A Year For Our Own Leaps of Faith

 
“The last year has been that of space odysseys of a different sort, and photographs from millions upon millions of kilometres away.”–K Madhavan Pillai

K Madhavan Pillai

It is already 2015. How quickly time flies! Not so long ago, twenty fifteen was the stuff of distant future and science fiction. Arthur C Clarke had written ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in 1968, and Stanley Kubrick passed away in 1999 (apart from being a filmmaker who produced some of the most visually compelling cinema, he was also a published photographer). The first commercially produced ‘Digital SLR’ was released by Kodak all the way back in 1991, using a Nikon F3 body. If all this seems to be a long time ago, the first 1GB CF 16x card, made by Lexar, became available in 2003 (it cost about Rs. 76,000, by today’s value). Apple launched its first iPhone in 2007.

The original 5MP GoPro HD Hero was unveiled in 2010. Nikon announced the D800 in 2012, and its upgrade, the D810 in 2014, challenged their best optics. Now we can barely remember a time when cellphones had number-pads and no cameras in them. The last year has been that of space odysseys of a different sort, and photographs from millions upon millions of kilometers away. Mangalyaan made us proud when it sent its first photos of Mars. Rosetta lifted our spirits into the sky when she successfully landed on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and sent back a panoramic view (published in the last page of our December issue). If it was a year of humanity’s greatest leaps of faith, the last month also showed us how singularly cruel, depraved, faithless, ugly and inhuman some factions of our species could be. Children, 141 of the 148 who were massacred in a school in Pakistan, for no other reason than that they were… children!

The incident is so shameful, that words and pictures fail woefully to describe the horror of it. The hearts of the BP Team go out to the parents and the survivors. The significant lives of others can offer a glimmer of hope. Sebastião Salgado, one of the world’s most legendary social documentary and environmental photographers (featured in this issue’s ‘Great Masters’), had started planting trees over a decade ago, in his deforested homeland in Brazil. Since then, he has planted over two million trees, and recorded a barren piece of denuded earth come back to life as a beautiful, resplendent rainforest. Perhaps, 2015 is a year to take a page out of his book… to return some of what we have so easily consumed, and to make the planet a better place for our children.

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Edit note, January 2015