Photography That Begins at Home


“When we look at a picture cherished by someone, we are peering into that person’s memories and mind.”

The article was originally published in January 2012.

What is your most precious memory? It is only when you are forced to think about it that you begin classifying and slotting them. In all probability, your favourite memories will revolve around your home, family and friends, and not of landscapes or monuments, however beautiful they may be.

Photography is a snapshot. It is a record that frames a space within the limits of a small interval of time. It is a moment plucked out of our collection of memories. It can be a perfect rendition of how things were. And yet, a single exposure can also be a construction of how we think things ought to be. When we look at a picture cherished by someone, we are peering into that person’s memories and mind.

Perhaps this is why an old family album can be fascinating, even if it does not belong to us. It can offer us a window into a different place, time and person. We may never know the name of the individual who owned the album, but we will be looking at his or her most treasured memories. Since photographs of family and friends are so important to all of us, wouldn’t our homes be the best place to begin photography? Of course, it need not always be our own home. It could be that of a colleague from our workplace, or a relative. Chances are that the pictures we make will endure within their family albums long after the fascination for our other carefully composed pictures fade away.

On the occasion of Better Photography’s 14th anniversary, we began by penning down our favourite photographic memories, which are published along with our team photograph a few pages ahead. We hope you enjoy reading the anniversary issue. Please do write to me and let me know what you think of it.

— K Madhavan Pillai
Better Photography

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, mind, memories, family albums, anniversary, relatives, remembering, team, window, time, place, person