What runs in your head when you take a photograph? Do you think about the likes that you'll get on social media platforms? Do you think about how many friends and family you can 'wow' with the photograph? Or do you think about the fun moment that is happening and want to make a memory out of it? Most of the time, taking a photograph is a subconscious decision. Whether it is for likes or to preserve a memory, your motivation for taking the photograph is to review it later and derive value from it.There is a large difference between photography for today and photography for tomorrow. With the ubiquitous availability of phone cameras, there has been a rise of taking photographs just for today.
“No Parking” signs are an ubiquitous part of life in India. We see them scattered all across the city, in main roads, in little alleys and on the gates of apartments. There is no escaping them and to me, they are the perfect metaphor for urban life.These signs symbolise the hurried and unplanned growth of India. Often drawn or painted by hand with little prior planning, these signs pop up due to narrow roads, lack of parking infrastructure, combined with an increasing number of car ownership. They are now a common sight on the walls of many localities, houses and buildings across the country. Many companies also take advantage of them as a space for branding. I remember how ICICI started the trend, more than a decade ago, with metal ‘No Parking’ signs that featured the ICICI logo on the board.
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.
Almost exactly 6 years ago, I shot my first paid wedding assignment. At that point, I did it to help out some friends who were getting married, for an extra bit of pocket money and to keep my creative juices flowing. Never did I foresee a full time career in it. Yet here I am today, 6 years later, working as a professional photographer, having shot around 200 weddings, published 8 printed Zines and made several documentary photo stories in this span of time. And how has the journey been so far? Read on.
Indian weddings are chaotic by nature. They are larger (in terms of number of guests), longer (usually 3 days or more), and more complicated (endless traditions & rituals) when compared to a typical western wedding. All these factors contribute towards creating an unavoidable situation of clutter and chaos. Of course, I definitely don’t mean to paint all Indian weddings with the same brush – we have a vast number of religions in the country, each with their own style of ceremonies, many of which are rather simple. In this context, I am talking primarily about Hindu weddings and in particular, South Indian Hindu weddings.
We live in a world where virtually everything we do is shared online. What we eat. Where we go. How we go. Whom we meet. And so on.
But we only share the best parts or the parts that would gain the most ‘likes’. We avoid sharing the seemingly boring parts of the day. The activities that the world would consider boring. We alter our lives to seem more exciting for the society around us.
DBR Mills came across my purview more than a decade ago. I heard about it in passing and was curious to learn more about it. Old news articles told me that DBR (Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal) Mills shut down in 1992 temporarily but was never opened after that. Today, two and a half decades after its closure, the buildings line in complete ruin.
Over the past year or so, we have been surprising our clients with a little present on their wedding anniversaries. We wanted to give them something physical, a keepsake of sorts, unlike the usual greeting card on their first anniversary. I put myself in the feet of a newly married couple and tried to think from their perspective. Given that I was also recently married, I realized that we often think of printing photos but rarely get to the act of doing it. So I decided to make some beautiful prints of the best moments of their wedding and compile them in a folio box. These 12 prints look great on the wall, on a desk and can be framed for extra effect.
About 8 years ago, transitioning from a teenager to a twenty year old, I always wanted to go out and have fun. Eat new types of food, try out new drinks and stay up as late as possible. That was not always possible, mostly due to financial limitations. At that point, I used to observe the relatively older people around me and wonder why they were not doing more exciting things. After all, they had money and freedom of time (or at least that’s what I thought). Why would any red blooded human being not want to spend their money on eating out, drinking more beer and partying till the early hours? Nobody could stop them. It seemed almost bizarre to me, not to make the most of their freedom, and I claimed that I would not be like that when I was older.