Mumbai Street Photography Workshop
Coming in September 2021
PRIVATE – 300 Euros payable in advance. Please be advised that trip cancellation insurance is recommended as this is a non-refundable workshop. A signed copy of my terms and conditions form is required at time of payment.
GROUPS - 240 Euros per person, payable in advance. Please be advised that trip cancellation insurance is recommended as this is a non-refundable workshop. A signed copy of my terms and conditions form is required at time of payment.
You choose the date.
You’ve got: 1) DSLR/mirrorless or point-and-shoot camera (cell phones okay but not advisable)
2) Comfortable walking shoes
-Three Locations: Sassoon Dock; Chor Bazaar; Kumbharwada. Workshop begins at 7am and ends by 12:00pm.
-Transportation between locations (you provide your transportation to and from workshop). Starting point: Sassoon Dock
My street photography workshop in Mumbai has three locales in the itinerary: Sassoon Docks, Chor Bazaar, and Kumbharwada. I offer private visits and groups of 2 -7 people. You choose the date - subject to availability.
Please contact me with your questions and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. This particular workshop's itinerary is set. You can also contact me for a custom photography workshop tailored to your needs if you have other locales you'd like to explore with your camera.
Below is the itinerary. I've also included notes at the end to better inform you if this workshop is a right fit for you.
Sassoon Docks - Meeting Time 7am
Sassoon Docks is a thriving, frenetic, and often chaotic place to photograph. Once you pass through the main gate, the early morning activity escalates until you arrive at the main dock itself. Here you will find the fishermen, the vendors, the auctioneers and customers, all vying for their tiny piece of turf to conduct their business. It's a fascinating place, and there's nothing quite like it in Mumbai or anywhere else in India.
What to expect
Expect to get your shoes a little wet from the intermittent puddles that form from the hauling of all the fish and ice. And yes. expect that water to be a little "fishy". Wear comfortable shoes but don't be surprised if you have to wash them by the end of the workshop. Also it's a very busy place on most days of the year, especially if you decide to venture to the end of the dock where it can resemble something like a frenzied ant hill. There's a
good chance that some of the women will shove you a bit and verbally insult you in Marathi or Hindi. And to top it off, there's the ledge of the dock itself where it gets a little tricky to navigate in the mass of surging bodies. Always be aware of the space you're occupying to make these hard working peoples' lives easier - not more difficult - by’ your presence on the dock. Most of them will tolerate you taking their pictures, but there's sort of an unspoken, no-bullshit policy when it comes to impeding traffic. A majority’ of the time if you respect their space, they'll respect your right to take pictures.
Now, onto the pros!
Sassoon Docks is a fantastic place to capture individual and environmental portraits. We start early just before sunrise because the sunrise itself can make for some great shots. More importantly, the docks are only busy from before sunrise for just a few hours after. During this short window of time is the sweet spot when there is enough light to shoot (after 7 am) before the sun gets too high. You'll see a variety of fish if you're interested in the catches of the day. It's the first time I've ever seen full-grown stingrays cleaned before my very eyes. Other more exotic sites include
certain species of swordfish, shark, and schools of fish I can't even put names to. A few of the vendors there speak some English and you may find yourself suddenly immersed in conversation with them. If you're curious about what you're seeing, they're usually more than happy’ to explain what's going on. You'll also get an idea of what it's like to work in one of the oldest docks in Mumbai. You'll see the toll the work takes on their faces, curiosity’ at your presence, and even smiles because for many’ of them Sassoon Docks is not just a place to work but an important part of their social lives too.
Chor Bazaar "Thieves Market" - Approx. 9:00am
Chor Bazaar can't be outclassed for its people-watching and markets. Despite its name and reputation as a shady place, I find it quite to the contrary: a profoundly warn and welcoming place chockful of curious locals. While Chor Bazaar can be crowded, especially on Fridays when the shops are closed and the flea market begins, it is nevertheless the ultimate spot for street photographers. It is a must-see place if there ever was one in Mumbai for street photography. There are many lanes feeding into the epicenter of the place, which has surely got to be the aptly named Mutton Street (you'll see what I mean!). Even if you wander outside the informal boundaries of the place, you're bound to run into
nearby markets and other interesting zones of industry, like entire lanes dedicated to metal- working and tailoring, for instance.
What to expect
Things are starting to heat up by now. We've reached Chor Bazaar and the sun is beating down in certain lanes. Be prepared to start being "hot". There are plenty' of places to purchase safe bottled water and other drinks, so no worries there. We'll make the most of shade and try' to stick to the lanes where the light is better for photography. You can expect plenty' of people asking for their photos to be taken by you. Don't be put off
bv your unexpected popularity. If y'ou find interesting and willing subjects and spend some time getting the right portraits, just expect that vendors from shops further down the lane are likely' expecting y'ou to take their pictures too! You can always politely pass by or ignore
them. I'm also there to be a buffer, if you will. But from my experience the more you put yourself out there, the more keepers you're going to get, especially if you're into street portraiture.
