Dubai-based photographer Immanuel Abraham Mathew has captured some awe-inspiring images since he first became interested in the art form four years ago. But his recent trip to India for Holi (a two-day Hindu festival of colors celebrating the coming of Spring) may be some of his best work yet. We sat down with Mathew to chat about his travel experiences, shooting process and to see a collection of his favorite shots.
The Holi festival looks like a unique and interesting festival. But with all of that flying chalk, it also looks a nightmare for an expensive camera.
Yes, it really is unique! I have always wanted to photograph Holi so I decided to head towards Uttar Pradhesh (in India) with a group of like-minded photographers from Dubai. First things first, I had to take care of my camera. I covered it with a rain cover and sealed the front element of the lens with a tape to ensure safety. It was difficult for me to shoot during the initial stages since it wasn’t that easy to shoot with rain-cover. It was one of the most amazing experiences and I will cherish the memories for the rest of my life. The photographic results are worth all the pain I went through.
What was your favorite part of the festival?
The best moment in Holi is called the Sabah, which happens at the temple in Barsana and Nandgaon. It is a gathering where all the devotees sing prayers in praise of Lord Krishna, all while colors are exploding all around them. To me, that’s the best time to photograph Holi.
You have been to some incredible locations and seen some amazing things. Do you still find inspiration from others??
Anything that excites me definitely inspires me. I always find time to look at other amazing photographers’ work to get inspiration and learn technique as well. Another form of inspiration would be traveling to unknown places and being with like-minded souls to talk about photography.
What is your shooting process before arriving at a new location?
1) Check the weather forecast.
2) I Google a few images to get an idea about the location.
3) I check the sunrise and sunset time.
4) I like to camp at the location to shoot night photography and to capture the morning sunrise. If I love the place, I will wait to capture the sunset as well.
4) I walk around and try to pre-visualize how I can get the final shot.
5) I make sure to try different compositions and learn from my mistakes.
Do you have any suggestions for other aspiring travel photographers?
“Never stop learning. This is the shortest yet best advice I can give to any photographer. Finding your passion and learning the craft of your passion is really important. Make sure you spend some time learning something new every day.”
Check out a few more of Mathew’s favorite shots from around the world below.