Friday, April 28, 2006

To click or not to click.

I love looking at photographs. Oh no, not the kind in the bulky photo albums of your neighbour's daughter's wedding, where there are 657 photos of the couple posing with half the people in the world. Nor the colleague's honeymoon album, with photos that make you blush a deeper red than that of the brand new bride's brand new lipstick.

I am talking about the photographs of my childhood, of family get-togethers, of exciting vacations, of old friends, of school and college.... I can completely lose myself in them, looking through old photographs, recalling fond memories, replaying conversations. People tell me that while I am with my beloved photo albums, I have a wistful smile on my face, and a faraway look in my eyes.

"Din jo pakheru hote, pinjre mein main rakhleta" sang Rafi in Dil Ek Mandir. "If days were birds, I would keep them in cages". I Think photos come closest to capturing memories.

As a result, I am a shutterbug. I insist on carrying cameras wherever I go, and click everything and anything. If there is a family get-together, out comes my camera. If we are on a holiday, I first pack the camera. I capture people, places, roads, buildings, trees, hills, rivers, sunrises, sunsets - I want everything. I want to bring them all back and then look back on them and recollect the beautiful moments.

Some places, people and settings fade with time. Once it is captured on the camera, they stay forever. EAch time you feel that the memory is getting hazy, you can whip out the photograph, look at it, and voila! Your memory is refreshed!

S agrees that photographs are special, but he says that in the confusion of taking out the camera and concentrating on clicking, you miss out on the real experience. He feels that photos are great when you want to take back images of people, and of the places you have visited. But when the experience is a fleeting one, one where you need all your senses to experience it completely, then you should just put the camera aside. Some moments can anyway not be captured on camera, moving or still, so why not just forget the camera and enjoy the moment completely? So that later on, you can look back on this moment and still feel the joy of it.

Yes, there are definitely some moments that cannot be captured. If Rose, standing with Jack on the prow of the Titanic, with her hands outstretched, had thought, "Oh wow, how beautiful! What a lovely moment! I really should capture this", then taken out her camera, concentrated on getting the best view, while making sure that the camera does not plunk into the ocean - now that would have been stupid. Anyway, by the time she got her snap, the ship would have hit the iceberg. Ok, I am digressing.

What I am trying to say is, I am not that bad either. But where do we draw the line? How do we decide what deserves to be experienced by itself, and what ought to be captured on camera? There lies the problem. S and I are slowly on the way to agreeing upon a common definition of "camera-worthy" and "experience-worthy", but it will take some time.

Meanwhile, if you'll excuse me, that tree is swaying absolutely beautifully in the rain. I'll get my camera.
[Male voice in the background] Come on, just sit back and enjoy the rain. By the time you get your camera, the rain would have stopped!

And the story continues...


Anonymous said...

It is not about what an event is worth (camera or experience).But its just about re-experiencing the experience. Some require a photo to pull out that experience from the memory stack and some may not. But bothways, the same experience cannot be had in totality for the second time. It just remains as a concept unless one really understands the relation between an event,the experience and the experiencer.
P.S. Thanks for the last addition to your previous post though the first part of it was enough.

Anonymous said...

The scene is ... I am sitting with my husband & kids in the midst of tea garden in coonoor, on a raised wooden plank ... drinking a hot cup of masala tea ... there is chillness in the air ... the clouds are right above our head and is beautifully moving all over the mountains ... wow so wonderful ....

As your husband said we need to experience it .. so did I ... i experienced it to my heart's satisfaction then I got a photograph clicked ...

Today, when I look at that photograph ...i can still feel the chillness, the aroma of tea and the beautiful tea garden .. its as though i am there again

To re-collect the golden memories , you need an aid . I think only photograph can fill in that place.

So both you and your husband are right (50-50 ..:) ). We need to experience it and photograph it to treasure our memories.

Shruthi said...

Raaji: That was quite profound! And yes, you are right!
P.S. The last part was valid too - so I added it.

Anitha: If you can both experience + carry the experience back with you, nothing like it :)
It is only when the experience is for too small a duration, does it become a problem! ;)

Anonymous said...

If the duration is small (this again varies with people ... how small is small)...then I would prefer to experience it first and taking photograph comes next

Anu said...

You are absolutely right! It is so difficult to decide! And you know, sometimes I feel you should not even take your camera with you, to enjoy a dilemma free time! The video camera is even worse. When people ask me why I dont take it when we travel, I say, "What? and let it come between me and the beautiful scenery?" Video for me in only for family fun.

Anonymous said...



Manasi said...

