The Chosen one – Photography

A photographer is by definition a storyteller. A storyteller almost never gives you the facts straight away.He always distorts reality to fit his narrative. In a way, he chooses different parts of reality and joins them together in a fictional story. So, storytelling is the act of choosing between many realities. Photography is a similar process.

When you visit a photography exhibition, there are the photographers best picks lined up in an attractive layout. And when you’re busy admiring every individual photograph, you instinctively assume that these photographs were taken by the photographer.

No,they weren’t. Actually, they weren’t just taken by the photographer. They were also chosen by him. Like a storyteller, a photographer takes multiple snapshots of reality. But he choses to exhibit only the one which tells a story he likes. So what you are seeing isn’t a photograph taken by him, it is the photograph chosen by him. He chose that particular photograph because he liked the story that it told. So a photograph is far from an objective window into reality. It is, in fact, no less subjective than the perception of the person who took it. In a way, photographs are akin to paintings – the creation is a reflection of the creator.

The next time you look at a photograph, remember it is much more a choice than a creation.

 

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Walking in the neighbourhood: A Photo Essay

Living in India has its own little pleasures. But trust me festivals aren’t one of them. At least not to someone like me, who is at fault for loving silence and peace. So it might not come as a shock to you that I hate Diwali!!

Seriously, I can’t even begin to comprehend what goes wrong with the Indian mind when Diwali arrives. The whole year, an average Indian spends most of their time avoiding noise and commotion. And then the first day of Diwali arrives. Suddenly people chuck their auditory concerns into the trash can and go on a cracker-bursting rampage that lasts for 4 days.

So to avoid torturing my senses, I spent the first day of Diwali walking around and taking photographs of things I found interesting.

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I had walked around for a few minutes when I saw this building. On its own, the structure wasn’t as interesting. Then I tried taking a few steps back the way I came from. The image that ou see above is the one that formed. Imagine this photo with just the white building. (Exclude the grey fence with the creepers). You’ll find that the building seems mute. Now add the fence with the creepers to the building. This adds enough context to tell a story. I can tell you my interpretation of the image. But what’s the fun in that?  What story do you see?

 

 

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This one had no intention. I just liked the way the light fell on the plant. This gave the plant a sharp highlight causing it to appear removed from the background. The plant is actually growing out of a divider on a busy street. If I had to construct an interpretation on the fly, I would say the plant is the metaphor for an island of peace in this chaotic world. Too cheesy? I might be projecting my own disdain for the chaotic atmosphere during Diwali. Freud, over and out.

 

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Looking at a tree is always soothing. More so when you get a good click out of it! But there is something we always forget when we see a tree – it is a living, breathing creature. It’s easy to trivialise a tree as ‘just a part of the landscape.’ But the fact is, they are the superstars of the living world.  Those leaves you see in the picture are at the present moment, purifying the surrounding air, making food for animals to eat, providing shelter to a number of birds and itself serving as food for caterpillars and other leaf eating insects. A tree is far from inanimate. Actually, a tree is far more alive than we ever will be.

 

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In a democracy, the constitution must be the most supreme god. And yet in the world’s most populated democracy, laws are just meant to be broken. So I felt it a duty to document this crime in a visual format.  But I don’t completely blame the car driver for not seeing the ‘No-Parking’ sign. It’s degrading condition and rusting surface is a loud indicator of how Indian people have evolved to neglect traffic laws. I hope the people find it in their willpower to respect the laws that the constitution imposes on them, for their own benefit and safety.

 

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A flower is the axiom of natural beauty. I couldn’t resist clicking this cliched picture of a blurred background and sharp focus on the flower. But I have a few words for all the people who confuse having a DSLR for being a photographer – the ability to blur the background and keeping one object in focus doesn’t make you a photographer. The elements in your photo have to be composed, they need to tell a story or convey an emotion. A photo is your interpretation of the world – click it wisely.

 


 

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