Rahul Singh Manral is a 24yr old freelance photographer and visual storyteller specialising in Landscape, Travel and a bit of Street photography, with an eye that infuses an authentic outlook with an underlying documentative essence. A strong believer of depicting what is as is, he is based out of Delhi and works on the road out of anywhere and anything- from cars, hostels to tents and caves, while being a lover of the outdoors, beer, single malt and cooking.
Read below to know more about Rahul a.k.a, Meredrifter and his passion to discover all things beautiful.
Growing up, I rarely picked up a camera to shoot people or things. It was always about places and spaces, and its why I wanted to become a photographer- to tell the story of the place itself, sans humans. Places, they’re the tone setters for everything- features of humans living there, the clothes worn, the type of urban development, the food eaten, the activities indulged in and so on. Everything we do is, at its root, defined by the place itself. And yet, as humans, we’ve neglected the very purity and sanctity of spaces, more so today, than ever before!
There’s a distinction to the idea of a ‘place’ that really draws me in. Defined by a plethora of aspects- shape and form, geographic location, topography, weather, vastness or its lack thereof, intricacy and alternation. Perhaps the most crucial to me however, is the multitude of landscapes within a landscape. Sections, if you would, or the composition of the landscape itself. The fact that you could spend the whole day in front of a scene, or spend years visiting the same scene consistently, and still not come away with a desired result or contrarily get a unique photograph every time; the idea of extremity, that is the true rush for me.
Another aspect, highly critical to the way I photograph, is the lack of control over anything & the need to surrender. Surrender to what is, as is. That’s what enables me to be at my artistic & creative best because that’s when I begin to feel. That’s when everything flows through me in perfect fluidity and the subconscious mind narrows down on what is, thereby eliminating the barrier of forceful or ‘active’ thought from the process of making a photo. I’m a huge believer that photography, for the most part, is a ‘reactionary’ practice- you react to what you see, smell, think or don’t think, feel and know.
Shooting landscapes, or rather, searching for landscapes is a process which allows me to execute all of the above, in a cascading butterfly effect, which builds up into a singular entity that you, the viewer, see as the photograph. My approach to and relationship with landscapes is perfectly defined by the closing lines of the song ‘Horse with no name’ by America :
“The ocean is a desert with its life underground and the perfect disguise above, Under the cities lies a heart made of ground, but the humans will give no love”
All text and photos by Rahul Singh Manral.