Ever wondered why the Kodak moments in our lives and number of photos in a camera roll never match?
Some moments are to be clicked awy in our hearts, the impression upon the paper cannot do justice at all times! :)

anoop said...

now.. now.. this is a topic very close to my heart. I completely agree with "S", eventhough I have a photoblog. A part of the experience(whatever may be the experience) is lost when u r concentrating in taking the photo with the right exposure, setting, angle, position. other mundane things needed to make a snap standout..
SL Bhairappa(noted kannada novelist) tells from his experience that; once he had been to a very beautiful place(cant recollect, somewhere in europe), and as he was walking thru some scenic landscape with beautiful mountains and stuff, he was using a camera to take snaps of everything he saw. After he returned home, that night, before sleeping, he tried to recollect what all he had seen that eve, nothing came to his mind. So the next morning, he again went in the same path this time without a camera..
from my experience: i had been to mekedatu(place near bangalore), as i had taken my camera, had to be extra careful while crossing the river, finally crossed on a theppa(coracle). after reaching the other side, saw a group of people wading and half swimming thru the water. realized, that is the mode even i liked to cross the river..

Where to draw the line: If you feel that, experience lost by taking a snap can be regained(with interest) by viewing the snap at a later point of time, go ahead, start clicking..

Raju said...

I'm a shutter bug too, a big bug at advice...have your camera at arms leangth, it's gonna take you only a minute max to click away...then experience the can always reflect and re-experience the event a few days/week/years, later through THAT least you won't have regrets of not clicking!'nt that the point anyway to capture the 'experience'?

Mridula said...

Hey, that is me too :) I almost always have the camera in my handbag, everyday! And when I get in traffic jams, I start taking pictures to pass the time.

Nirwa Mehta said...

Heh heh

That is so much me! I want to click pictures of food, leaves, birds, flowers.. any random pictures..

And I prefer staying behind the camera! :P

Oh, I've blogrolled you! :-)


Shruthi said...

Anitha: Yes, thats the conclusion I am coming to too :D

Anu: Yeah... I remember yuo saying that you almost missed V's performance in the process of trying to shoot it! Phew!

Saurabh: Thanks!

Manasi: Hey, well put!

Anoop: Hey that was a good incident - about Bhyrappa.
And you know, your theppa experience is the very reason that S prefers not to carry a camera around.

Reflextion: Yes! But what when you cannot sufficiently capture the "moment"? :) Like I said.. you can go on arguing about the pros and cons :)

Mridula: That's a fantastic timepass in traffic jams :) I saw some good snaps in ur blog of those!

Nirwa: Behind the camera? I was like that too, a few years back! And thanks :)

Chitra said... too mad about photos....

The Avenger !!! said...

shruths, now thts a great piece of writing and following discussion.

I guess both "camera worthy", and "expereince worthy moments will come and go, its the picture in your heart which develops best even if none other than you sees it.

On the whole BOTH are equally important moments :-)

Shruthi said...

Chitra: :D

Sudhir: Thanks! Yes, agree with you :)

Deep said...

Yes shruthi, rightly said!
Have been pondering over this for some time now!
If a moment is little too small to capture, just dig at it :-) and wish most of those moments could have been bit longer..

PRIDERA said...

I truly believe that we must capture anything interesting so we can relive the moments later. My husband agrees to this. For him, getting a near perfect picture is a priority ... but for me ... getting a memorable one is ! (I hope I am making sense)

Shruthi said...

Deep: Correct! I think so too!

Pridera: Oh I know exactly what you mean. When there are people, I look for memorable photos, when there are scenic views, I look for the picture perfect photo! :)

Supremus said...

Hehheh :) - I am a shutterbug myself - out comes my digicamera any moment I feel like it - thought here is an awful lot to photography that i dont know.

I also agree - there are some places where you dont want to take pics, but just enjoy the moment - a good example would be trying to click pics of niagra falls from a boat down under the falls; I can tell you first hand, you will never see that pic, and probably your camera wont operate :D

good post


Shruthi said...

Suyog: You know, just last week, someone else gave me this same Niagara example! :) And Thanks!

.:: ROSH ::. said...

Shruthi...i feel if you are so into taking pics then you should start a photoblog, i'd love to see some of the pics u'd post.

I totally agree with "s" abt just living the moment without capturing it, some memories are worth the sacrifice.

Anil P said...

Pictures step in when time has flown past, and we want to relive those moments not because remembering them will bring us alive but because 'arresting' time will take back our years and make us young again. No wonder many of us get 'lost', rather choose to get 'lost', in photographs of long ago. :)

Shruthi said...

Magic lens: A photoblog! I would love to, maybe some day, for sure :)

Anil: Ah yes, you are right :)

Anonymous said...

Agree with 'S' totally, there are some moments that cannot be captured by the camera, moments which can just remain as memories etched forever. I had recently been on a vacation to a very exotic place and after coming back I realised that I had a humongous 1250 photos taken with my digi cam. Thats when I realized that there are some very special moments which cannot be taken with a camera but need to be just experienced and probably a few pics just around the same time that the event took place would suffice to remember it.


Shruthi said...

Kishore: Now I really think you should start a blog or a photoblog - you have the snaps, you have a good style of writing, -- go ahead!

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