WARNING: This, is a product of caffeine, sleep deprivation, Adele and AC/DC. Do not try this at home.
From time immemorial, when asked what my hobbies/ passions are, I usually ended up saying “I like to write and take pictures”. My love for photography stems from my mother’s passion for the art. They say “A photograph is worth a thousand words”. This is true more often than not. Each emotion is characterized by its own set of nuances. The best writers take their time depicting each fragment of each nuance. A photographer, on the other hand, hits the shutter. BOOM. The emotion along with its billion nuances are now burned onto a film for the world to see and relate to.
When we would go on family vacations, my mum would be busy clicking panoramas of beautiful landscapes, macros of flowers pitched against cloudless azure skies, portraits of my dad and I having a good time and the sort. At the time, we were on that side of the lens. And so were our perspectives. I don’t remember how many times I must have asked “Maa! Set the camera down for a bit and enjoy the beach with us. What’s the fun in always clicking pictures? Before you know it, the moment will be gone.” My mum being my mum would say “Oh, shut up! Do you want pictures or not?” to which my narcissist self would reply “Yeah, Cool!”. I always knew it annoyed her and I didn’t really understand why.
All of this changed when I started spending my time on the other side of the lens; when I stopped being the subject in the frame and started being the one who composed the frame. Now I know the annoyance that eluded me back then. Now I know the disgust my mum would feel in her heart when we would say “Live the moment”. What most people fail to understand is this. The photographer is living the moment while he is composing the frame, while he is deciding what his ISO and shutter speed should be, while he is hitting the trigger and while the camera is flashing the captured picture onto the memory card. The photographer is living the moment as he immortalises it.
Photography doesn’t let you live the moment. That’s because it lets you do much more than be a mere spectator to the moment. With a camera in your hand, you are wielding a tool of fabled power. You are holding, in your hands, a weapon capable of stopping time. Sure, you could argue saying that you can always capture moments in your mind and relive them for eternity. But ask yourself this. Each time you recall and relive a moment, doesn’t it lose something? It isn’t the exact same thing you’re recalling each time, right? If there was one conservatory in the universe that housed all shards of time – a camera is your tool for stealing and replicating these shards without tarnishing them.
A camera is much more than a bunch of circuits and glass pieces secured in plastic and metal; much more than a collection of buttons and rings. It is a gateway to the past.
-Written by Tushar Machavolu.
-Photographs by Anmol Rathi, Samar Dikshit, and Tushar Machavolu.