When we think of minimalism, we tend to think design. We imagine a white home, with simple décor, or maybe an outfit made up of neutral colours, backed up by a, you guessed it, white wall. This is when white becomes a symbol of minimalism, but there is so much more to it, for example, a simple way of life can be classified as minimalism.
Full-time psychology and marketing student, Subhradip Sikdar (@parplepilz), has an Instagram page filled with amazing photos taken all over the world.
Scrolling through his work, you will find raw emotion illustrated through beautifully captured shots, along with photos of vast landscapes that look almost too good to be true. Through photography, he is able show just how big our world is, and how daily life in other parts of the world can be like.
With all these gorgeous shots, you may find it surprising that he was once called a “bad photographer”. It all started when his ex-girlfriend would call him a bad photographer whenever they would take photos. After breaking up with her, he was determined to find something to get over it, and so he saved up for a couple of months to get his first camera. Since then, he has come a long way from being called a “bad photographer” to traveling the world, becoming the star of his bunk, and capturing the most unique and just downright real shots.
I had to find out about this, so I sat homeboy down for a casual chat, and asked about his story. Read on to find out more about how traveling and photography has changed his life!
So, why did you pick photography?
When going through a breakup, there are a lot of things running through your mind. You’re just finding something to do, and I realised that photography helped to take things off my mind, and I learned that there is so much more to see, so many more emotions to be felt.
I like that concept. Can you elaborate more on it?
I just like the fact how a photo can last forever. I carefully archive every photo, and I know that down the road, these photos will push me to take the next better photo. We have all seen how photos have pushed for revolutions among many other things and the impact of photos in our life. I hope to capture something that is worthy to someone else’s eyes as it does with mine.
Nice. What inspires you to shoot then?
For landscape photos, I think it’s just the vast nature of our surroundings. We live on such an amazing planet, we just have to go and see the world out there, discover its actual magnitude. Maybe only then, we can really put things into perspective. As for street, I like to capture the raw emotions of humans while they are carrying on with their everyday life. I mainly like to take portraits and I hope every photo can strike some emotion with those who view my photos.
Is that why you travel then, to illustrate the magnitude of the world?
Traveling has made me realize that not only am I privileged to be living in Singapore, but also that there are many more countries which may not be as developed as Singapore but are still equally worth living in. I think we should all travel to different countries and see what are the different cultures in those countries, only then we will learn. Staying in a single country will make your entire vision of the world just kind of remain in a bubble.
That’s true. Do you have a favourite country then?
I don’t really have one, but if I were to choose, I would pick Norway. Besides being extremely expensive, it is the type of country that can help anybody deal with any worldly problems eg. Stress about work, just go to the backyard and chill. There is city life, but right outside the city, there is beautiful scenery and beautiful people.
You mentioned that it’s expensive right, so how do you allocate your money for food/ accommodation and acivities?
Okay. Norway right, I stayed in a hostel that had free pasta. So I just had pasta with salt everyday. One day I decided to get sauce, and it cost me S$15 for a can of sauce. Other than that, I ate just 2 meals a day. Just kind of have to sacrifice on these things I guess, then can use the rest for ferries, attractions etc.
Omg, pasta and salt. What was something you ate that surprised you?
You have to be adventurous. Like I was in Sweden for their midsommer’s festival. I tried the raw herring (“cooked” with lime juice”) with diff sauces and I actually enjoyed the meal.
I ate it with the Swedish biscuit. I asked a local why is there a hole? He told me people used to tie it, easier to carry them. These are the things you can only ask if you’re daring enough.
So you mean, kind of like living like a local when you travel?
Do things that a normal traveller won’t do, think different be different. When you’re alone, you can do what you want. If you stay in hostel, you will definitely make friends. They tend to go to the same destinations as you too.
So advice is to stay in hostel?
Yup definitely. Some like The flying pig in Amsterdam, Kunstool in Sweden, and YMCA in Norway are great. Go to a hostel, try to pick the one with 12 beds, there will always have other people. Once I booked one and when I went into the room, they were either sleeping, or talking to their own groups and I felt abit out of place. But, I said I’m from Singapore and dude I became star of the bunk. They said Singapore is their ideal country, I was like are you out of your mind. Then they started taking pictures with me.
I see you make a lot of friends. How do you think people can be more open when traveling?
Always try to do something different. When you talk them, even through broken English, you know more about the person. When I was in Thailand, I met a guy who showed me around at proper rate, if go outside people will charge you so much more. I stayed with his family and I got to see so much of the things you won’t get to see usually as a tourist.
With all your traveling, which camera is your favourite to use?
I like to use a Nikon D810. All Nikkor lens, 35mm/F1.8 and 50mm/F1.4.
Any other advice for people who want to start solo traveling?
Learn to trust, and things will slowly fall into place. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you to take a photo. People with a camera, they usually know what they are doing. But of course you still have to be careful, divide your money, keep valuables in your luggage locked in your room. Other than that, it is good to be more open. Walking is better, try things you normally will not eg. Street food. Also, be a considerate traveller, like I was in a church in Finland, and tourists were making so much noise, and holding up their selfie sticks everywhere. Destroys the atmosphere and everything.
One last thing. What is your ideal trip?
No phone, no wifi, no data. Maybe hostel wifi. But mostly sightseeing, exploring, and learning about the culture there.
If you want to see more of Subhradip’s work, check him out at @parplepilz.