How Do I Begin?
I have spent the past half an hour, staring at the screen, transfixed. I am supposed to be writing, writing to you. But thoughts are flying by and I don’t know whether I should reach out and catch them. My deadline is about to elapse, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to transcribe the flurry of voices in my head. It is the most frightening, daunting and exciting sight one can see. A blank page of simmering thoughts.
Every once in a while, there comes a time when you make a picture, but it means nothing. Your ideas are boring, your style inspired, your technique is dodgy and all the confidence that was built over the years seems to be vanishing. You feel empty. It is an unnerving thought, brutal maybe, but this is the time that you close your eyes, pause and then, open them again. At the age of 22, Jim Morrison threw away all the notebooks of poetry that he’d ever written, apart from one. It was his way of starting from scratch. By throwing away the works he’d written in his formative years, he was letting go of all his inspirations, pushing them into a subconscious. It was the only way he could find himself.
It’s good to be empty. The first step towards anything is always fulfilling. It’s uneasy, fearful, tentative, but also eager, hopeful, momentous. It’s like that first conversation that leads to several, that first cup of chai that each morning brings, that first photograph of the girl you may be in love with. You don’t know where life will go, but you take the first step, nevertheless. Come to think of it, it’s like me finally putting these thoughts on the page, like the first scribble in a personal diary.
From this month onwards, Amit Mehra will allow us to leaf through the pages of his cellphone diary, his roznaama, his daily musings. A visual diary, after all, is the most frightening, daunting and exciting feeling one can feel. A blank mindscape of yet-to-be-made images.
This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Better Photography.
Raj Lalwani is the Features Editor of Better Photography and the Editor of Better Cellphone Photography. According to him, inspiration lies in the fantastic, the ordinary and in love.
Tags: Raj Lalwani, Dinesh Khanna, cellphone photography, Amit Mehra, Better Cellphone Photography, Edit note, Cellphone Diaries