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Friday, August 3, 2012

Oh.... Photography is your hobby?

.... ‘sirf jaanwaron aur phool patton ki photos lete ho ya hamari bhi loge?’ Add a wickedly curious expression with eyebrows raised, more towards one side and you get a complete picture of how ‘people’ near us bechare photography lovers generally act, with no consideration whatsoever. Yes, the concept of ‘photography’ has grown too wide with all those dazzling and amazing digital cameras with so many equally amazing in-built features, and with astounding new software to edit pictures, so that now there are thousands of enthusiasts calling themselves ‘photographers’. I also know and believe that the dear old SLRs your dad still has are the real gems of wonder, simple and beautiful. Besides, ‘real’ photography is learned when you see how shutter and aperture, the two prime mechanics in any camera, work, and you know how to control them and you use them while taking pictures instead of using your favourite ‘Auto’ mode. I’m not criticizing the Auto mode users, which is most of what most basic digital cameras have, but those who only ever seem to click pictures in Automatic, then do Autocorrect on their laptops or the slightly intelligent ones might actually adjust the Brightness and Contrast and Hue (or use those color modes or whatever) and put up those pictures as ‘photography’ done by them.
My camera's lens! :D

Puhleez! Maana you have great devices for your use, but you cannot compare it with what the ‘real’ old photographers do (read use SLRs or DSLRs for that matter, but in Manual mode because they actually know that it’s really possible to be creative while clicking itself! If any of those great people are reading this, they’d know I mean it’s possible to click pictures the likes of which you get after editing. Or even better). I sometimes always feel great when I think about how I learned this beautiful art. I’m even thankful I didn’t own a digital camera back then! Because, I got to learn from a real SLR and a DSLR, understanding the basic mechanics in depth and when I had to practice, all I had was my dad’s three SLRs saved from his young days when photography was his hobby. (I’ve a lot of hereditary characteristics ;))

So, I had about 34 chances because that’s all you’ve got in a roll/film and guess how it helped? I used the manual settings very carefully because once spoiled, you’ve wasted a picture! It’s not like you can delete it and move on. It’s heartbreaking! And I’ll tell you what was heartbreaking. I took all sorts of pictures over a week, all kinds of creative stuff I could think of and gave it for developing. Only 13 pictures turned out, of which just 5 were clear (one of the best one is in a frame on my study table. Proof of hard work, you see). Turned out that there was some problem with the camera since it hadn’t been used for a while (we had started using a Sony Handycam, because of which the poor SLR was neglected). I cried then, seeing all my hopes and possible pictures ruined. But I did learn to respect SLRs. They give you limited chances and because of that, you learn better. :) (Just by the way, I got a semi-DLSR a year after I started learning photography and I use it now. Yeah, with the manual mode).

(Adding a picture I clicked, yes, in manual, using the settings in the camera, so it's not edited with any software)

Coming to what was supposed to be the main point of this whole post (I know I deviated again, sorry, got too emotional ;)), is the way ‘people’ perceive us (the real ones and umm, those who have the delusion of being a ‘photgrapher’ as well. Let’s just be kind enough to consider them too).

Instance # 1: Aim: To photograph the beautiful, red hibiscus flowers in the park. And oh, don’t miss those swift spiderhunters who’d look awesome in your picture!

Eyes squinted, I look through the viewfinder (I prefer using that over the screen. Otherwise you don’t get that photographer ‘feel’ ;)), press my feet against the boundary wall, take in a breath and pause, the right index finger half-pressing the ‘click’ button, waiting for that nanosecond when the bird will pause. Just as it does and my finger presses onto the button waiting for that awesome click, I hear a shuffle of feet and startled, I miss my shot. I look around to see two women looking uncomfortable, but determined, watch me. ‘We saw you moving all over the park with your camera (which is big, by the way. Not very big like DSLRs, but almost, anyway). 'Are you a reporter or something?’ asks the plump one, throwing a glance towards her partner, who nods enthusiastically.
This is how I might look to them,
except that I'd be squinting through
that viewfinder.

Depressed by the thought that I’m that unknown in my own locality, I sigh and say, no. I live here and I’m just photographing ‘Nature’. They give a confused expression. ‘Is this for a school project?’ the other one asks. First, I’m kind of happy at the word ‘school’, because that means I look like a school kid to her! Second, I’m confused. No, I say, it’s because I like it, it’s a hobby. *flashing a smile* Oh, they say, looking at me as if I’m some poor thing with such a weird hobby, which by the way, it is not. Weird, I mean. It’s awesome!

Instance # 2: Aim: Putting up some of the great good pictures on Facebook, because duh! I’m proud of them and I want to show-off let others see them too.

Friends see the pictures, ‘Like’ them, comment with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ (which I like, very very much ;)) and then ask later when we meet, if I can click their pictures too. I’ve never ever tried clicking portraits. It involves talking with people which I don’t like and asking them to give weird poses, which I don’t like either. Okay, it’s not really weird poses. They are normal, and good. But since I never even tried, I say maybe I can, I’ve never done portraits before. A couple of friends finally got me to click their pictures and they were quite happy (I was too). They could have been better with editing, but I didn’t edit on PC. I somehow feel it makes it fake :| Don’t know why, though yes, I do know it’s sometimes needed and desirable too. (I do a bit of that now, though).

