This week, the Women’s Street Photography Collective (Streets Ahead) is pleased and honoured to feature Angelique Peres Marchand in our interview segment. Manchanda-Peres grew up in Mumbai, India. She has always been interested in people, travel and geography and indirectly studied immunogenetics and neurochemistry at University. After University she joined British Airways and spent many happy years travelling the world.
In the early 1990’s she left Mumbai and went to live and work in Dubai, in the UAE for 12 years. She has been living in Ontario, Canada ever since, working as a book reviewer. One day, when asked to review a book of photographs (India) by Eric Meola, her love affair with photographs and color began.
Enjoy this interview, we think you will, very much…
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Have you always been interested in photography?
I grew up in the colourful tropics (India) but I now live in the Great White North (Canada) . I used to work for the airline industry but since arriving in Canada I’ve worked as a book reviewer for a publishing house and part-time wedding registry employee.
To be perfectly honest, photography is fairly new to me. Never had a camera growing up and when our family travelled, unlike most people who took pictures, I simply bought postcards or local art! :)) But one day (late 90’s maybe) we bought a Canon Power Shot, and when I took my first photo and had someone exclaim that it looked “just like a postcard” I decided I would henceforth make my own postcard pictures and not buy any. Still, the camera was reserved for use on holidays, it was only after I bought my third iPhone in 2012 that I actually started to take photographs on a more regular basis.
Where do you currently live? Is this a place that gives you energy and inspiration for your street photography or do you have to travel to find it?
I live in a town on Lake Ontario which is superb for landscape photography, really lovely, but for street photography I either have to go into the city (Toronto) or I wait until I travel.
‘Lady amongst the ruins in Olympus, Greece’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“No matter the setting, a red umbrella is so hard to resist!” Hipstamatic.
Does your location, be it a big city, a small town, or the countryside, heavily inform all your photographs in general, not just your street photographs? How do you choose the places that you go to photograph?
Yes, I would say it does because nature (flowers, landscapes, forests) usually dominate my pictures. But that’s mostly because I don’t get to see that many people where I live.
Release me on a city and all I want to do is capture people as they work, play, eat and so on. I’m an anthropologist at heart, I’m always watching/studying people, that’s why I find steet photography so compelling, wish I could do more of it.
‘Airing dirty laundry in Toronto’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“This image was very popular with my friends and so I decided to share it here. It’s a capture made with iphone using Stackables for the textures (an amazing app)”
Do you sometimes secretly pose or direct the subjects in your shots or do you always shoot spontaneously? Do you think there is a “right” way to take a street photograph? There are those who feel that a photograph is only good if it follows certain guidelines and fundamentals such as “the decisive moment” or that street photography should never be posed. How do you feel about this?
I do a lot of my street photography on the move. Either I’m hurrying to a meeting or I’m shooting at traffic lights and intersections from a car! I just get a few minutes to capture my subjects and then they are gone. I don’t care for posed street photographs, I’ve never done it and probably never will. Because my subjects are so fleeting I do not usually see them for who they are, but for who they could be which allows me to spin my own fantasy around them….street photography makes telling a story oh so easy.
‘Stuck in the 70’s : Bari, Italy’ –©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“We were in the Puglia district of Italy in the Fall and I couldn’t help notice that some parts of the region were stuck in a time warp like this hair salon sign…it prompted me to give it a vintage treatment with Snapseed and Monopix“
These days, the genre raises many questions with regards to the morals and ethics of taking photographs of strangers in a public environment. It is becoming increasingly difficult to shoot freely as a street photographer. What are your thoughts on this?
Ahh good question. Personally I feel anyone in a public area is fair game and as long as you are not being disrespectful with their images or making a profit of off them it should be alright for you to shoot them candidly. I think street photography would lose a lot of its charm if we couldn’t photograph strangers at random. I find I often wield my camera as a memory keeper. I photograph primarily because I want a record of things and people I encounter…spinning stories is secondary. I feel we are all entitled to capture our street memories and so I hope terrorism laws or privacy issues do not compel us to change the way a photographer engages with the street, that would be a sad day indeed.
‘Wedding Bells in Berlin, Germany’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
Do you have any personal rules when it comes to street photography? For instance, are there any situations that you feel are morally unacceptable?
Personally I enjoy capturing beautiful things like lovers, brides, parents with their children, people and pets, street performers and also mundane things like people on public transport, at fairs, at restaurants, places of work and so on and I will do so as discreetly as possible. Intimacy, happiness, fragility and solitude are the emotions I aim to capture for my street stories.
Sharing someone’s happiness via my camera is acceptable to me, I don’t think I would want to take pics of anything too sad or bizarre, that I feel may be encroaching on a person’s privacy…yes even if it’sbeing acted out on the street.
‘Toronto with a dash of the West Coast’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“I love this pic because it was a very cold day in the city and yet this young girl clad with only a flannel shirt for warmth was thumbing her nose at the weather gods by bringing her skateboard to play. Blur and iPhone 6”.
As a woman street photographer, do you find yourself drawn to shooting other women and children or do you prefer to shoot men or is this irrelevant? Would you feel uncomfortable if a male street photographer were to take a photograph of you?
A man playing with a pet or a kid is just as likely to get my attention as a woman in that situation would. At the same time I may not want to shoot a homeless person whether it’s a man, woman or teenager (i do not want to showcase another person’s misfortune, I personally think that’s intrusive), so yes, gender doesn’t matter, the setting does.
