...and then

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Photography is my passion

I like how everyone has a complicated, technology-involving passion these days. All around me, all I see is "i can't breathe without my iPod" "i refuse to bake the cake without my pedometer" "photography is my passion." 
The world and its sister is now on FB, which in itself is a huge leap for hitherto technologically-challenged ladies and gents. I am all for aunties and uncles getting on FB and using it just the way it suits them. I don't expect them to use involved applications or constantly update their statuses (which, unfortunately, they do. In all-caps, no less.) If all they want it for is to stalk their first love, who am I to judge them? 

A godawful fallout of this malaise, however, is that these recent converts tend to want to make their lives look as interesting and full as their 20-something acquaintances. Bad enough, according to me, the latter lead lives with the express intention of "posting on FB" but when the Menacing Middletons compete, I cringe and sway, hoping I won't collapse in embarrassment. Hitherto camera-shy aunties now catalogue every little excursion - whether it's to the ridiculously big grocery store they visit every day for fun or meet their bitch-buddies for coffee, you can be sure a picture will be up on their Walls titled "A coffee with the guurrrllzzz". And these are women with seriously busy lives but one look at their Wall and you come away thinking your teenage sister is a hermit. What about uncles with minimum musical talent suddenly playing in bands whose USP is that they're all big shots in their own firms (with an actual genuine musician or two to give them some form of credibility) and posting videos of their latest "gig" at the golf club or weekend "jam-up" session?

See, I don't mean to be judgemental (at least not more than the ordinary dose of it) and it's perfectly okay I think what these people with talent, time and a laptop are doing. My grouse actually, really, seriously begins after all this exhibitionism. With the gorgeous device that is the digital camera, just about everyone has developed a passion for photography. I sound like a sour old aunt but the truth is just because you take pictures of pigeons crapping on your balcony at the crack of dawn does not make you a photographer. It makes you a highly irritating human element in the natural order of things. I am sick to the gills of seeing flowers, sunsets and random defecating birds as products of this new "passion" so many middle-aged women with time on their hands have picked up. Nor can photography be your passion if all you ever do is stick the camera in someone else's hands and pose the living day lights out of yourself. Oh wait, maybe that can be a passion for photography -- by being the subject of it. Hmmm.

But no, just because you take pictures of everything you do  when you are dressed up nicely doesn't make your passion photography. It does if you say so, but don't expect me to believe it and appreciate your under-exposed exhibitionism. Which I have nothing against, by the way (the exhibitionism, not the under-exposure). Those of you on my friends list on FB know how much of my life I share there. But see, photography is actually a passion with me. I've been doing it since I was 14, if not earlier. When you had to pay for film, when you had to know how to load the thing, when you actually had to pay for the prints and couldn't afford to click 65 shots of your rotten yellow rose blooming in the morning, unless you were very rich. I'd like to ask how many of these "Photography-is-my-passion" aunties and uncles knew how to load films in the pre-digital days. Or how many of them would indeed continue annoyingly clicking the way they do now if they had to pay Rs 8 per matte-finish print. 

It's the same with the iPhone. First of all, it's a limiting, problem-riddled phone to use. (The minute Apple does something that is actually cutting edge, I'll be the first to fall at their feet and build them a shrine. But till then they'll just have to keep making money off unsuspecting people who overpay for all the products and then spend some more to keep the damn things going.) To top that off, all these overzealous uncles --with 42 thumbs -- have gone out in droves to pick it up and now can't stop comparing what the others do on theirs. Have you tried deciphering their text messages? Hello, even the iPad is retro now, so get over your little toys, already.  

Because seriously, if you tell me that you've always been into technology and don't know any other smart phone apart from your precious iPhone or you can't expand SLR, then I just won't believe you when you say photography is your passion. Seeing pictures of yourself? Yes, that might be a passion. Randomly disturbing dawn birds? Yes, that too could be your passion. Annoying the crap out of people around you by blinding them with your flash? Yes, that too. But courtesy and integrity demand that if you have developed a passion for taking pictures, the least you do is know a little more about stuff. Otherwise it's just you trying to look better than MonikaSuryaKrishnaAnitaMahesh on FB.


