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Parth Gupta


New Delhi, 
India 


Parth Gupta is a photographer based out of New Delhi, India. Parth's vision could possibly be set around in the abstract architecture of our surroundings with the delicate focus of a humanitarian lens. His main focus with photography is to document his life, spaces around him, moments experienced and people met. Apart from the visual aficionado that Parth aims to be, he is also pursuing a career in commercial visual work - photography, design and art.

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What is photography to you?
 

Photography’s role in my life has branched into many different aspects over time in comparison to when I started. Initially, it was a simple practice of taking images of things that fascinated me and showing them to my parents and friends. With time, it has evolved into a meditative practice of introspection, observation, perception and creation. It is also a means of earning and survival.

 

Photography will always remain a means to connect and communicate with the world, which I find difficult to do with speech.

How did you get started in Photography?

Photography as a physical practice started as a naive act of taking images of clouds from my dad’s Nokia on a trip to Jaipur when I was around 10 years old. I remember being fascinated by the drama of the clouds and just having an innate desire to take photos of them. It wasn’t until 2 years later, I started photographing regularly from a Sony Cybershot - I would chase squirrels, photograph beautiful flowers, the clouds, of course, and anything and everything that captivated my ever-so-curious mind.

But in retrospect, my true connection with imagery started with the family albums at home. From my grandparents’ vacation photos of Shimla covered in snow, my parents as children with their humble smiles, and beautiful eyes, and various other moments of our lives that exist in a timeless space. I would spend hours flipping through the albums, feeling two very simple things - joy and wonder. 

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What impact do you think your childhood has on your photography?

I have very sparse memories of my childhood. But, I remember being very introverted, shy, docile and feeling suppressed. In hindsight, photography gave me a means of expression and primarily escapism (from my mind). It gave a child’s thoughts a means to exist and flourish, in a world that didn’t understand him all that well.

Please tell us about your process and vision.​

Currently, I’m in the phase where my photographic process is not only limited to taking photos but also about understanding the medium holistically so that I can question the nature of an image in a technical sense. I am learning various software, so I can experiment and observe the limits till where I can push the meaning of what an image is supposed to be and the potential it can embody beyond the threshold. Some of my work titled ‘Pixel Studies’ and ‘Pixel Death Rituals’ are abstract experimental pieces that attempt to illustrate the possibilities of imagery beyond the conventional notion.

Additionally, I am also progressing towards videos but keeping a similar experimental approach in mind.

 

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What challenges do you face as an artist?

I think the primary challenges are financial income and the regulation of my mental health. Financially, I don’t have much to say as I think this is a tale which mostly everyone is familiar with - establishing a successful practice with a consistent monetary flow takes time, endurance and experience.

In regards to mental health, this is an ongoing personal journey and photography and the practice of creating have kept me afloat. For a long time, I thought the challenges of an artist are to be separate and individualistic in comparison to the majority of society but of late I have come to realise that while the journey of improvement is inward it is also about seeing yourself as a part of the society, no matter how broken it might appear. All of us are individually at our strongest when there’s an empowering presence of solidarity.

How do you overcome periods of low motivation or creative ruts?

As someone who is getting out of a prolonged 3 year period of creative decline, it is difficult to overcome such phases. Especially, for someone like me whose intellectual regulation is dependent on my work, the lack of it started deteriorating my state of mind. I got to a state of such a cynical disposition that I hadn’t picked up my camera in over two years and wanted to leave photography and art entirely.

Now I am slowly trying to establish other elements apart from my regular artistic practices which can work as fodder to fuel my creativity when the tank is low - drawing horrible sketches, listening to Iqbal Bano in the morning, meditation or reciting poetry and sending them as voice notes to the ones I cherish. Creativity doesn’t always need to be the process of making art all the time, creativity can also be practising healthy existence, self-care, appreciating the rain or cherishing the sweetness of the fresh mango you bought in the morning. It’s all about finding that balance you see - when the internal is at an abysmal low perhaps it’s time to open up to the world and everything it has to offer - the sweet and the bitter. 

 

What inspires you the most?

The innate desire to lead a life of vast experiences, which in retrospect, hopefully, will allow me to experience a breath of calm. Nothing else will ever inspire me more than the practice of a fully realised life - art, photography, relationships and all the other aspects will follow suit accordingly.
 

Tell us about a photo you’re proud of.

While there are photos that I can cherry-pick, I don’t think I am particularly proud of any single image. I think it’s about the process as a whole and I have a long way to go to take pride in anything yet. Perhaps this question is 30-40 years too early. 
 

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How would you define photographic success?

Earlier I would associate success with exhibitions, getting your work published, printing a photo book, artistic fame or showcasing your work to the world. These opportunities are of course welcome but instead of following the dogma of creating work for the sake of being an “established artist” I am currently practicing creation for the sake of self. Nothing more. I don’t know what true photographic success is supposed to mean anymore. I find my practice to be a success when I show my pictures to my grandma and she points out the ones that she finds beautiful or even the ones that pique her interest. This might not be the most practical answer to such a question but in such ways, I believe I’m building a base for my practice and with time all of this will reflect in my work and I’d like to title that as ‘Photographic Success’.

Q: What do you think the future of photography is?

I wish I had a definite answer to this question. With the introduction of AI, the future of photography is perplexingly fascinating. On the one hand, it raises serious concerns about the authenticity of images that we already see and consume every day, especially when the images are dealing with volatile and sensitive issues. I think there needs to be a discourse to place regulations for the use and generation of AI content. Having said that I am also equally excited about using AI as a tool of assistance and refinement but never as a tool for creating an entire body of work and I question galleries/organisations promoting and exhibiting such works as has been done in recent exhibitions and events. 

It is important to note that the creation of an organic body of art can only be secreted through the experience of the rawness and imperfection of life - that’s the essence that the AI will never understand. We are far more capable than an algorithm and we should perhaps put more stock in our capabilities, than being afraid of “AI taking over”. In conclusion, this is an interesting time and space that we are currently in and only the future will showcase what shape “image-making” takes. 

 

Image copyrights © Parth Gupta 

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