It is not all that simple, just as much as it is not unintelligible. Although the performing arts such as those mentioned above, need talent and skill, they are limited to certain innate flair and practiced perseverance. And that’s where photography stands apart. A photographer is an artist, a businessman, an advocate and a technician all rolled into one. Just as an artist uses his brush and a blacksmith, his tools, a photographer uses his techno-tool and brings to life his forte just as a spider weaves its web. He sees beauty in everything. Precisely the emotion elicited by an artist. He crafts his perception of beauty through his lens and sells it to everyone who wishes to see what he sees. He acts as an eye to the aesthetically blind, in a way. He convinces his critics by his work advocating his feelings. His work pouring out his emotions. He wields his tools with delicacy. He integrates and builds upon his photo. He learns more each time he errs. Certainly, being a photographer is much more than walking around with a DSLR round neck like a collar worn by a dog!
A photographer has a duty, a commitment and a right. He has the duty of searching for banal things and is committed to making them beautiful. He has his omnipotent tool – ‘The Third Eye’ to make things easy for him. And then he has the right to use that produce that he harvested to put forth his theory of everything. Look at a magazine, look at my blog, or a book. Is it complete without a picture? A picture speaks a thousand words, my friends and a beautiful photograph holds a thousand pictures. Again the textual matter you long to read is complete. Lacking nothing. But a photograph accompanying it parallels the perspective of the reader and the writer. Something that Jorge Luis Borges calls ‘The Poetic Act’ – The act that takes place when the feelings of the art lover and the artist, the reader and the writer, resonate.
This is precisely the rationale photography requests. When Prabuddha Dasgupta trained his camera lens on a woman walking home with a water pot on her head, on the dusty tree lined streets and relatively newer buildings that neighbored them, of Bombay of the 1970s, the city was cresting the wave of a real estate boom that would change it irrevocably. Navi Mumbai advocates needed photography to make word real, to demonstrate (or at least allude to) the authenticity of exaggerated claims about the future of a place like Mumbai. Photography would be the rose tinted glasses through which the country could glimpse the new city, or, as some even claimed a new civilization. A flood of photographic imagery flowed from the region and around the globe in snapshot albums, postcards, and the illustrated press. By the late 1980s amidst surging populous, photographers – resident and tourist, amateur and professional – became a ubiquitous presence.
In a day when people openly say – “A pic by a DSLR and a pic with a DSLR makes you a photographer,” talent is seldom given priority. Today everyone has a camera in their phones. But has that erased the need for a professional photographer catering to your pre-wedding photoshoot? You can easily get a professional camera and get your own photos clicked. But no, in order for something to be made exquisite it has to be patiently crafted by a practiced hand. A veteran, if you will. I have had the opportunity to have been acquainted and associated with a number of amateur photographers in my junior high and high school days. I’ve worked closely with them, helped them get a few things done, gotten them to do a few things (okay….. a LOT of things) for me and it has all been one hell of an experience.
Sometimes I happen across an involved conversation and hear words. I see their lips moving and words coming out. I hear them to the best of my eardrums’ capacities but I don’t understand a thing! Their words suddenly seem alien to me. What might be the reason, I wonder and then do I remember the Prophet Almustafa’s suggestion to Almitra in Gibran’s masterpiece. I close my ears and listen through my heart and everything at once becomes clear and unambiguous. That’s the artistic beauty that ‘The Third Eye’ so bountifully possesses.
Pic Credits: Chirag KS
Authors Note: This post, the first exclusively penned for the blog is dedicated to my friends who took time off their sleep in the hols to help me set up the blog. Some of them were busy with JEE preparation and some of them were on tour (Puttur, New-Delhi, Photography shoots) :P but they did this for me and I'm eternally indebted to them. Pranay, Vishal, Chirag and Abhi for their stupendous clicks. Vinyas and Pranay again for the logos. Shrinidhi, Christan and Medha for their unfailing support to balance all the boats I put my legs into. I gratefully acknowledge all your help and humbly dedicate this to all of them. Thank you guys.