Did you miss the Travel tale on Thursday yesterday? On 13th we were discussing travel tips that went wrong for me, and to my relief I am not alone. This Thursday (oh well, Friday!) brings to us a guest blogger who has graciously decided to do one of her many brilliant travel posts for my blog. Divya Rai of A borrowed backpack is a traveler with a love of writing and photography. Also, of what I know her, she is a designer, an enthusiast, she is always trying out new things, experimenting, following her dreams and is pretty much good at what she does. Her blog has been featured in Hindustan times Blog of the week.
So now, without wasting much of your time, I pass on to Divya who shares with us, her thoughts on camera vs naked eye.
Camera, as we know, is a fabulous device that captures the moment beautifully, freezing the foot-prints of time for us. The joy it brings to the photographer and the subject, cannot be questioned. Or the smile it brings on to our face when we look back at those pictures re-living the moment, cannot be ignored. But the question is: how will you ever re-live when you haven’t lived it in the first place? If you can’t relive the moment looking at an image, isn’t it just a digital certification of the moment?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to undermine technology here. Or the happiness one experiences while clicking oneself, and their loved ones. Or, for the matter, the basic instinct of desiring acceptance from one’s peers and the society. What, in fact I really wish to pin-point is our addiction to it. Essentially, the point from where one should draw the line between whether to let the moment flow, or freeze it.
Ever noticed how you feel a “sense of deprivation” when the smart phone refuses to upload your perfectly clicked selfie, along with a ‘check-in’ that could have guaranteed a respectable number of ‘likes and comments’ on your favorite social media? Make a very careful note of that feeling. It is a resultant of unhealthy mix of social and competitive edge to a skill called photography. It makes it all the more of an intruder in the emotional pattern of the occasion.
What happened to the old school way of living an experience? Of cherishing it with five senses, instead of trying to click the perfect photograph? When did we, on the way, gain the baggage of capturing the happiness instead of living it, thereby giving way to a complicated digital dilemma? In short, when did the camera become more important than the human eye and the experience it brings in return?
When I say ‘experience a moment’ what I really mean is the subtle intangibles of the occasion. An event is a series of moments that are woven with great intricacy. In between the consecutive moments, are the crevasses that a photographer forever struggles to minimize. And during this struggle, is the moment lost to a mix of the digital advancement and human behavioral-peculiarity. How will the camera capture the languid tranquility of the breeze in a small town? Or the silent promises that the eyes make? Or the moment you fall in love? For me, life is in these moments that the camera’s sensor cannot capture, rest everything is a stain on the fabric of time. Trust me on that.
When was the last time you got over your ‘itch’ to freeze a juncture in time, instead of simply experiencing it?
Ok. To get a better grip on the matter, let us do this little exercise:
Take out your favourite photograph. Try and describe the moment in a way that I get to live it through your words, WITHOUT any help of the photograph. Tell me if you are able to convey the intangibles. If you are, then I must congratulate you for experiencing the moment too. Other than that, as I say, it is just a digital certification of the moment.
I’ll state a real life example here. I know a fair number of people who went to experience the ‘Holi’ celebration at Vrindavan, in Uttar Pradesh recently. I too was one of the lucky souls who could attend both the events. What was highly blasphemous to the event was the aggression with which photographers were running around here and there, chasing the mirage called the ‘perfect shot’. I doubt if they could lose themselves to the jubilant festivity around them. I am sure they managed to click gorgeous images and love flipping though the album, but can they still smell the ‘gulaal’ in the air?
It is all about that.
Being able to smell the ‘gulaal’, long after it is all gone J.