face WitchDoc access_time Wed Aug 7, 2019

My Photos, Your Photos

On that Sunday evening my wife's cousin's husband came home visiting. Like me, he too is somewhat interested in photography.

I had recently bought a new camera and was itching to show the great results to some one who understands what sharpness and contrast is. A visit from that guy was the right opportunity to do that.

"Did I tell you about the new DSLR I recently bought?" I asked him.

"Ah, great! How is it going?"

"I'll show you the pictures I got from that."

I brought out a box full of post card size prints and placed them in front of him.

"This my son's cricket bat and he is standing behind that. Just look at the sharpness!"

"Hmm.." He agreed.

I handed him the next photo and said "You can see every thread in that sari my wife is wearing. This camera is amazing!"

He held the picture but looked at my wife and said "If you are making tea, please add some extra sugar for me."

He put the picture down casually and said "Shall we look at the pictures later? I need to go to the railway station to pick some one up from there."

So I packed the pictures away and sat down to chat with him. We talked about everything in this universe for a good hour and then he said "When I come next time I shall bring all the photos I had taken when we were on tour to the Americas. There are only five hundred of them."

"Before you come jut give me a call. I shall keep my new photos ready for you." I said. I wanted him to look at those photos really, really badly. I thought I will get some good comments from him so that I could improve my technique.

Later I took all those photos to my friend Mohandas for his opinion.

Mohandas is a level headed guy and gives me his honest opinion.

He looked at a few of my photos and said.

"You know, these are technically good pictures. They are well exposed and sharp. But that does not necessarily make them good photos."

That was a minor shock for me.

"After all, they are pictures of your family members and your pet and your old car. An average person is not interested in those pictures."

What he said was true. I thought about the photos. They were all photos of my family members and no one had any reason to be interested in them.

"Have you ever been to a painting exhibition?" Mohandas asked me.

"The next time you go a painting exhibition watch how much time the visitors spend in front of each painting. If it is a picture of a nude they would spend a few seconds there and then look around to see if any one is watching them. If no one is watching they might spend a few more seconds and then move on. If you are willing to show them a nude photo of any one they might spend a few seconds. But who is interested in pictures of your pet dog and your old car?"

That set me thinking about some subjects in which they would be interested in.

"No one is interested in any thing that you can think of." Mohandas said "If you shoot pictures of their family members they might look at them for a few seconds."

I went home much wiser.

The next day my cousin's wife's husband phoned me to tell me of the passing of his father. His father was suffering badly from a painful cancer and it was almost a relief to hear of his passing. He was all of ninety years old. Even at the age of ninety he was an impressive figure. He was tall and stood erect, his white beard flowed down his broad chest in a cascade. His long hooked nose could hold any one's attention. He had sharp eyes and a sharper mind. I had taken a few of his photos some time back and I remembered how well they had come out.

As he was about to put the phone down, I told him "I have a few of your dad's photos with me. Nice ones. Would you like to have them?"

There was a slight pause on the other end of the phone and then he said "Can you whatsap them to me?"

"I do not use whatsapp, shall I send them as attachments?"

"What attachment? I do not know that"

"OK, I shall put them on a CD and you can take them when you come here.

A few days later he called me again for something else.

"You forget to get your dad's photos." I tried to remind him.

"I have my dad's Adhar card and that has his photo on that." He said.

That was a lesson for me. Now I do not offer to give any one any one's photo. I do not ever think of showing my photos to anyone.

After all who is interested in my photos? They are not all that great. I am just an average amateur.

I will always remember what Mohandas told me.

"Photography is a one man activity. You shoot, you enjoy the shooting, you enjoy the picture. You can even enjoy the look of the camera. There it ends. Do not get any one else into your photography. If someone tells you that your photos are great, take that with a spoonful of salt. People are interested in looking at their own photos. No one wants to see too many of your landscapes or posed photos of your girl friend. No one wants to see the shaky photo of a half hidden deer you shot in a forest, risking your life. Better pictures are available on the net and in the magazines"

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