This is one of my aunts!
The friends' photo-shoot!

Anyway, we were clicking them in the same park previously mentioned, which attracted the attention of a few fitness-seeking aunties too, who gave us curious stares looks, though thankfully, didn’t say anything. Except that I had a few naughty kids come up behind me and try to peep into the camera to see what I was clicking. Or how. As soon as I turned to them, they flew, literally. (Do I seriously look that dangerous? I meant to ask them if they wanted their picture clicked). But that’s where the difference between the middle class and the poor comes. There was a house being constructed and a couple of labourer ladies who were resting, sat watching us. I knew them. I had passed them maybe a hundred times over the past few months, sometimes giving a sweet or two to the little girl with them who loves to play. They love the camera, which is a wonder for them. They politely asked if I could click a picture of them and when I did and showed it, one said, ‘arre! Dekho, aa bhi gaya itni jaldi! Bahut acha hai’ all smiling, a little bit shy. The other one always asks for a picture of the little girl, which I readily take, since she’s just adorable. (I wanted to give them a couple of prints, but they left before I even knew! :|)

Instance # 3: Aim: Actually, nothing! It’s just something I heard being said.

A neighbourhood lady comes to my Mom, and while chatting (for about 2 minutes, my Mom isn’t much of a talker either), tells her about a ‘professional’ photographer with a ‘real’ DSLR camera who’ll be coming to her place to click some family pictures- for free (since he’s her husband’s friend). She asks if Mom’s interested and if she wants my pictures too. Mom says a mild yes, maybe torn between the possibility that someone might just be able to click a picture of her that she finally likes (according to her, it’s just my dad who’s capable of clicking good pictures of people. We’re just idiots), and that maybe I would like to have a picture clicked too. Yes, I do have fascinating dreams of having my wonderful looking life-size portraits at home, but umm.. I’m too shy for it now. Anyway, Mom asks about the charges and she says, ‘Ohh.. he won’t charge! Wo bada wella hai.. raste me chalte chalte jaanwaron ki photos leta rehta hai. Uski hobby hai na.’

Bass... This is what prompted me to write whatever I’ve written. This is how people see us? Guys! We like clicking pictures, it’s an art. And if someone is being bold enough to go around clicking pictures for their pleasure, I salute them! Best wishes to you, sir! :D

PS- Theandric Thursday is on a short hiatus and I'll revive it when I have more time. :) Can't say anything for sure.. I might just surprise myself by writing it soon! :P


  1. OMG..... you are so multi talented Ashna :)

    This is post is sooo sooo sooo full of enthusiasm that it seems to rub in. I agree to you - when I say I enjoy writing this is a kind of similar response I get. is a god hobby to keep oneself busy in spare time..I mean I love writing and for me it is not just a time pass.

    Phew...wish people understood what a hobby, aspiration and passion is all about!

    BTW lovely pics dear...way to go young lady!!

    1. And forgot to mention, M waiting for your Theandric Thursdays ;)

    2. Yeah, that last 'wella' comment was what prompted this! How can people be so clueless? I can also identify with that writing thing. I actually refrain from saying it- the women these days? They'll give you their kids' assignments! :P

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I'm waiting to write TT posts as well... hope to get in that 'mood' soon ;)

  2. It was wonderful reading this post and for once I actually got the viewpoints of an actual photographer(al-right hobbyist photographer :P) expressed in writing. :)
    I have seen some of your photos on facebook and they are amazing. I do have equal respect for photographers as I have for painters, because both are the art forms of expressing emotions and beauty. And it really takes time to master these arts, that I know. And then, you are your dads daughter, so it also comes naturally. ;)

    Enjoyed reading all three instances. Keep clicking. :D

    1. Your comment made it worthwhile ;) I've never observed paintings carefully, though yes, I do respect them... and all art forms. It's creativity plus imagination, which is something I just adore <3 What I don't get is when people think of them as 'useless'.

      Thanks for all the lovely words! :D I haven't clicked pictures for the past few months! Can you believe that? :| I guess I'd better get going! :)

    2. this i wannabe a photographer trend started after Wake up sid and 3 idiots. isnt it?? liked ur post ..... though i dont indulge much into the area ... lot of my frds have these exorbitant DSLRs u were talkin about

    3. Hi Mithil, thanks for your comment. :)
      I think it started because of the digital revolution, when cameras became a necessity and with all these editing software. Though I do believe that because of these, more people are getting into photography, which is good! I just don't consider those who just use automatic and edit a lot. It puts me off, somehow.

  3. Oh, I never knew some people had such a temperament towards photographers! Strange..
    I can understand what you feel. And trust me, with this post of yours, I too feel like taking photography seriously! ( btw, its partly because of your writing skills, which are improving like anything; so gripping!!!!)
    It must be so amazing to just randomly move around and capture seemingly ordinary things, turning them into something completely different :) (Obviously, I’m going to bug you to give me some tips on how to start :) )
    Don’t worry, I I think you accidently met all the wrong people around. I am sure there are a lot of people who appreciate photography. I do.. :)
    Keep it up.. I love your pictures :)

    1. Aww.. how did I miss this beautiful comment! Thanks so much Saloni and it would be awesome if you try photography too! It's an amazing experience. :)

      Yes, I'm glad I know many people who appreciate photography too! Thanks! :D


I would like to hear what you have to say.. :)


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