Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why I photograph

I do not believe in the cliché a picture is worth a thousand words. Nonetheless, I strongly feel a good picture is worth a million. And you have to be ruthless with yourself to ensure what you have is high quality material.

I do not think I am a photography pro. I am just an ordinary shutterbug striving to improve my skills. I often delete a photo which is not up to the mark. Many feel I am being fussy about a casual affair. How right they are! How else am I supposed to push myself for that one shot that makes you want to go back from a place with a smile? A photograph must evoke the same emotional response in you, as did the subject when you captured the moment. That is when you know you have met your own standards.

I am not a big fan of the phrase 'Say Cheese' when it comes to clicking people. Why would a photographer want to corrupt a frame with their influence? A photograph must be an untouched interpretation of the state of the subject. The lesser the subjects know they are being photographed the better (unless they are models!). My best people portraits are the ones in which I haven't said a word to the subject and they have looked right into the eye of the camera. And they are also the ones that have been the most appreciated by viewers.

Some of my acquaintances believe that it is pointless to click a photograph which you can download from Google. They ask "Why would you click a photograph of the Eiffel tower without us?" Some are even considerate enough to not carry their cameras when they travel with me, assuming my services are at their disposal. To such people, I say, there is a subtle difference between a photographer and a cameraman. They have mistaken me for the latter. Well, I can always click one that will serve as they-were-there evidence. But that is about it. I would prefer they leave my photography to me then - I may click just them or just the Eiffel, whatever makes a better frame. As for the Google argument, I rather not put in the efforts of searching and downloading images of places from the net, if I can click better ones myself. It is not as much about a photograph of the Eiffel, but my photograph of the Eiffel.

And that is why I photograph.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Revisiting my Religion

I am not an atheist or an agnostic
For I know God exists

I am not a man of religion
But I believe in the power of prayer

I do not participate in holy rituals
The only prayer is through honesty in action

I do not follow men of God
Because there is one in each of us

I am not a Hindu, Muslim or Christian
However I respect another′s beliefs

I am not regular with visits to the temple
My place of worship is in my heart

I am not aware of what holy books say
But they can′t preach hatred or violence

I do not ask God for favours
I always thank him when things go right

I do not doubt your beliefs
I just want to reaffirm my own

I was not brought up this way
Just uncovered my beliefs along the way

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Nearly 60 of us stood through the last hour of the match, chanting the favourite slogans of Mumbaikars - "Ganpati Bappa Moriya", "Jo bole so nihal", "Vande Mataram'- but as we inched closer to the finish line, there was only one word on our mind - "Indyeahhhhhhhhh". The crescendo grew louder with every additional run scored. And then it happened. We erupted into a roar, jumping, clapping, hugging whoever stood next to us. Some of us were shouting, others had tears in their eyes - emotions of all types were witness in the moments that followed. The most heartening moments of the day were yet to come.

We decided to hit the streets. The whole suburb was heading in one direction, to one celebration. Apart from Ganpati celebration, rarely have 5000 people gathered to dance on the streets to the Nashik dhol. Never have I witnessed a parade of fans, stranger to one another, sitting atop cars, screaming to each other as if they have had a bond of decades. Never have I seen so many people, from different religions and castes celebrating together. Never have so many generations enjoy a victory together, in a similar manner, due to one cause. Never have I seen a flood of the Indian tricolour in the sea of blue, over flowing on the streets. Never have I felt so proud to be an Indian. It was all for one team that rose to the occasion and gave a billion Indians including one Sachin Tendulkar the ultimate gift - a World Cup win.