Amit Mehra: What Happens When Two Single Images Meet Each Other?
Photography as a medium has always been about the single image. With a cameraphone, I think this is emphasised a little more. The cellphone, in today’s day and age, is a constant companion, wherever we go and whatever we may be doing. And there’s a picture lurking everywhere. After the picture is made, we move on to the next moment. And then, the next. The beauty, of course, is that every moment is unique, standing by itself.
But what happens when these moments begin to interact with each other? Over the past few months, while I have been photographing my cellphone musings, I have come across threads that seem to intermingle, events that seem to connect, photographs that seem to strike a conversation. So what really happens when one single image meets another? I think it is extremely relevant that we take stock of our work from time to time, to see how our visual language is talking to itself. The editing process, for me, is one of the most rewarding aspects about photography. I have always tried to subconsciously remember what I have shot before, and whether the new moment that is in front of me, connects with the older visual or not.
The two photos above, for instance… on their own, they are both reflections, with multiple elements that are layered over each other. Graphically and contextually, I feel that the images, when placed beside each other, make an interesting diptych. The position in which my daughter is sitting, and the way it mirrors the pose of the doll, seems to reflect their companionship. Personally, I always look towards cinema when I am trying to make an edit of my work. The idea is to convey the overall story, frame by frame. Does one scene add to the other?
Cellphone photography, or all of photography, may be in the moment, but there is no harm in pausing a few moments to look back and analyse your own vision. There are several ways in which you can edit your work, several ways in which you can create pairs, triads or a sequential series. The flow of images may be chronological, contextual, graphical or even metaphorical. There is no one rule. Every photographer needs to find his own way. Editing one’s photos is not easy, especially in the beginning. It’s a never ending quest, after all.
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, august 2014, Cellphone Diaries, cellphone photography