A sense of euphoria. A feeling of invincibility. A hit of dopamine.
Those are not aftermaths of a drug binge but rather, the aftermath of taking a great, memorable photograph. Even though it has been more than a decade since I got my first dSLR camera, every single time I pick up the camera, there is the same joy and excitement that I felt when I was a teenager. My camera almost feels like a time machine, transporting my mind back in time to a younger version of me, with fresh ideas and unbridled optimism about the world. Regardless of where I am at the moment, my camera has the power to inject my mind with endless curiosity and creativity.
Making the perfect photograph is a ritual. It requires an immense level of patience, preparation and an intimate understanding of your camera to ensure it becomes an extension of you. A camera should help, not hinder you while creating your photograph. And once you’ve got the basics right, the real fun begins. Getting the angle right, trying out different lighting setups, experimenting with background & foregrounds, and various poses & expressions. There is a certain rush that you get when you spend time and effort to build a vision.
Most of the photos that I take and share online are a result of hours of planning and shooting. Even a photograph that may appear simple to the untrained eye is usually a result of an extensive process of thinking, visualizing and bringing a sketch to reality. Every documentary project spends months as an idea that undergoes multiple revisions before it ever becomes a reality. Many ideas never see the light of day. When it comes to weddings, all our meticulous planning and detailed timelines can go for a toss because of a groom stuck in a traffic jam or a disgruntled relative that wants the rituals done in a different way. And yet we have learned to masterfully deal with these situations, making the most of a given time and space. Infact, it is sometimes more exciting to work with a limited set of resources, under pressure for time and still managing to pull off a remarkable photograph.
Planning the shot, waiting for the moment, and finally getting the photo that you had visualized feels like a sweet victory. And it makes me crave more and more of that thrill. Anytime I feel dull, taking a good photo makes my day, and boosts my mood more than I’d expected. It fills me with optimism, and a bright outlook on life. As though I can achieve anything with the help of my creativity, vision and my camera. I feel invincible, and I pine for more of that feeling. And I know that the only thing that’ll make feel like that again is another phenomenal photograph that goes beyond my imagination. Photography is truly my drug.