I bought my first ‘DSLR’ (a Nikon D3200) in 2012 and the trigger was a trip to Germany. Before that I had a point and shoot Sony CyberShot that I had bought in 2005, that too was to capture pictures on internship trip to West Africa. These were simple decisions to buy a camera that I can afford – no considerations of their capabilities or technical specifications. Both these cameras were used occasionally to capture memories- and my then ignorant self had a very narrow definition of memories. The camera got to be packed and used mostly when I was traveling and memories were mostly travel memories.
But it all changed in 2015. The definition of memories changed and my purpose for taking photos changed. We became parents. And, every gaze, stare, smile, movement, gestures.. everything was worth capturing. Every moment became a memory to preserve. A camera became a constant companion. But I also got hooked to not only capturing these memories but learning how I can capture them better. I wanted to do justice to the divine innocence engendering happiness in thousands different ways; I wanted my photography skills to be able to capture them in better way.
This made me go into a rabbit hole, consuming many tutorials on photography, getting in photography gears and photography as an art form. But I have no regrets. It introduced me to Susan Sontag, John Berger, Ansel Adams, Roland Barthes, Henri Cartier Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Steve McCurry, Annie Leibovitz Stephan Shore.. the list is endless. The journey that started with an ambition to getting off the ‘auto mode’ and mastering the manual mode unintentionally meandered into understanding why we take pictures and what makes it an art form. There are many theories and approaches and deviations from these theories that have resulted in mesmerising pictures. Be it Stephan Shore’s approach of taking pictures as we see things naturally or the decisive moment of Bresson – the masters of photographies went deep to put soul into a mundane act of pressing the shutter button. Knowing their work and looking at their pictures was a reward in itself!
My photography journey started with clicking pictures of our daughter and it is growing with her. But more than the pictures and getting better at photography it gave me something immensely valuable that goes beyond the photography or photographs. Out of my crazy schedules and numerous distractions, it makes me shut down all distractions and focus, literally and figuratively, on what matters- people who I love and care about.
(For those, who are keen to explore photography as an art, here are some YouTube links that are good starting points to know more about photography. You can also just search for the master photographers’ name in YouTube and will get enough videos to get better understanding of their work and learn from their work.)
- Learn the Language of Photography Through Critique
- Are You Expressing Your Creativity or Just Pressing Buttons?
- Stephen Shore – How to see
- John Berger – Understanding a photograph