What I Know for Sure


For the last year and a half, I have penned down my thoughts on this page… thoughts that I did not think I was capable of formulating. In a way, writing these monthly edit notes have helped me address questions and problems that I’ve had with the medium. It has also helped me look at my own photographic practices, and examine why I do things in a certain way. A lot has changed since June 2016. I’ve decided to look back and see how far along I’ve come, or for that matter, if I’ve taken a step back.

My journey began at Dadar Chowpatty, right next to the beach horses. I was absolutely captivated by them. Unlike people, they didn’t disapprove of me making pictures of them. In a way, this slowly released me from my inhibitions, and prepared me for what was to come later. As I continued to shoot horses, I was also gradually shifting my attention towards the inanimate—discarded and abandoned objects. Looking back, I think I was always meant to discover and photograph these castaways. I wanted my pictures to give them a renewed identity… another dimension to exist in, before they completely disappeared. I felt that I finally came around to discovering my style, and that I was never meant to photograph people. I’ve also become a lot surer about the images I want to make, and to leave enough of room for moments and pictures, as and when they wish to reveal themselves to me.

I’ve realised too that I am the most comfortable when I am out shooting with a companion. The few times that I have ventured out on my own have been extremely nerve-wracking. I have rarely returned from these excursions with good pictures. But is this a bad thing? And if it is, then how should I change it? Is it time for me to move away from my comfort zone… something that I continue to urge you, dear reader, to implement in your own photographic practices?

What I am certainly sure about is changing the frequency with which I ‘see’. I believe that moments are like birds, waiting for the right time to unfurl its wings and take off. Moments are also fleeting, and are ready to happen anywhere. In that sense, there is no correct time or place to make a picture. The question is, how bad do you want it? I see so many things happen around, but I don’t photograph, even when I have my cameraphone in my palm. I just move on, consoling myself that something similar or better will take place. But that’s a lie. I need to get rid of these compartments that I’ve created in my head, where I’ve been consciously allotting time for photography. What I’d like for it to be is an instinctive reaction to the environment, like when I go out with the specific intent of making pictures.

I hope my words have provided some momentum for those of you reading this to consider looking at your own photographic practices. Maybe you could start by penning down your thoughts, as I have. Words, I assure you, will bring in much needed clarity. So what do you plan to do differently this year? I’d like to know.

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Better Photography.