exhibitions, the next one will be at Photo Bangkok in 2018, and we hope to make a book together soon as well.
Find out more about Street Photo Thailand at their website.