Blogger Tamanna said...

I bow to thee. Thou said it. Ok I am no good at this :P But so agree with everything you said. Although I guess I am in the enemy army here. Just a little younger :P

And I HATE the idea of uncles and aunts on FB. For reasons more varied than their senility. Sounds cruel? So be it.

10:13 pm  
Blogger scarlet pimpernel said...

Nothing shocks me these days, somebody i know posed with her dead granny and uploaded it in orkut for all to see.

7:38 am  
Blogger scarlet pimpernel said...

Psst!!! I've gotten my paws on a working polaroid camera. ;-)

8:21 am  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

Tamanna: Oh I didn't mean MY uncles and aunties specifically. I just meant old people in general :P This is just a fun rant. I don't care what they do, ya :) They can claim to be Bresson for all I care :)

SP: That's a bit much! Dead grandma. Damn! Polaroid camera? yes, there're a few of those going around. And stop winking so much, it's annoying me :P

9:08 am  
Blogger Abhipraya said...

Oh you said it!
Everybody and his uncle owns a camera. Most of them can't even get a decent picture of an inanimate object in good light! Gaaaaaah!

11:42 am  
Blogger Raj said...

Check this out :)

11:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not only did one pay Rs 8 for the matte-finish prints, but also had to wait long before the studio processed it because they printed matte only once a week. and then one had to explain to friends that this is matte-finish and that it is better than glossy.

1:59 pm  
Anonymous Roxana said...

Nice post. Reminded me of when my photography obsession meant sitting in dark rooms that looked like they were out of 80's movies and where you struggled in the pitch dark of the room to get the photo reel onto the plastic encasement. Of under-exposed or over-exposed pictures that broke your heart, after all the effort that had gone into it! Now it seems aeons ago!
I have 'friends' who have gone ahead and bought SLRs without, like you said, knowing what it stands for even. Ask them for details and see them floundering and you don't know if you ought to laugh or cry!!

6:03 pm  
Blogger Minna said...

Sandhya, I was very curious to read this one for the title. And then I started reading it and I started getting agitated (not at the writing) because the content is so freaking true!! And as annoyed as I am at myself for even being on FB, I have to admit that it has its values. (good and bad)
But you touched upon not just the wannabe passionate photographers and fraudulent simpletons, but also on the exhibitionism that this generation can't seem to live without!! I am curious to read more! :)

6:28 pm  
Blogger Prasoon said...

Lovely. Maybe part of the post - you must have typed in the SMS lingo ;-)
About photography and the SMS lingo - you are spot on. Everyone now thinks he/she is a photographer - the DSLRs have gone cheaper by the day and that spoils it even more.

7:24 pm  
Blogger Ramya said...

Guilty as charged, I'm afraid. Though I don't claim to have any passion for photography, I do have a passion for being photographed - and so went ahead and bought an SLR! And no, I can't expand it.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

Abhipraya: Which I am okay with. You want to take bad pictures, take them. But don't start proclaiming it is your passion.

Raj Sigh, yes.

mylittlerednotebook: Ah, the good old days! We should send these people back to waiting a week!

Roxana: See, that's my point. Why do they exactly need an SLR?

Minna: Don't get me wrong. I think FB is fantastic to keep in touch with people you would otherwise never normally take the effort to stay in touch with but still want to. And in the process discover some genuinely great people that you wouldn't have otherwise. But the degree of "look at me" that we possess today, astounds me!

Prasoon: "Maybe part of the post - you must have typed in the SMS lingo ;-)" I didn't get that. Elaborate, please? I have no problems at all with people going out and buying DSLRs, if they are getting cheaper. In fact, maybe most people will discover a new passion and pursue it diligently apart from looking up what SLR expands to. I am all for the opportunity it affords. But when you tell me that photography has always been your passion, and I've never seen you take a picture of anything but yourself and your progeny and your siblings and your other half, I wonder. That is all.

