Have you ever looked in the mirror and not recognise the person in the mirror? I have. A few times.
I do remember a stirring feeling running through me the first time it happened. One doesn’t know how to comprehend it. True moments of introspection and soul searching often comes like a pall over one’s loved ones. A sinking feeling sets in.
I’ve had it a few times after that but it never caught me off-gaurd ever again. Irrespective, the sinking feel does set in.
The very flesh and blood you’ve come to know as ‘I’ looks back at you from the mirror – neither recognizing the other. One, what you’ve become and the other, what you thought you were. So you see its imperative that the sinking feel must set in.
However, over the years I’ve come to realize, moments when you don’t recognise yourself are not always bad. Like everything else, this too has its good ones and bad ones.
So I ask you…. …What are you?
Are you the one who doesn’t recognise the person in the mirror anymore? Or are you the one who does not recognise this person anymore but do know where he/she is heading?
Or are you the one who we take for granted – the one you recognise to the last strand of hair?
Last few days I set about rummaging through my collection of images and found a few more candid images. The results though not surprising(to me), I must confess ‘few’ mentioned here is an utter over statement of what I could find. 3 were all I could find worthy enough to be included in this blog. After close to a decade of photography and many travels across the country, the only candid/lifestyle imagery that I could pick were all home – of family & self.
Like I said in my previous post – I tend to see beautiful moments more often through my eye than through the lens. Its not in my thought-fabric to click lifestyle imagery. At least not yet. It simply isn’t my art, yet the beauty of it lures me in every single time.
The first image featured here was not clicked by me. Infact, it is a portrait of me clicked by my wife at Goa about 5 years ago. Shot on a film SLR, this image has a unique sense of colour and noise only a film can produce. We were winding through the inner roads in Goa on our hired scooter when we came up on this cafe. It was ‘one of those’ rich & obscure sort of cafe’s you’ll find in Goa. I remember being disappointed about the sausages as it wasn’t good as what you’d expect in Goa, but the ambience was impeccable. An old house converted to a cafe, silent lush green garden with various kinds of flora and shade. My wife got to reading her book and I wandered off to random thought & space. Somewhere during that time she picked up the camera and clicked this image. This image somehow fits so well with my style of photography and I thought I should include it. Ode to my wife Sarada for an awesome click.
The second image is of my wife on her phone during her pre- buttersideup days. Shot at our balcony, this image shows the mood and the tone of the city that evening. It was one of those blue sepia sort of evenings when a blue lull falls over the whole city. It was a cloudy day too. Colours have a different tonal variance on evenings like that and I picked the camera up to capture the light.
The third image is of my nephew and niece. I was very happy with the final image because the mood and light I’d achieved was precisely what I’d visualized. Not only is this image a good photograph but it’s an excellent portrait. It brings out the personalities of these kids to the fore.
The boy – a more introvert-ish detached calm kid – as soon as he realized I was with the camera, covered his face. I tried to remove his hands and clicked while I tried. This pretty much gave the image a strong character. His sister on the other hand is an extrovert-ish interactive impatient kid. As soon as she realized an image was being taken she walked right in to the camera. Both the images have an immediacy about them, yet of a different kind !
I’d like to believe this is good lifestyle photography. I know candid lifestyle imagery in not my natural thought-fabric But who’s is it to say it never will be.
I thought my presence was making them nervous but it wasn’t that. It was the machine. The camera. That didn’t belong.
So I stopped using it, and it was then that I began to see them for the first time.
- Dr. Ethan Powell, an anthropologist played by Anthony Hopkins in Instinct
It’s the definition that I have problem with. Not the knowledge.
Sometimes it’s so difficult to define an artist’s life and it makes me want to scream out to those who live by definitions that they’re looking the wrong way. But then again, isn’t the right and the wrong always the same thing? Isn’t it just a matter of perspective? Isn’t that what puts us where we are?
So, What are you? Where are you?
This art here pretty much represents my life now. Vibrant and Trivial.
I’d like to believe that I live an artist’s life though I’m not quite sure who or what that is. I’d like to believe that this art of mine is a part of me who wants to tell a story. But a story is never complete if there’s no one to listen to it. It’s not in it’s karma to go untold. A creative process of an artist, however pleasurable and individualistic it be, will never be complete if his or her art does not have an audience.
Over the years I’ve come to understand that all art is for myself. But over the years I’ve come to realize that all art is, in equal part, for you as well. I could know ‘joy’ through my images but I wouldn’t know ‘joy in its completeness’ if there was no one to rubbish it or praise it.
I find this image beautiful, vibrant and trivial all at the same time. Although it wasn’t the intend when I’d clicked it, this is my ode to you.
To you who sees my images and sees a part of yourself in it.
I never was the ‘I gotto go to the first day – first show‘ kinda guy. I never was that guy who went to a cricket stadium and came back saying, ‘Saw Sachin Tendulkar‘. Truth be told, I was never a celebrity gung-ho guy. I never was!
Infact, I once bummed in to Carlos Moya at the Chennai Open and didn’t know what to do. Two others, immediately, rushed in for his autograph so I assumed that was the right thing to do. I, obviously, didn’t have a paper on me so I extended my t-shirt and he signed on it. Two days later I remember washing that pen mark off my t-shirt. Nothing against Moya, but I never was the kind who went around saying ‘I have this !‘ I couldn’t stand the thought of not using that t-shirt again. Why then did I let the wasp bite me?
I bought a Vespa couple of days ago. One among the first few in Bangalore. First real piece of art that I own (other than my photography, of course). It was at the least 15 grand more than what I was expecting it to cost but I just could hold myself back. The real reason for owning this thing was not ‘being one among the first few to own it‘ but was ‘not being one among the ones who don’t own it‘. I didn’t want anybody to talk me out of this.
But what I didn’t realize, when I bought one, is that I’ve become that guy I never was. Like it or not, I’ve in effect become one of the first few in this country to own one. I should at this point be bloating with pride but I’m not.
Infact, I sense this strange mix of awkward shyness and stage fright concocting within me every time I take my wasp out. On my trip from the showroom to my home, at least six people on the road queried about the scooter. Three among them while riding their vehicle along side mine. Many turned heads, a few whispers and a lot more queries on mileage & price tag from strangers – I realize this concocting mix will stir inside me until I see a few more on the road.
I’ve seen a quite a few european films and have always wondered why scooters don’t look that beautiful here. But now I know it takes a wasp to be bitten by it.
Rummaging through old photographs always feels like a treasure trove. Last night my wife had asked for an image I clicked of her and her business partner, a while ago and I wasn’t sure when I clicked it.
Its when you look at your images, clicked over the last few years, do you realize that there were many a gems that you never looked at, again. Why do we always forget the second best? Has he / she not worked as hard? Why do we only remember the first man who stepped on the moon and not the other guy who went with him?
It was a beautiful evening! A lot of images that I rummaged through had a unique sense of character and aesthetics. Many a second bests’ that never saw an another eye. The sheer number of good images and the memories that came with it made me happy.
One must always look at his / her old photographs. It always reminds you of the path through which you came to where you are now. It shows you those beautiful little gems you never saw, even while you clicked it or was clicked with. Life’s precious moments. And it shows you your family. The way you’ve clicked them. And the way you’ve missed clicking them.
This is an image of my dad clicked sometime ago. I discovered this yesterday and loved the mood of the photograph. My dad is camera shy and usually wouldn’t stand for images other than family portraits. So this is a rare gem. One from my very treasure trove.