Friday, 23 November 2012

At the heart

Make the best of what you have– My mother
We’ve all heard that one. The one in which the hostess welcomes the photographer by saying that I love your photographs, you must have a really good camera. At the end of dinner the photographer returns the compliment in the same vein by remarking that I loved the food, you must have a really good stove.

Some of the most memorable meals that I’ve enjoyed have consisted of no more than 5 simple ingredients, often cooked on a ‘primitive’ wood burning stove (called chulla in Hindi). In hostel we would cook a sumptuous feast of Maggi (a brand of instant noodles) and toast on a small electric heater. You get my point, don’t you? 

A thing is memorable and enjoyable in itself, and not because of how it was produced. * Also if we all had a chulla and 5 simple ingredients we won't necessarily end up with a memorable or enjoyable meal.

Even if you have the exact same camera as Henri Cartier-Bresson it will in no way guarantee that you’ll be able to take pictures like him. Till you don’t have his eye, his intellect, in fact, till you are not Henri Cartier-Bresson himself, I am afraid you can only attempt to copy his style but in no way can you become him. The camera won’t be of any help. Just as any person with oil paints, brushes and an empty canvas can’t become Van Gogh. Or just learning the ability to read and write won’t make you Shakespeare. 

Do not confuse the mere possession of tools with the actual skill. And never underestimate individual genius. No matter how hard society in the 21st century, that counts social media as its crowning achievement, will try convincing you otherwise. Most importantly, if you have the talent and the inclination, make the best of what you have. Even if it is only a “shitty” cameraphone.

* Any person earning a living as a creative will concur. No one is interested in what you ‘suffered’ during the creative process. If the end result is good, and you manage to become famous, then your suffering will make a good anecdote. However, in time of struggle what you suffer, you suffer alone.

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