“Sam, I want you to take this camera. It is your responsibility to take care of it and make sure you click as many pictures as you can.”
I was scared as my friend, Jamal gave me his camera. It was expensive, it was DIGITAL! I had never held a digital camera in my life before this. Most importantly, I had to click images of the wedding ceremony of someone who happened to be his sister (I consider her as my sister, too. We call her ‘D’). I could easily miss an important moment. The infamy for being absent-minded and the habit of getting lost in my own world was not at all helpful. What if I screwed something up? What if somebody got offended when I clicked him/her? I had no time to think. I got even more nervous when I could hardly figure how to turn the camera on. Jamal gave me a brief tutorial about the various functions in the camera, continuously reminding after every sentence that I must keep it on ‘Auto’ mode at all times.
Me: I need practice, not your 5 minute tutorial!
Jamal: You can do it. Just remember the basics, and…
Me: … And always keep the dial on Auto, I know it. Be with me for some time please, at least let me know how I click.
Jamal: Would you like to do some videography? I have a video camera, too.
Jamal won. I was intimidated. And like I was told, I went around clicking faces and moments, taking great care about the mode I had kept the camera on. By the time all the ceremonies were over:
1. I had clicked a total of 578 photos:
Yes, I remember how many pictures I had captured. Of course, some images were overexposed, some underexposed, some were blurred, some were plain unflattering. But that is the point of clicking so many photos – with each click, I learned something new. There are few things as fascinating as a bride’s smile, and I was not only in the best position to watch her smile, I was gleefully capturing it, as well.
2. Everyone knew me:
The good thing about Indian weddings is that people love getting their photos clicked. The camera was a fantastic medium for introducing me to new people. And the best part about meeting them was that I had seen everyone smile (people seldom make bad faces at something as fine as a camera).
3. I turned into a better photographer:
Contrary to what I had thought before the “assignment”, photography was not just about “taking photos.” I was capturing memories – memories people, myself included, would cherish for a long time. I was capturing expressions – the happiness, the celebratory mood that I got a chance to be a part of. But most importantly, I began to view the world differently. Getting behind the camera changed me forever, and I enjoyed it!
I am thankful to Jamal for introducing me to his friend, the camera. It is my friend too, now. It gets along well with me, and continues to teach me something new each time I interact with it. I literally view God’s wonderful creations with its eyes and marvel at them. I have more knowledge about the visual aspects of nature, the intricacies of small things, and the beauty of the grand design. As I walk in the bylanes of South Bombay, I feel empty streets speaking to me. I love photography because it gives me courage to say the things in my heart that I probably wouldn’t otherwise say out loud.
I capture. I express. I learn.
“A Long Wait”
“Repentance for Majesty”
“Her Love For The Wind…”
“A Little Quarrel”
“Walking with The Mist”