One of my favorite photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson said that ‘Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.’ And I couldn’t agree more. When I don’t have the patience to draw I take pictures.
I’ve always loved photography because it allows me to freeze frame happy memories. Last year I got a Fuji Instax camera because I’d always wanted a Polaroid and there’s something magical about instantly holding a photo in your hand. I spent a lot of money on packs of instant film but I’ve had a hard time deciding what was worthy of being the subject of these Rs.40 photographs. Eventually, I shot pictures with my friends and gave away the insta photos as a memento which they loved. I also just got rid of the digital photo frame and got a Canon Selphy printer to print my own photos. I turned to the camera roll on my iphone for some inspiration only to realize that it was best if my digital photos, stayed digital. So much for old school.
Being a 90s child, I’ve witnessed the analog age before the proliferation of digital cameras when there was some actual money involved when deciding to take a photo. There was the cost of the film roll and also cost of developing your film and waiting to get prints at the neighborhood foto flash store. Now there is relatively no cost at all (aside from the cost of your phone/camera) and you can take (and delete) as many pictures as you want as long as you have cloud storage/ or SD card storage. So what kind of pictures did I take in the past that were worthy of being developed? I can’t remember… but I’m sure it’s not these. What I do remember is that photo-taking was reserved for special days like weddings, births, birthdays, holidays, graduation days and family gatherings.
I have 3110 photos, 110 selfless and 10 videos taken in the last 6 months on my iphone camera roll alone and I’d probably only spend money to print 1% of them. So, on average I’ve been clicking 17.2 photos per day. Yeah!
This number doesn’t even include the numerous photos and HD videos on my DSLR. I know how much I admire portrait photography but I’m ashamed to say that the kind of photos I take now are either meaninglessly artistic or of food, pets, flowers, objects around the house, art supplies and multiple shots of all of the above.
But I must admit that I find it hilarious to see every single person I meet these days listing photography as his/her hobby. Don’t get me wrong, I know the importance of having a creative outlet for personal expression in these stressful times. I love the fact that nearly everyone now has access to a camera and is happily chronicling their lives. What I don’t get is the obsession some people have with equipment and technique. Expensive gear does not equal great photographs. Period.
It’s my photo. It’s like a short story. I share the story and I read it and no one is going to ask me if I typed it or wrote it out long hand or which pen or tablet or device I used. My calligraphic handwriting or the beautiful font I used is not going to make my badly written story sound great. My expensive gear is not going to compensate for my lack of creativity and perspective. Neither is nice Bokeh, rendering or applying Lightroom presets. It doesn’t matter. The proof is the final photo.
Yes I have to know my lenses, but it’s not that difficult. I can learn it very quickly. It’s like when I first learned to drive a manual car, I kept looking at the gear shift before I changed gears. But then, when I got better at driving I’m only concerned with where I have to go, it’s instinctive and it’s the same thing.
We’re all inundated with photographs now thanks to Instagram and the web in general. These days, most women on Instagram have started calling themselves fashion bloggers. The hard truth that most of these self-styled outfit experts have the style quotient of a dormouse is lost on them. The pressure to fit in, appear successful/cool and look ‘perfect’ is so high that airbrushing is a given but diet pills or cosmetic surgery too is not completely off limits for many. Their quest for followers is obviously going to be more legendary than the quest for Holy Grail. Little do they know that too many of those hashtags reek of desperation for likes and followers. What are you trying to be the next Kardashian or something? Of course the less said the better about the follow unfollow game of cat and dormice on Instagram. To put it simply, the number of followers you have on Instagram is directly proportionate to how accomplished you feel, how much sleep you get and how much money you spend on your wardrobe the following weekend. And keep in mind- it’s a fashion faux pas to wear the same outfit twice so good luck with that.
We do have a knack to turn every possible activity into a rat race these days don’t we? Whatever blows their hair (extensions) back, right? #YOLO
What is your favorite form of photography? Is it architecture, landscapes, sports, travel or fashion? I love portraiture – of people, pets and flowers mostly. Tell me yours.