Dinesh Khanna: On Pet Projects and Seriousness in Photography
This article was originally published in April 2016.
Photography, for me, is as much about work as play, as much about pursuing serious projects as having fun. When I wrote last time that Kissa Kursi Ka, my series on the lust for power in Indian polity is one of my ‘pet’ projects, I was playing a bit of a pun. Heera and Moti, my two furry family members, often see my cameraphone, and as time has gone by, even pose for it, sometimes. Though it would seem that Heera stays still most of the time as a good self-respecting labrador should, Moti is the minor storm and active enough for us to doubt his pedigree at times.
“What matters is knowing what work is serious and what’s for personal fun and indulgence. In fact, I wouldn’t even use the word ‘indulgence’… it has a negative connotation.”
I can photograph them with a DSLR, but even as a practising photographer, my camera is rarely with me when I am at home. Especially with pets, they would much rather see our face than it being hidden behind a bulky camera. I want to stress on how the use of a regular camera, however small it may be, is a deliberate and planned decision, almost like a ceremony of making a picture. That is fantastic, but then, one doesn’t need to be ‘serious’ about photography all the time. Its as much a craft for fun and sharing as it is a medium for changing the world. Even for a singer, certain notes may be sung as riyaaz, but there would be times when all one would want to do, is hum. As long as we have the inherent respect for what we do. And then, a cellphone has become such a vital part of our social existence (even without considering the photography bit) that it is an extension of ourselves, of what we see and want to remember.
About Dinesh Khanna
Dinesh Khanna’s career path veered from being a calculator salesman, a garment quality checker, a busboy in a New York bar and a client servicing executive, after which, he finally gave in to his desire to make images. He cofounded the Delhi Photo Festival and regularly conducts ‘addas’ in Delhi to encourage discussions on the medium.