There are different reasons why people smile- a dish well cooked, a painting beautifully coloured, an exam written successfully, an imminent threat averted and many more. For me, however, there are two things which can give me an immense amount of pleasure and satisfaction, more than any other possible. The first is writing, the second photography, not necessarily in that order. Of course, there are other momentary delights too, but then the two I have mentioned here are generally independent of factors(barring the laptop and the camera) around me, which makes them special. I will give priority to the photography in this blog entry though.
I love the digital camera. I could not have imagined clicking so many pictures of objects of nearly no consequence if I still had a film-based camera. Many professionals might think otherwise, saying no digital camera can match a film camera in performance, but then, photography was only revived because of its digitization. Now you can not only preserve insignificant objects in the form of pictures, but also keep trying till you get the perfect frame, without bothering about the film role getting over, or the costs of resources sky-rocketing. Moreover, modern photography has led to photo-sharing communities flourishing, giving the amateur photographer a much-needed platform to showcase his work. This would have been impossible in the previous generation.
Moving away from the debate,let's see what makes a good photograph? I don't claim to be a pro-photographer, so I will not go into the technical details of photography. For me, it's more about keeping your eyes wide open for possible objects around you which will make good photographs. Shadows (had to be), lights, animals, landscapes, reflections, insects, monuments, kids are a few of my personal favourites, although the list is endless. Once decided, the only thing you need is perseverence during the shoot and building that comfort level with your camera, while your teacher here is experience and experience alone.
My friends generally prefer photographs with people in them, but people don't have the patience to wait till I have achieved what I am looking for in the picture. Besides, people often find it unusual to pose for pictures, thinking it's only a model's job! On certain other occasions, they pose when they shouldn't. While trying to clicking a destitute boy, I was quite tired of trying to tell him not to look so happy, but he could not conceal the excitement of someone trying to shoot his picture.
A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but those words change with the person viewing it. That's the beauty of photography, express yourself, and yet, let the viewer draw his own conclusions. More often than not, the first reaction you get from people when they see a photograph is "It's good," or "Whatever is that!" or "Bravo!" or "I don't like the pic." Not many read a picture. The true appreciation of a picture is only when the viewer tries and interprets the message it conveys. So apart from seeing photographs the next time, also try listening to them, feel their pulse and in the process, open your inner eye ( no, no, I still haven't become sri sri whispering shadow nor do I want to).