Amit Mehra: Listening to the Silent Notes of Life
Photographers often love drama. Be it exaggerated expressions, characters frozen in animated action or a moment that is truly momentous, such images are the obvious suspects, ones that immediately attract attention. In recent years though, I have found myself gradually moving away from such imagery. There is a certain magic in the absence of drama. It could be something seemingly trivial that triggers a memory and creates a sense of nostalgia. A curtain that slowly, gracefully moves to signal the first gust of wind that the monsoon brings… these images, for me, are the silent notes of life, playing out, one moment at a time.
It is a way of seeing and a way of being, not dictated by my gear, but yes, the constraints of a cameraphone help, as it demands a more intimate approach. Of course, the whole idea that everything around you is a potential photograph is also a dangerous generalisation, especially in the cellphone age, with everyone obsessively documenting every little thing around. How do you know whether you are shooting a mundane snapshot or actually seeing the mundane in a new light? There is no shortcut, no simple answer, just the fact that you have to have an open mind, an alert eye and a sensitivity towards the smaller nuances of life.
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 with different 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’.Tags: Amit Mehra, Cellphone Diaries, cellphone photography, July 2014