It requires a certain degree of mindfulness to be able to make photographs. Until you tap into that meditative or flow state, you won’t be able to capture anything worth capturing. It’s a subtle dance – to be simultaneously aware of the effects of external stimuli and your responses to those stimuli.
Why did you choose to make a photograph of that man sitting alone as everyone walks past him? How did it make you feel? Did you identify with the peaceful solitude or did it show up as loneliness for you?
“How does it make you feel? ” – It is a very important question to ask yourself. Did you photograph love or disgust, familiarity or discomfort?
I’m not strictly a street photographer, I capture whatever fancies my eyes. Whatever elicits an emotional response in me. Yet, streets occupy a certain corner in my heart due to the sheer uncertainty it stores in itself. I need to be extra-attuned to my surroundings if I even want to stand of making a half-decent photograph. Yet I’m always haunted by the question: “Am I paying enough attention? “
Photographing another human being is a very intimate act, whether you know that person or not. It is actually seeing them, and catching them in an unguarded moment of vulnerability, that is what makes the photograph so pure. And yet, I’m always haunted by the question, “Am I being intimate enough? “
No, I am not. I can make a photograph of a stranger on the street and if I don’t look at that photograph ever again, I will not recognize that person the next time I meet them. Am I really being mindful enough?
SEEKING NOVELTY IN THE KNOWN
The translation of one of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem sounds like this: (Translated by Rajib Roy)
“I traveled miles, for many a year,
I spent a lot in lands afar,
I’ve gone to see the mountains,
The oceans I’ve been to view.
But I haven’t seen with these eyes
Just two steps from my home lies
On a corn of paddy grain,
A glistening drop of dew.”
For a very long time, I used the excuse of not being able to travel as the reason why I have not created good enough photos. Not until I was locked up in my room for 9 months, did I actually became curious to explore my neighborhood with my camera. And, I was heavily rewarded when I decelerated, reflected internally, and then pointed my camera.
I had probably visited this ghat a hundred times before the COVID-19 pandemic and I never noticed these scenes – such novelty in my neighborhood. A raw piece of nature. Either because it used to be way more crowded back in those days, or perhaps of my new-born interest in this place. I created this series over a span of just two weeks.