I capture the culture and
personality of a space

Mahendra Bakle

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/640s

What photography equipment do you use and how would you describe yourself as a photographer?

As a passionate photographer, I specialise in capturing people in their natural working environment, highlighting their unique style, emotions and feelings in the perfect natural light. My work also includes stunning landscapes and aerial photographs, taking you on a visual journey to places you’ve never been before. Equipped with my trusty Sony α7R IV and a fleet lens, I can create stunning visual stories that are sure to leave a lasting impression. For aerial shots, I also use my DJI Mavic 3; and for quick captures, my iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung S23 Ultra are always on hand.

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F2, 1/8000s

What is your impression of the new SIGMA I series lenses, in particular the 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary?

I’m thrilled to share with you some of the latest gear I’ve been using to create stunning visual stories. One of my favorite tools in my kit is the SIGMA I series lenses, particularly the SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary.. I have to say I’m surprised by how sharp this lens is and how amazing its autofocus performance is. The bokeh it creates is simply beautiful, adding depth and dimension to every shot. I love the compact size and metal body, and the aperture ring is incredibly handy for quickly adjusting  the settings on the fly.

One of the things I love most about this lens is how lightweight it is, making it the perfect tool to carry with me wherever I go. It’s great for low-light conditions, allowing me to capture amazing images no matter the environment. I find this lens particularly well suited for portraits, street photography, and photojournalism. The lens is also incredibly well built and sturdy for its size, giving me the confidence to take it with me on even the toughest shoots. Using the SIGMA I series lenses has helped me take my photography to the next level. I’m constantly impressed by the level of detail and quality I can achieve, even in challenging lighting conditions. The lens is so versatile, and I can easily switch between shooting styles without missing a beat. Whether I’m capturing portraits or documenting the world around me, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to create stunning visual stories. And with the SIGMAIseries lenses, I know I can always count on top-quality performance and stunning results.

* The images without photograph data have been created with lenses other than SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F2, 1/8000s

Can you tell us about your experience as a photographer?
How did you come to be working in this field?

I have been passionate about photography since my early childhood days when I used to read different photography magazines and capture pictures of sunsets and sunrises. However, it wasn’t until 2001, when I had established a solid foundation with my business in Solapur, that I delved into travel photography. My inspiration was drawn from the places I visited for business, and I quickly realized that capturing the essence of a space and its culture through photography was my calling.

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 200, F4.5, 1/320s

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/80s

What role does photography play in your life and career?
How do you find your inspiration?
What is your passion in photography and life?

I use all sorts of elements to tell a story through my photographs from patterns to repetitions to contrasts. But the most striking element of my photography is my use of light. Dynamic natural lighting plays a huge part in my works, and it creates images that are incredibly rooted in the spaces they come from.
Over the years, I have traveled to many countries, particularly in Southeast 
Asia, and have covered a diverse range of subjects. However, Myanmar remains my favorite among them. My photographs of Myanmar encapsulate my whole approach to photography, which is to capture the culture and personality of a space. 

But before I shift my focus abroad, I want to explore the entirety of India. The varied stories and cultures of native Indian peoples fascinate me, and I want to capture them through my lens. The human element of a space is a central theme that comes through in many of my photographs. I believe that capturing the essence of a place and its people is what makes a photograph truly memorable. My approach to photography is constantly evolving. I am always on the lookout for new techniques and ideas that can help me tell a story more effectively. I believe that a photograph is not just an image but a story waiting to be told. My passion for photography drives me to seek out new experiences and to capture the world through my lens in new and exciting ways. 

In conclusion, photography is not just a hobby for me; it is a way of life. Through my photographs, I hope to inspire others to see the world in a different light and to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the spaces and cultures around us.

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F4, 1/400s

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F2, 1/250s

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary,
SONY α7R IV, ISO 100, F6.3, 1/200s

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 160, F5.6, 1/80s

How do you create your own style?
What’s your suggestion to people who are exploring their own style?

Creating your own style in photography takes time and effort. Start by clicking pictures in the way you like and experimenting with different compositions, processing, toning, and framing. Work hard on developing your own unique style, and don’t be afraid to be different. Embrace your personal taste and preferences, and let these guide you. With hard work and dedication, you can create a style that is uniquely yours and sets you apart from others in the industry. Loving yourself and your work is also important, as it will give you the confidence to keep pushing forward and developing your style.

SIGMA 50mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary, SONY α7R IV, ISO 200, F8, 1/60s

Why does the I series suit you so well, and which three words would you choose to describe your experience of using these new lenses?

With a focus on style, tactility, and lightness, these lenses are not only beautiful but also easy to handle. As an avid fan of the I series design philosophy, I appreciate the all-metal construction and attention to detail that goes into each lens. The manual aperture and manual focus rings are especially noteworthy, although I do miss the focus hold button and the option to turn off  the aperture sound as with certain SIGMA Art lenses. Overall, the I series lenses are a wonderful addition to any  photographer’s toolkit, delivering both style and substance in a compact package.

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