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Beauty wholly lies outside of a lens

I am surprised at myself - at my surprises and the lack of its reflections.
Its been 2 days since I came from Finland, my first visit to Europe. While going through my photographs and videos of the trip, I was surprised by the total absence of pictures of life in Europe.
Finland surprised me with the beauty of its people. It was in their upright walk, their immaculate dresses, their ever present smile, the amazingly helpful nature and sheer handsomeness. It was in the many lakes, the crisp air and the one might-be-aurora miracle of nature on the norther horizon. It was in the beautiful architecture of its old (new by Parisian standards thought) buildings, its nordic walking/ biking citizenry and so many more things.
And it is exactly these very things that I have not photographed at all. Well, yes, I am not very comfortable taking pictures of unknown people - I feel it is amoral to take pictures of others without their knowing, and even if they know, publishing it online without their acknowledgement, and even with acknowledgement in a space where I can't control who sees it. So yes, generally I do tend to avoid taking picture of people altogether.
And then again there are those fleeting moments which pass away before the conscience of the camera in hand can even make itself heard. These are the same sublime moments which movies turn into slow motion scenes and we, in our media tutored minds, try to recreate the moment in slowness later on.
Also I was constantly active for the 10 days I was there, so there was no time to spend on thinking of framing things to reflect the life of a people. And that's a good thing. I do not have definitive pictures, but I do have a definitive memory that will perhaps slowly grow into a personal myth. I am sure, it will be a beautiful myth.
I have recounted my Leh experience in Hemisshukpachang so many times to my friends, and yet I know there is no way that a experience can truly be translated and communicated to others - through stories, pictures, actions.. whatever. The image we create is always something new, something else. It might be grander or less ambitious, funnier or barely so, and the worst, amazing in a whole different way... Retelling of an experience and reception of it, always alters the memory of it altogether.
Perhaps its for best that I did not take all these pictures. Perhaps a camera-less trip would be a good idea the next time.
___
A ridiculous thought came to my mind. Obsessive photographers start looking at things in terms of frames. What you observe is the interplay of light, the 'moment', the frame. Would, over the course of a few generations, photographers (quarter of the earth's population or thereabouts) develop rectangular eyes?
perhaps they might develop muscles that will seamlessly pull one eye closed and the other to assume the shape of the viewfinder.
That's some cool fodder for a sci-fi story. :)

Comments

Atrisa said…
I know exactly what you mean. I'm a horrible photographer, not because I can't learn the technicalities, but because I'm so busy experiencing that photography seems futile (and quite irritating) and it looks like the same happened with you.

Also, about the retelling. Thanks to you, I think I've *now* understood why I can't articulate well while telling another person about my experiences. I want them exactly as they are in my head, completely unaltered.
Ajinkya said…
Ya. when you are fresh from a trip, and jumping with excitement to tell things to people and you come out like, 'no, it was so much cooler'. and then a sigh.

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Withdrawal symptoms

Ctrl-tab
Ctrl-tab...
Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Alt-tab
Alt-tab...
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
Ok now.. about to pick up the pen again, but eyes dart towards the screen. Tempted to check email.

Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

Pick up the pen. Don't fetishize the object now. Get on with it. Put it on paper, write a word and start it already. If I get to a sentence, perhaps I will get into a flow and won't have to look up from the paper at all. 

One sentence later.

Ahh. That was good. I am feeling good about myself. The sentence makes sense. …

Value

Things turn into cash
once they are stripped of their lives -
their breath,
their freedom,
their dignity
or their joy.

A fish on the table
and a cubicle dweller..
both are united in their solvency,
their ability to be stripped of their lives and turned into money.

This solvency is our own making
Hold up your hands against the sun and your favourite gods
Do they dissolve? 
Hold up your heart and see if it beats for them
Hold your joys in your hands and fling them towards the system,
does it stick?

For a better world
first we need to walk away from this world.