There is a joke that I shared with a chap a year back, about the often futility of trying to do a commercial assignment in photography with some of the chaps you have in India – particularly North India.
All you need to do, is to replace the iPhone 6, with iPhone 7 etc.
The man goes, in a thick, guttural, country accent:
Brother, I will give you the assignment only if you shoot with an iPhone 6 Plus. If you have an iPhone 6, you don’t get the assignment. Mind it, eh?!
This is accompanied by a shake of the head, and a wagging of the finger. A wiggle of the belly, as well.
Or, the other airy-fairy comment that I often get;
Oh, Photoshop Kar Do, yaar!
Which means, literally, ‘Do the Photoshop Magic, boss’!
Now, this is a strange world that we live in. It is very different from the old world, in which photography was not easily accessible.
Today, with digital SLRs becoming more accessible, smaller cameras available, mobile phones available, photography has become more accessible. This is good.
In some ways, there is an accompanying sadness. The accessibility of photography, while making it enjoyable for all, does also mean that fewer people recognise the intensity of photography.
This morning, I was talking to a few people, and they seemed a bit saddened that while I like to shoot people, and portraiture – I don’t do high fashion work.
They were surprised that, while I shoot landscapes, I don’t shoot wildlife.
In the world of photography, there is specialisation.
The intensity of photography arises from many factors. One, the desire to produce better and better photographs. Therefore, many of us tend to push ourselves further along the creative path.
While indeed this is a path that is yours alone, the journey is not fully alone. You learn from other photographers. You draw inspiration from life, and what makes you passionate.
To excel in this field, you must not only be a master of your craft, but also study the subject that you are photographing.
The vision builds and builds. It matures.
Technique, art, craft and vision must develop in tandem. The appreciation and understanding, and feeling for your chosen subject matter needs go grow alongside.
This is, to some extent, the essence of photography for me.
It goes beyond the taking of pretty pictures, or clicking the shutter. It is a stamp of how I see, or saw, the world at a point in time.
When I re-edit my photographs, I do so from two perspectives. One, is an improved technique. Two, is a developed vision, or memory, of how I recollect the scene and want to present it to the world.
It’s a journey that continues for life.
It is the journey called life.