Amit Mehra: It’s All About the Photograph
Two issues ago, I’d written about the gradual fading away of street photography and my personal dream of a resurgence of the genre. There are probably a lot of factors at play over here, but one that I feel a little strongly about, is the overt intellectualisation of photography that sometimes seems to happen today. We feel the need to describe an image, to analyse its motivation, context, subtext and philosophy. All of this may have its place in certain kinds of work, but all pontification falls flat, if the photograph itself does not work. All the thinking in the world does not compensate for the inability to notice. Photography is a visual medium. When one views images, one must enjoy reading the image, visually, and not just discussing the academic aspects.
So, when I try to analyse how I made this photograph in Goa, it probably defeats the purpose. I waited, I saw, I shot. The street and documentary stalwart, Alex Webb, probably defined one’s approach best when he said, “I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heat of the known awaits just around the corner.”
Constantly trying to walk on a tightrope between commercial and documentary photography, Amit describes himself saying, “I’m like an octopus who likes to deal withdifferent things at the same time. You can call me a schizophrenic photographer.” The moments in this monthly diary are excerpts from his ongoing work titled ‘Roznaama’.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Better Photography.Tags: Amit Mehra, Cellphone Diaries, cellphone photography, february 2015