On another note, if you're fond of taking candid pictures - like I am - you have a very small window to get your shots before you're noticed - if you're a foreigner. It's almost supernatural, the way' that your subjects will suddenly look up and take notice of you, potentially' spoiling any composition you hadn't nailed down and shot. Mv advice is to be quick and pack a wide angle prime lens (35mm equivalent or less) to be the most effective. Otherwise, I can show you a few' tricks to get your candid shots only possible when working in teams of two.
Kumbharwada - Approx. 10:30am
Kumbharwada is the pottery-making hub of Dharavi Slum, from Slumdog Millionaire fame. It's one of Mumbai's best-kept secrets in that it's not the first place you see mentioned in tourist guides and is often omitted altogether, which is a shame.
What to expect
Expect some amazing environmental portraits! Expect warm and amazing, hard-working Gujratis, who largely make up Kumbharwada's resident population. Expect some amazing pottery and artisans at work! Expect to get lost in Kumbharwada's maze of lanes and residences, but don't worry - ask for an exit and most everyone there will point the way out. Expect kilns cooking pots and a lot of heavy smoke at times. Expect to encounter many curious and friendly children and adults alike - which I always find amazing because tourists that do find their way’ to this
place are touring the same lanes and virtually interrupt the locals with their cameras and presence on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I’m always made to feel welcome by a few curious and interesting strangers who are quite happy to talk about their lives and inquire about my own too.
And that's all folks! The end of my official Mumbai Street Photography Workshop.
Exit strategy: The best way to leave Kumbharwada is to hail a taxi somewhere around the intersection of 90 Feet Road and 60 Feet Road. I'll make sure you get out safely and with relative ease!
Insights into Kumbharwada via Scroll.in. Watch the video on Facebook:
"I did a workshop with Craig in December 2017. He is an excellent photographer and guide and was really helpful in showing me around the city of Mumbai. His local knowledge is second to none and he knows some excellent locations to help capture some really great images of the real Mumbai." – Paul Reynolds
“I had a workshop with Craig on Wednesday Morning. It was an enjoyable session and took in the sunset at the Worli Fort, it’s an interesting part of Mumbai with a view one the old and the new. The people are especially approachable and welcoming. We visited the Bandra and Juhu fishing villages where life has continued for years in spite of the changes that continue with Bandra.
Craig’s local knowledge is a key asset with the workshop and he is able to retrace his own footsteps though many of the Mumbai streets and fishing villages. Craig’s easygoing style not only ensure a good workshop, but also a good interaction with the people of Mumbai. If you’re interested in Street Photography and want to get some unique snaps from Mumbai out site the tourist areas then Craig’s workshops are essential part of your itinerary.” – David Kolb
“I happened to be staying in Mumbai on business and had a few days free. I'm a street photographer by hobby and thought it would be good to meet a local photographer and get a view of India from the inside. Craig was such a great guide, showing me parts of the city that a tour group would never have taken me to. Being just one on one was a definite advantage, I could follow my eye and move where I saw great images, Craig was committed to getting me the shots I wanted. As a collaborator as well, Craig was fantastic, always willing to give input or camera technique advice. Having someone like Craig with you while shooting will only make your images better, whether you are a beginner or advanced shooter. I highly recommend seeing the city of Mumbai and shooting on the streets with Craig!” – Rob Krauss
“Thank you, Craig for a very interesting and informative workshop. I appreciated your input on how you approach street and travel photography and suggestions/guidance on how I may be able to apply these to improve my photography. Your local Mumbai knowledge of some of the out of the way spots also resulted in some great material. Again, thanks and I will keep in touch.” – Phil Duval
When I first started exploring Mumbai seriously I too was looking for photography workshops, and more specifically street photography workshops. I knew the city well enough to get the shots I wanted for my personal projects but there were still a few spots where I wouldn't mind the help of a photography guide to steer me in the right direction. But what I found, much to my irritation, was that one or two of the slim pickings of photo tour companies out there were not publishing their itineraries. One of them even mentioned that they didn't publish their itineraries to prevent other companies from stealing them. I thought to myself, if this is the kind of dodgy shit I can expect right off the bat then they're
not getting my business. I shouldn't have to contact anyone (and wait for their slow or no replies) for the basic outline of a photo tow!
My point is, you have my full itinerary - and you are free to run it through its paces without me!
I realize there are a lot of Mumbaikars (and foreigners too) out there who wouldn't be able to afford my workshops. I get that. And if you've run across my website for the first time I don't want our conversation to end if you don't want to pay for it. I'm making my itinerary
available for free. And I want to hear back from you after you take it - and I want to see the spectacular pictures you got out of it!
But if you want to make use of my expertise in Mumbai as a full time photographer, I'm offering my workshops to those who want to maximize their time and for those who may need help with camera settings or street photography techniques and challenges. If you love candid photography, I'll help you get the shots. If you're into street portraiture, I know where the interesting people are: I even know a few of them. I mainly cater to working professionals, passionate retirees, the adventurous, and those of you who are inspiring and accomplished street photographers who are looking for a unique photographic experience. I can honestly say that you won't find anyone else out there running this kind of street photography workshop. Likewise, you won't find anyone else offering to give it away.