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.
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.
2017 went by faster than I expected. It feels like it was just yesterday that I had finished with 2016 wedding season with a quiet New Years’ Eve at home. As I grow older, it is obvious that a single year forms a smaller part of my life, statistically speaking, and hence the feeling of ‘time flying by’. For example, when you are 10 years old, 1 year forms a significant 10% of your life time. But when you are 30, 1 year is a mere 3% of your life. And that figure will only keep decreasing.
The year is 2037. A loved one has passed away. You grieve over your loss. You want to relive your favourite moments with them. You recall the summer of 2017 when you traveled together. Your fading memory can only relive so many moments so you want to see the photos again. But they are stuck in your iPhone 7 whose battery died a long time ago. But you had also copied the photos to your pen drive. Alas, USB ports don’t exist anymore. All you are left with is a low res image on Instagram/Facebook with multiple filters applied.
Often, we find inspiration from places where we least expect it. Earlier this year, I was traveling in Europe and came across the gardens of Villa Borghese in Rome. While the gardens are themselves quite vast, the real gem lies in a villa within them. The Galleria Borghese was started by the nephew of Pope Paul V and houses an extensive collection of art & sculptures. However, what impressed me was the actual interiors of the building. Every tiny corner was decorated down to the last detail and no two rooms were alike. It was truly breathtaking.