The Magic Frame – Creativity & Boredom




A few – many – years back, when my hair still had some decent amount of black, and the girls looked at me with awe and admiration, I went through a phase in life in which I listened to some tapes by Osho Rajneesh. He was the Godman, who moved from being a teacher (of sorts) of history, to a very successful Godman. He died in Oregon, the owner they say, of 96 Rolls-Royce cars. Not bad.

Anyway, there were a few tapes of that time that impressed me. One is titled in my native Punjabi, but I will come back to that one later.

The other three were titled “Death”, “Creativity” and “Boredom”. I was particularly impressed with the one on death, but I have almost completely forgotten the content.

Let’s move to Boredom. There was a line in this, where he says that the reason why we keep repeating a mantra (we ‘jup a mantra”) or count rosary beads, is to to bore the living shit out of us. At some point, if we are diligent enough, we are driven so completely mad with boredom that we ‘break on through to the other side” (with due apologies to The Doors), and we find salvation – Nirvana – or whatever you choose to call it.

Some religious folks may disagree, but I think that there is some merit in this. Not everyone understands the meaning behind each Mantra, or they understand it differently; and not everyone is sensitive to the vibrations of the mantras. I, for one, am like a block of lead in this respect.

However, let’s go back to boredom.

Sometimes, when I think back on my photographic journey, I do acknowledge that I have progressed. My style has evolved over the years, and I think that I am not too bad a photographer now. There is miles to go, I know, before I sleep. That is the beauty of photography.

Yet, there are times when I look at my photographs, and go, “Humph, what a boring load of shit…. I have to be the most boring photographer in existence.” No, I am not looking for plaudits here, or readers saying, “Come one dude, you are good. Don’t beat yourself up…”

Yes, I do look back and say, what a lot of crock. So, while a year back, I may have liked 50% of what I shot, I now like 5%.

Then, I ask myself, what more can I do? Can I see better? Can I lose some weight, so that I can bend down and look at better angles? Do I need to copy those who’s photographs look Photoshopped out of reality? How can I express myself better? What boundaries can I push, and what new frontiers can I tread on?

Will I always succeed? No.

But, can I push the edge of boredom? Possibly.

So, I ask you, gentle reader: what drives you forward?


NB:- The design for The Magic Frame was created by a genius known as Michelle Marie


  1. The dawning of a new day. We only get today so what the hell. If I look at the world presented through the lens of media, our world seems sad as if beaten mercilessly about the face and neck. So much death, suffering, injustice, and yet today I live. My slice of creation is not being bombed. Might even rain. Bless the rain. I don’t get to see much rain until monsoon. However I get to see places and corners of our world thanks to Rajiv and that is a blessing. Most of all, I like to make politicians and the upper crusted nervous. So maybe I’m driven by an innate desire to be irritating.

  2. This is another good read from you Rajiv – I often feel like this myself and lots when circumstances are limiting. Your question makes me stop and think.. and getting back to basics, my answer is, I’m looking for beauty and trying to capture it, with some fun thrown in along the way. 😀
    Keep doing your thing 😉 and have a great weekend!!

    1. Thanks. Looking for beauty is right. When I started shooting on the street, I would look for poverty and say – yay, poor person pooping.

      Now, I try and look for dignity and beauty. I think our photographic process evolves as we grow..

      Hm. You have given me the seed for another line of thought

      1. I like that – dignity and beauty. Yes.
        We certainly do evolve as we’re hopefully always learning.
        Oh good. 😃😃

  3. I’m laughing…I LOVE the way you write Raj. Too funny. You are ANYTHING but boring and definitely did not drive me into boredom. I feel the same way about my photography. I look at things I did even three months ago and sometimes cringe, but having taken photos for only 5 years and only the last two really seriously, I don’t have much to show. If I start deleting everything I don’t like, I’ll have maybe two or three pictures on my website lol. What drives me forward is my desire to always learn and grow and that’s in all aspects of my life, not just photography.

    1. I think that this is the main thing. I started many years ago, doing B&W film. However, it is only in the last 15 months that I started taking it really seriously.

      I call these posts, “The Magic Frame” because of something I read.

      1. Thank ye…
        By the way, you and I are of a similar vintage – even in the time we started to take photography seriously!

      2. I noticed that! Although I never picked up a camera until umm 5 years ago. I’ve never owned a “real” camera before then.

  4. Wonderful, R. I love that you like less of what you used to like in your portfolio. LOL. The Asian Mafia in me. We should ask more of ourselves – as in better – not be so easy to please. And great questions you asked yourself challenging those sweet, snug boundaries of safety and complacency.

  5. Actually, photographs are like writings. Not all writings appeal to audiences. But funny enough, what you think is bad is what many will fancy. That is the way it is.

  6. If I may go directly to Your question, my Dear Rajiv, what drives is certainly Not boredom! It is the desire to plant More (Mango) seeds for my Grand children before I leave this place.

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