Making New Experiences For Yourself


I have always been terrified of the consequences of pointing the camera at someone and finding disapproval. I had unknowingly turned myself into a distant bystander and was content being one, that is, until I met the alluring beach horses at Dadar Chowpatty.

I found them tied up against a brick wall, standing like silent sentinels of the beach they called home. As I approached one of them, I distinctly remember being at ease. Unlike the hastiness that is sometimes associated with street photography, here, I did not feel rushed and took my time to observe and shoot. But more importantly, there was a feeling of acceptance and belonging, one that I longed to see in the eyes of the people I photographed. I felt like I had finally found something to love and make pictures of.

Ever since then, with every visit to the beach, I was slowly letting go of whatever inhibitions I had before, and was gradually becoming surer of the kind of pictures I wanted to make. And that’s when it hit me, that it isn’t exactly about being brave or fearless when you’re out and about, photographing on the street. This certainly counts, but not as much as knowing when to photograph and when not to. Now, I was making an effort to go physically closer to the subject and have unearthed new ways of seeing I never knew I was capable of.

What I am trying to tell you, dear reader, is the importance of making new experiences, especially by placing yourself in unique or challenging environments. These encounters will give rise to valuable lessons that no book or school will teach you. And when the realisation hits you, embrace it completely and don’t rush the feeling. Be patient and let it seep into your system, and little by little, you will notice improvements in the way you make pictures. Currently, I am somewhere in the middle, learning whatever comes my way, and relishing every bit of it.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Better Photography.