Ramya: What gorgeous honesty :) As long as you know where you passions lie, I am perfectly okay. I hope you found someone who can take lovely pictures of you on the DSLR you spent so much on :P

8:00 am  
Blogger The Coffee Cup said...

The beach, the birds and the black and whites. Many seem to think any frame of the water and the sky (esp if in b/w) makes you a great photographer. Must confess I absolutely enjoy photographs and have been wanting to learn the finer art of clicking objects the best way. Haven't quite mastered it, yet though!
And about the uncles and aunts...hmmmm!!!

8:58 am  
Blogger shai said...

Loved your rant and found myself agreeing with it. Pics on FB should be limited to more or less imp occasions in your life, or at least something people on your friend's list would appreciate seeing. Since I am housebound, I personally love seeing travel pics that my cousins and friends put up. And I think baby pics are sweet too. But random narcisisstic pics just put me off. So does the competition (my pics are cooler than yours) Personally, I'd rather just make a picasa album to a few friends I know would genuinely like to take the time out to know what is going on in my life. I think facebook encourages us to be even more narcissistic than we'd otherwise be! Ok, so this was a rant to rival yours!

12:59 pm  
Anonymous Chinkurli said...

Yes, I totally get what you're saying. I feel the same way too when my friends take 10 pictures of their new car to prove their "passion". As also when someone reads two books by Chetan Bhagat and says reading is a passion. Bah.

Oh, they need an SLR because they think their pictures will look better :-) Or that buying an SLR will magically make them a Raghu Rai or something.

Don't even get me started on photoshop and other such evils...

2:57 pm  
Blogger TheFatOracle said...

A 'passion' that more than 5% of your friends & family suddenly develop is called a fad.

6:51 pm  
Blogger notgogol said...

You read my mind.
I will get my dad to read your blog :P
It's so beautiful how you vent your frustration. Bitch-slapping champion and all.

8:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is like saying if you don't know all the terms and ways to paint or the specific words for the process of cooking you don't know anything about it.
Beg to differ!

4:33 pm  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

If you're really, really interested in something, it becomes a passion, yes? (whether you're good or not so good :P )

4:40 pm  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

Anon:: That's not what I am saying at all. I am saying if it's a passion then sustain it. And learn and be interested.

The Wanderer: Welcome to the blog! My answer to that comment is in your comment itself -- "if you are really, really interested". These people I talk about are not.

5:18 pm  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

Ah..I see. People who seem to be interested so that they can proclaim they have a talent?

That's funny (:

9:44 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

and when someone tells them theyre not as talented as they think they are, they get backs up against a wall.
...pardon my butting in, i was just reading all recent posts. and comments. like your style TRQ.

11:34 pm  
Anonymous star_gazer said...

"Clicking your own photographs from different angles or clicking photographs of everything you do or of every place you go" - if that is your definition of Passionate photography than the people you say they are passionate/amateur photographers , i m sure they are... of course the paradigms limited to the extent of their own definition.
Wonderfully & aptly written post :)

12:36 am  
Blogger Shabs.. said...

Very well said! And I too love photography!!!Again, not for a showoff, I developed that passion as I started taking pics for my blog. I believe in perfectionism and wants everything neat and clean. I never liked my food pics earlier so tried to improve as time went by.I started with the film camera, upgraded to digital one and now owns a SLR. I read alot on photography and take hell loads of pics. And after reading this post, I am wondering if I am an exhibitionist too?!!!I had loads of them uploaded on FB, when I had few close friends in friendslist. But as the list grew bigger with blog friends, I just made all pics private.
Please check my blog out to see some of my pics. I like you and wpuld like to add you to my friendlist in fb, so that I can get to know u better with more interactions. Are you interested?

9:26 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home