Street photography using flash: how Dougie Wallace photographs Indian taxis using flash

Amateur Photographer

Street photographer Dougie Wallace, otherwise known as ‘Glasweegee’, talks to Jade Severs about his project documenting the world of Premier Padmini taxis in Mumbai, India, using flash

May 27, 2016 10:44 AM EDT

Amateur Photographer

Glaswegian photographer Dougie Wallace has gained a reputation as one of the UK’s leading street photographers. Known for his brash and bright portraits of drunken revellers on the streets of Shoreditch in London and Blackpool, and he has a distinct style that is garish and raw, leaving nothing to the imagination. For his project Road Wallah, Dougie turned his attention to the streets of Mumbai in India, and its black and yellow cabs, the Premier Padmini taxi. First introduced to Mumbai in the 1960s, these brightly adorned vehicles, with their psychedelic and patterned interiors, were once omnipresent, the streets heaving with the sight and sound of more than 60,000 cabs. It was over a four-year period, with more than 17 visits to Mumbai, that Dougie gave the taxi drivers and their passengers a taste of his infamous street-photography style, seeking to capture the everyday humanity amid the chaos of the city. ‘I was jumping at the taxis at traffic lights with these three flashguns,’ reveals Dougie. ‘And then I would start shooting through the side window. I didn’t ask anyone’s permission, either.’ His bold ambush technique reveals some thoroughly frank portraits, capturing emotions and expressions before the subject becomes self-conscious and puts up a guard. ‘I was trying to catch them unawares,’ says Dougie. ‘I would concentrate on capturing somebody’s face, or I tried to capture a moment, for example, when somebody jumped in the cab, or when the taxi stopped outside Mumbai Central station and I’d shoot them. Or I’d be shooting them when the driver has to give them change.’ On other occasions, Dougie would turn his attention to the inside of the cab, taking a ride and photographing at the same time, shooting through the window or windscreen at the unfolding scenes outside. Whether shot from inside or out, the resultant expressions of the drivers, passengers and passers-by span a wide spectrum – from surprise and shock to irritation and exhaustion.

Amateur Photographer
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Further reading

Stags, Hens & Bunnies, A Blackpool Story

Amateur Photographer

Dougie takes to the walkways of Blackpool to capture the often hedonistic and oddly captivating stag and hen dos that stagger through the town’s neon-soaked streets. Through his lens, the subjects’ rites of passage take on a strange quality that is at once repulsive but also strangely alluring.

Shoreditch Wild Life

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London’s Shoreditch is a strange melting pot of the painfully hip and fashionably old. Dougie’s images reveal a strange and decadent ‘interzone’ that hosts a variety of cultures, generations and ethnic backgrounds. You may need to do a little searching around to get hold of this compact book, which is now out of print, but it’s worth it.

AP 7 July 2012

Amateur Photographer

We spoke to Dougie back in 2012, just as he was gaining recognition. Perhaps most notable is his quote: ‘I’m not sure if there’s anything I wouldn’t photograph. Pretty much anything is fair game.’ Dougie Wallace grew up in Glasgow, hence his moniker Glasweegee. Recognised for his distinct, direct style of expressive street photography, his work has been featured in the New York times, and Germany’s stern, among others. His book, Road Wallah, is published by Dewi Lewis, priced £35.

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