I had an interesting late night conversation yesterday, about photography and what a camera means for me. I studied photography under Prof. Jyoti Bhatt in the late '70's and what I learnt from this experience were valuable lessons on how to perceive; and why we look at certain things with the desire to hold them for closer examination and reflection. Photography for me is much more than a technical process that allows me to fix an image as a possession that I can hold or to flaunt as proof of my association with it. Equally, ideals of perfection bore me in the way artists have used photography in recent years, as a method to find subjects to replicate as painted images; and the countless offerings of photo-shop alterations that reinvent the initial subject, are in most situations gimmicky and trivial. For me the real mystery and power of photography lies in why we "frame" something to bring it back to be contemplated over.
I view the camera to be like a travel companion with whom we converse. It is in these "conversations" that photographs are taken. To bring an image away from its physical existence would then require for one's consciousness to connect with it in ways where it does not serve as a mere reminder alone, but as a point of re-engagement with a space of reflection.
The moment when a photograph is being taken is one that most often disallows an intimacy of contemplation with the subject. However when the image is reclaimed as a photograph it allows that vital space for contemplation to exist. It offers an intimacy and time that has no other interruptions or agendas to distort the space of a personalized reflection with it. It becomes a whole world rather than a fragment.
I find the process that makes a subject become a frozen image, that then transforms to become a "framed" independent entity, and which then posses the potential to invite and embraces an expansion that will release and free it into multiple other "locations" : to be the truth of where the magic of photography exists for me.
What my initial years of learning photography with Jyotibhai taught me, was how to look at a world and know what to blur out of focus, and what to hold sharp and defined in that instant moment of seeing; and to then comprehend its meaning and purposefulness of engaging with it.