Eternally Sixteen

“Sell your skill, not your convictions. Make your money but live for the art.”__K Madhavan Pillai

“Sell your skill, not your convictions. Make your money but live for the art.”—K Madhavan Pillai

We bring in this sixteenth anniversary special issue with so many mixed feelings. Joy for turning sixteen, pride for being the best photography magazine in India, and sorrow for the passing of yet another legendary photographer, Jagdish Mali, who was very dear to BP and to me personally. There is some solace in knowing that Jagdish lived a life full of passion and zeal. Those who knew him will remember him as being wonderfully friendly, approachable, open minded, ever giving and forever young at heart. When we had contacted him some time ago, for being a judge for POY 2012, and for being a part of this issue, he had politely declined, citing commitments beyond his control.

At the moment, I cannot help feeling a twinge of selfish regret that I had not interacted with Jagdish more. I keep thinking of a piece of advice that he had given me a long time ago, which I took to heart. “Never lose yourself to being a commercial photographer,” he had said. “Sell your skill, not your convictions. Make your money but live for the art. Otherwise, it will suck up your soul and leave you empty. There is no existence worse than being a hollowed out photographer with nothing inside.”

Somehow, despite his passing, I also cannot help but think his quintessential youth sprung from his being a photographer, a characteristic that all photographers seem to share. In that sense, I have never met an old photographer. I am writing this editorial from the Rift Valley in Kenya, where the BP team, along with the category winners of POY 2012, are in the middle of a superb, adventurous face-off, travelling to Africa’s deepest gorge and to a pristine lake island little known to tourists. The contestants come from all backgrounds and ages, and from all over India. And yet, they are all wonderfully young in spirit and at heart. The common thread that binds them is photography. Photography is beautiful because it always keeps you learning and yearning to see something new, makes you fall in love over and over… keeps you eternally sixteen.

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Editor, Editorial, Kenya, Better Photography magazine, Jagdish Mali, June 2013, sixteenth anniversary special issue, best photography magazine in India, legendary photographer, poy 2012, rift valley