The super long hiatus has finally ended! It feels good to be back to photography and to the blog. A lot has been going on at my end over the past few months with work and family. I did squeeze in enough time for travel and photography, but before I talk more about that, here’s a mobile shot I took while on vacation in the gorgeous Canadian Rockies about a week ago. I will post a couple of write-ups detailing some aspects of my travel to Canada along with more images soon.
So my past few months of keeping away from the blog and photography, can only be described as a case of being socially mute and nothing more. It’s amusing to notice how an individual’s, or more specifically, an artist’s weekly social imprint has become a yardstick to measure his/her passion and commitment towards art. So, I wasn’t surprised when I was asked multiple times as to why I wasn’t shooting pictures anymore. Some even mentioned I was hit by a creative burnout! I really wish that was the case, because that would imply I hit a creativity peak. To keep things simple and conversations short, I told them I was taking a break and reassured on bouncing back. But the golden truth is I never actually took a break from doing what I love to do. In fact, during the past few months, I traveled more than I usually do and shot even more images in each trip.
A few of you who follow me on Facebook would be knowing about my online collaboration with Oru Photo, a photography venture based out of Chennai, India. In March 2015, while I was contemplating how to bring my works into mainstream social media, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Samba and Mahesh, co-founders at Oru Photo, who cleared my doubts and inhibitions about social platforms and also offered me a chance to showcase some of my work on their channel. Their idea of creating a collaborative photographic platform showcasing different genres was immensely appealing to me. I have always looked towards other photographers for newer perspectives and inspiration, even while having a vision and taste of my own all along. The fact that everyone in the team were enthusiastic about learning, willing to experiment and share their experiences was reassuring for a beginner like me to join them on the fun ride. And all along, the entire team has been extremely supportive and encouraging, for which I am enormously thankful.
Last summer while I was in India, I was sitting on the terrace of my childhood home one evening, sipping a cup of filter coffee and fiddling with my iPhone’s camera. The thing was, it has been two weeks into my vacation and I haven’t shot anything yet. Although, I carried this phone for about an year, I never really shot much with it. Actually, I was least bothered about this tiny lens since I always picked my SLR for shooting. I brought along my SLR to India, but it rested mostly inside my bag. Because of its bulkiness I guess, it mostly attracted attention from the people around. In general, this made me really uncomfortable and I find it hard to focus on my shooting, which is the reason why I refrain myself from shooting any street life.
From where I sat, I looked around to see if anything interesting caught my eye. I saw kids playing cricket on the street below, the sun setting behind the numerous rows of concrete houses, my neighbor speaking loudly into his mobile and my grand-dad humming a carnatic raga while tuning the frequency on his radio. Is it possible to capture each of these moments and be able to tell a story? Ofcourse, that’s what people with great imagination and an artistic eye have always been able to do, irrespective of the lens. The challenge for me has always been to capture moments like these. As much as I enjoy landscape and cityscape photography, there has always been a part of me that yearned to make images that showcased everyday moments. It’s the subtlety that has been the most challenging to capture. At that moment, a thought crossed my mind whether this tiny lens, could become another tool in my hands and help me develop an eye to capture such delicate moments. I wouldn’t attract much attention either while shooting given it’s small form factor. Starting there, I decided to experiment and immediately clicked a handful of images.
Three years ago, making an image for me was merely a push of a button on my camera as a result of a mental stimulation invoked by vision. When I looked at these images on my computer, I categorized them into good compositions, which I kept, and the bad ones, which I immediately discarded. It was my aesthetic sense that played the role of a decision maker. The philosophy of aesthetics, which indicates the cognitive process of perception and judgement, and forms the basis of art or creativity was (and still is to a large extent) beyond my intellect. Being an engineer by profession, I always believed that for every judgement, a logical assessment is of pivotal importance.
I was certain there existed metrics to judge my creations. With a simple query search in Google, a bunch of them popped up. The rule of the thirds, the golden ratio, golden triangles and spirals, filling the frame, patterns, lines and texture are amongst the many that I came across. Gradually, I applied some of these rules to my images, and after a couple of months, they totally controlled my image making and composition decisions. Judgement seemed better now as I held on to these rules as golden reference for deciding between keepers and tossers.