06 January 2010


I've always been shy of being photographed. I belong to the category of people who think that their photos never come out well. A fact proved true in my case as at least a couple of people have commented that photography does not do justice to my fair features(Blush!). Ever since childhood I've hated looking at photo albums - especially those of other people. One of my pet peeves is when someone offers to show me their photo album, then points to a photograph full of school children and asks me to guess where he/she is! I remember one of my ex-managers had done this and all my colleagues had taken it up as a challenge. There was endless discussion over tea and lunch breaks and even I was forced to use my wits in order to identify him. My guess worked - I don't take any credit for that; it was just a fluke :)

At least in the earlier days, one could get away with murmuring a few appropriate words on seeing photos. But nowadays, a lot of people have started taking an avid interest in photography as an hobby. A lot of my friends know about the technical aspects of photography, the makes of latest cameras and even have accounts with online photo album sites. So, if you show them a photo, instead of commenting on the subject, they comment on the (shabby) quality of the photography! I had recently come from a trip abroad and was all agog with excitement to share photos with a friend. His first comment was - you guys have used too much flash; you need to experiment more with your camera! Suffice it to say that anyone who cared to photograph me in that instance would have landed a Kodak moment. And heaven forbid if, when you are presented with someone's photo, you do not ask which camera or what angle was used to take it. Whether you ask or not, you are subjected to a detailed lecture on the same.

I sincerely fail to understand why everyone is so hell-bent on showing off their photography skills. Its a creative art, I agree, but then so is computer programming. Imagine, if a programmer of a software game were to launch into technical jargon about the technology and design patterns used to write the game! Would a consumer of the game be interested in that? To me, a photo is just a way of capturing a moment for future reference. I believe that was what it was invented for originally. But nowadays, especially with the advent of digital cameras, people click away with gay abandon without a concern for the 'capturability' of the moment. They literally watch the scene through the camera lens rather than through their naked eye. It completely beats me what all this hullabaloo is all about.

Thanks to my husband though, I've started taking some interest in the art and craft of photography. I've learned that photos need to have a 'theme'. Photos can tell a lot about the subject as well as the photographer's train of thought. It is an intelligent art. I am now actually able to discern between the good and bad photos. And yes, I've come to realize that the quality of the photo does not necessarily depend on the subject; it rests more with the photographer. It all boils down to the comfort level between the photographer and his subject. And so I've begun to like my photos, especially those taken by my hubby:)

Would like to mention regarding a book that first exposed me to the significance of photography - The Bridges of Madison County. Its a sad, romantic tale of a married woman and a photographer who works for the National Geographic. The descriptions of the photos taken by him, which eventually lead her children to find him are very vivid and soulful. A must read.


Balvinder Singh said...

Nilu, that's a lovely write up I also always detest my photographs because i have never ben able to get my real self in a frame. Most of the times my pictures are disappointment for me. Or may be it is just my disillusion.

i feel that the digital cameras, particularly the ones with mobile phones have made photography so easy and everyday affair and also some of the poses captured by mobile cameras come out so natural because they have been taken suddenly without the knowledge of the 'subject'.

Veena said...

Nice Post Neel.. Loved the jest in it. Well ! To tell you the truth ! I too belong to the category of people who love the creative side of photography - rather than just capturing the moment ! I have long grown past that phase.. :)

Nilu said...

Thanks, Veena! And yes, I know that you belong to that category - but that's cos you love art in all forms. I know of one ex-colleague who was so enthusiastic about pursuing his hobby of photography that he took a hiatus in his career to join a course in UK!

My only peeve is that others should not be expected to subscribe to same standards as such passionate folks.


shashank said...


RAGHAV (Anything is Possible) said...

Nice post !!! … technical details should not take away the joy of taking pictures ….I had chance to attend a talk by Kalyan (http://kalyanvarma.net/) , he was sharing how some of the world’s best photographers don’t know much about technicalities.
Always it is good to know some basics, then we can play with that.

J P Joshi said...

Photography has changed over the years - from a visit to the studio for a photograph; to the Agfa Click III; to the SLRs and now the digital cameras on every concievable gadget. Photography has found new practitioners - thanks to modern technology. Like you, I too am also experimenting with a digital camera of my own and also believe that "To me, a photo is just a way of capturing a moment for future reference." So true. Photographs to me, are suggestions to re-live life's wonderful moments once again.

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