The year gone by was probably the most eventful for me in many many years. On the personal side, I mended relationships, made a trip to Japan, moved house from an area where I had lived for 25 years, met old friends in UK and recollected memories, did a couple of personal projects, but mostly sacrificed a lot of my time & mental peace for something I am yet to figure out.
On the professional part, I held my first solo documentary photo exhibition, built my wedding photography team to scale new heights, spent an unusually large amount of time navigating committees, and made a coffee table book to mark the centenary of my alma mater, the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet.
The year tested me thoroughly, pushing me to the limit, and made me learn that I actually have more to give that I originally thought. I had to work to keep a steady head while juggling personal responsibilities, professional commitments, creative ideas, financial duties, all amidst the constant news of doom & gloom. The world is in a strange place right now.
War and genocide ravage the globe and we feel insulated from it, unable to do anything but post about it on social media. We are forced to go about our daily lives, albeit with a cloud of guilt hanging over heads. If you wonder how World War 2 happened, how the holocaust happened, how dictators came to power, you don’t have to read a history book – it’s all happening right now, around us, and we can simply sit and watch. We can feel upset, we can write about it, we can debate about it but it feels so depressing to know that we actually can’t do anything about it.
The opulence of capitalism is almost nauseating. A never ending game to one-up the other through material goods and visible wealth, not genuine growth of self or intellect. Almost a modified Dutch disease, with new money coming in, without working for it. The appearance of luxury is what everyone seems to worry about, without realizing that money is just a means to an end. The false lifestyles of social media make people lust for it, creating the wrong goals for the future generations.
I worry about the environment, and wonder if anything mankind is doing today will ensure a sustainable planet for us. Electric cars and metal straws are an eyewash to pacify the wider public. Priorities of lives have changed, and living in harmony with the planet, caring for plants, animals, and people – none of these seems to matter. To stay optimistic is a full time task.
For the coming year, I feel I am old enough to not need to set goals but rather establish broad areas of focus and conduct a reassessment of priorities. I am a storyteller at my core, and want to focus on new and improved ways to tell stories, of both weddings and the world, using photos, text, videos, and audio. Everything else is a part of this process or a distraction. And on that note, happy new year!