Exploring 'Life at the Marina' Through the Lens of Photographer Mahesh Balasubramanian

By Ellen Clipson - 3 min read

Professional photographer Mahesh Balasubramanian spent years capturing one of India's largest beaches and the stories that make it so unique. Take a look at 'Life at The Marina' now and hear form Mahesh about how he captured the six year project.

Found in Chennai, India, Marina Beach stands as the longest natural urban beach in the country. It’s known for it’s vibrant life attracting people from various walks of life. The patch of coastline is full of life, whether that be kids playing cricket, volleyball matches, fish markets and more.

Professional photographer Mahesh Balasubramanian has spent six years documenting the stories of the people and communities that bring Marina Beach to life. Today, we are thrilled to share the project with you. We spoke to Mahesh about how he got started in photography and what the project means to him.

How did you get started in photography?

I love photography from my college days. I use to shoot with my friend’s film camera during our tour in during college. This being said, I never thought I would get into serious photography until 2008. It was then that I started photography with the hope to relieve stress from hectic corporate life.

It then became a serious passion. I realized photographing people gives me so much happiness and so I started concentrating on that. Now, I can’t think of living without a camera and shooting pictures.

What is your relationship with the people in the photo? How does this affect your approach?

I always want to observe people before I start shooting. My subjects are human just like me and I want respect them by giving them their space. Beyond that, I don’t have a personal relationship with them.

I want to portray them as they are. All the pictures featured in this project are taken in a candid way. Although, most people know that I’m photographing them because I always get close to take pictures.

In that way, I aam able to connect people in my pictures with the viewers. Sometimes, if they don’t want to be photographed, I choose to delete the picture I’ve taken immediately.

What equipment did you use to shoot this project?

At the beginning of the project I used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-105 lens. I then wanted to move to a smaller camera. I started shooting with a Ricoh GR Digital.

I think a smaller camera brings an advantage. It creates much less attention towards me. It makes it more easy to get close to my subject and take pictures from new perspectives.

As of now, I’m shooting with Canon 5D Mark III with 24-70mm. However, I’ve realized that no matter what camera I use, my approach remains the same. I observe people and their activities, and then get close to take pictures. I try to include more people in my frame as to convey a complex story within a single frame.

Why is photography important to you?

Photography has made me to observe people and connect with people. I also do commercial assignments as well as my personal work and so, for me, photography is my way of life.

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