Honesty and Improbable Possibilities
This story was originally published in May 2012.
After interacting with many successful, legendary photographers over the years, I found myself confronted with one of two strangely opposing, equally intimidating traits—humility and narcissism. Success, in this case, is not commercial prosperity, but the creation of a unique, consummate, appreciable body of work. I realised later that these mannerisms come from a sense of absolute honesty that these photographers have with themselves.
There are so many other behavioral or human factors that lead to success. For instance, the role of analyses, planning and logic in composing a frame is important. So is the will, resilience and perseverance to get the photograph, despite the odds. And none of these would manifest unless there is a fascination or passion for the subject. Yet, all of these arise from being true to an inner, deeply moving urge to self-actualise. It makes the greatest of masters who they are. It gives them the power to create.
Truth, I think, comes from our perception of what is real. We define our reality based on our abilities to distinguish between what is possible, probable and impossible. If you think about it, it is indeed ironical that our reality is cemented in the impossible, rather than the possible, or even the probable.
For most of us, the acceptance of new truths is not easy because we jealously guard our ideas of what is real. For the remaining few, truth and reality can exist within the moment, and can change with thought and perception. Both types of people are very important for each other. The first category forms a great audience whose notions can be challenged to elicit a strong intellectual and emotional response. Those who fall into the second category are most likely to make great, albeit occasionally self-involved, photographers, who have the ability to show the others a different reality.
So, when we see a photograph that makes us go… “this is wonderful,” or “this is terrible,” it is because we are shocked that, however improbable, it is also possible.Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Editor, better photography, firstname.lastname@example.org, nov 2010, making honest photographs, the possibility of photography, self-obsessed photographers, perception in photography, legendary photographers, what is success in photography?