If You Can Appreciate, You Can Create

“It gives impetus to record the moment as it exists.”—K Madhavan Pillai

“It gives impetus to record the moment as it exists.”—K Madhavan Pillai

Photography is all about freezing moments in time or framing portions of space because they are meaningful to us in some way. Going by this description, releasing the shutter is an act of documentation. One may wish to distinguish between the reasons for documenting based on some immediate or long term need. For instance, you could shoot pictures to chronicle an event. Or it could be to establish relationships, to differentiate, to prove a point, to justify, to testify, to report, or to authenticate.

To me, the motive to capture images as a means of preserving for remembrance, or for posterity, is the most straightforward and guileless of all reasons. This makes it honest and, therefore, the most significant. If we remove all other intellectual rationale for taking a picture, we realise that we shoot to hold on to a moment for a while—to keep the memory of it alive—simply because we enjoy something within that moment.
This sense of enjoyment comes from our ability to appreciate and then, to cherish. Our capacity to be deeply appreciative on an emotional level is what differentiates us from other species. It allows us to choose the moments and spaces we wish to remember. It gives impetus to record the moment as it exists. In fact, most of us begin photography for this very reason.

As time passes, we intellectualise the act, to give it deeper connotations. We try and learn the rules and attempt to master the tools, so that we may seize the opportunities that come our way. We focus all our energies on singular themes, and occasionally end up narrowing our own perspectives instead.

Creation is born from appreciation, but it can be process intensive. After all, we would not know what step comes next unless we know where to go. And we find ourselves enjoying the journey as much as the destination. Yet, it comes as a surprise when some of our most appealing photographs are the ones that we shot just for the pure joy of it… without consciously adhering to rules and guidelines, and without thinking too much.

This article was originally published in May 2012.