‘Girl and sister, Burano, Venice’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“I was waking around the colourful houses in Burano when suddenly I noticed two pairs of tiny feet peeping out from under a blue curtain. I went closer, intending to snap just the feet when suddenly the curtain was swept aside and I found a little face grimacing at me! How could I resist not turning this moment into an eternal memory? 🙂 VSCO cam was my cam of choice here”.
Do you think women street photographers are more accepted by the public when taking photographs or do you think they are more likely to be challenged? Do you have any experience of this?
I personally wouldn’t mind if someone (male or female) wanted to photograph me and I’m assuming this goes for most people…however, depending on the setting, there are gender advantages.
I’m tempted to think women would do better at events with lots of families and kids, (they just blend better into events like that), and that male photographers do better at events with crowds, like a rock concert or at protests because they find it easier to muscle their way into crowds, but honestly, I don’t know for sure.
No matter the gender, if you are fearless, stealthy and friendly I think you should do very well as a street photographer!
‘Denim: Vaparetto in Venice’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“I was in a crowded Vaporatto in Venice and had been observing this tired mother and her kid for a while. Suddenly a young man wedged himself between her and me and I noticed all three were denim clad (including the person in the far right of the frame) and the way they were positioned almost looked like this could be an ad for some denim fashion house. I had to click! Again I used VSCO CAM.”
Which street photographers have influenced you?
I probably have one for everyday of the year, so I’ll just name my current favorites and they are: Valerie Jardin (especially lovely photography of the streets of Paris, New York and Minneapolis);
Eric Lim ( great technique) ; Trent Parke ( the rebel); Maciej Dakowicz ( for shooting Cardiff’s nightlife and his incredible series on Mumbai) ; Carolyn Drake (travel photojournalism- my favorite photo genre) and Melanie Einzig for the eccentric characters she showcases in her photographs and oh, Polly Braden.
‘Cotton Candy Man, Bangalore, India’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“Cotton candy takes me right back to my childhood. Oft late cotton candy street vendors are increasingly hard to come by, so when I saw one I just had to take a picture for my children’s children! :)”. Hipstamatic.
Which mobile device do you use to take your photographs? Do you postprocess your photographs? If so, what are your favorite post-processing techniques/apps?
If you post-process on your mobile device, do you usually transfer the images as soon as they have been processed to social sites (in other words, capturing and editing the image while in situ) or do you prefer to have more time to work onyour images? Please share some examples of your workflow process.
Currently I’m using my beloved iPhone 6 plus. Yes, I will often gently edit my street photographs I tend to have a more elaborate postprocessing regimen when I’m working with landscapes or flowers as I love a painterly photograph.
I find a city’s streets will require a post-processing treatment depending on its personality. I’ll always use a little grunge for New York and Toronto but for the west coast I enjoy using light leaks. Europe usually makes me want to play with blur and In India I like to work with saturated colors….
My very favourite app to use in Street Photography has got to be Hipstamatic, followed by VSCO cam and then Alt Photo. Snapseed is great if you need to crop or tone a picture to ready it for postprocessing
‘Waiting’ – Yonge Street, Toronto’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
Do you pre-mediate the capture of your images? Do you have a plan or structure in place or do you prefer to act spontaneously? Please share your thoughts about some of your images – what you were thinking, or felt when you shot those photographs.
I almost always take pics spontaneously. I just know that every moment has a story, it’s for us to listen for it.
‘Lime Seller, Russel Market, Bangalore, India’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
What is the importance of street photography within the entire body of your work? To what extent is street photography a major focus for you?
At the moment I’d say street photography probably accounts for about 40% of my work. And not because I engineer it that way but because I don’t always get the opportunity to hit the working streets. If I lived in the city, being the people watcher that I am, street photography could well become a major focus.
This is why I sometimes miss where I grew up (India), street photography is so dynamic there because many people there live out their day on the streets…they cook, eat, bathe and work there… and no, many of those people are not homeless, it’s just a way of life for them.
‘Sole Mate, St Petersburg, Russia’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“I took this picture mostly because I was so intrigued by this lady’s footwear. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it…it was treated with Hipstamatic and VSCO”.
Who do you think is the audience for your work? Is this who you want your audience to be? What is it you hope to achieve, either on a personal or professional level, with your body of work?
I like my images to inform or entertain….so they are either going to tell a story or pass on some cultural information. I think people who enjoy travel, culture, geography, and are people-curious would enjoy my images.
What is it you hope to achieve, either on a personal or professional level, with your body of work?
I love people, I love to photograph and I love to travel – my hope for the future is to be able to combine my three loves. Maybe offering a custom-created tour with a photography workshop thrown in, in a locale that I am familiar with like the UAE or India/Sri Lanka, would be right up my alley for the future.
‘Big Babies – David Cerny Sculptures, Prague, The Czech Republic’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“Saw this little girl wandering amongst these sculptures and I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through her mind as she contemplated these giant infants!” Shot with Hipstamatic
Where do you show your work? How has social media played a role in your photography? Which platforms are you most active on?
Right now, the only place one can see my work is on FB or Oggl,but I’m hoping to amend that.
‘Lady on Charles Bridge, Prague’ – ©Angelique Manchanda-Peres
“Taking a morning walk on Charles Bridge I spotted this lady posing for a photographer. I liked that she wasn’t particularly skinny or glamorous….she almost looked like the girl next door. When I see her in a magazine perhaps she’ll be photoshopped and unrecognizable”.
Do you have any tips that you would like to share with us? Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just want to add a huge thank you to all of you, but especially Gina, Cara and Joanne, who make “Streets Ahead” what it is. This is a fine, fine place to learn about women street photographers and to enjoy their work. I feel so honoured to have been featured here,