Many a times, people ask me why I take pictures and what I do with them?
I am not a professional photographer and selling my pictures has never been my aim. Honestly speaking it is a topic on which I have not given much thought. My main quest is to make a sense of life around me. This led me to develop an interest in creative arts like literature, music painting and photography.
Photography is just a byproduct in this process. A means to an end. A creative process to record life around me and to reflect upon the fast paceed world. Photographs are milestones along my thought process. By the time, they are taken and processed, they have already achieved their purpose, giving me a sense of self-satisfaction.
I put in some effort to capture these images and given the state of industry, such an effort can only be deemed worthwhile when it is rewarding in itself.
One of my friends asked me why I usually do not participate in exhibitions and photo-competitions. In truth, I feel that the social dynamics, politics, leg pulling and mutual hatred between different photography groups greatly diminish my joy in making these photographs and in many ways nullify the reasons for pursuing my work in the first place. Instead of a passion, a source of relaxation and a means to an end, it becomes a source of bitterness .
I know many of photographers including some very senior and dedicated ones, who practice their work mainly to gain popularity, or leadership of a photography club. This seems odd to me. Putting in so much effort into creating wonderful art only to achieve short lived attention and gain ascendancy over their peers seems self-contradictory or ignorance to the very purpose of art.
I am sure, my answers would sound unsatisfactory to many of my colleagues. However it is worth mentioning that I chose to pursue the path of an artist not because of any desire or need for fame or legacy, but because I found the work itself rewarding and liberating. I consider myself privileged that photography is not my main source of income.. So I can create with a peace of mind and without any economic compulsion.
So free from practical concerns, when I look at a finished work, whether on screen or in a print, the value it will ever possess for me had already been accomplished. Anything beyond that, rewarding as it may be, has little to do with why I do what I do
This reminds me of words of Eliot Porter: Probably these better explain my point
‘But before all else a work of art is the creation of love. Love for the subject first and for the medium second. Love is the fundamental necessity underlying the need to create, underlying the emotion that gives it form, and from which grows the unfinished product that is presented to the world. Love is the general criterion by which the rare photograph is judged. It must contain it to be not less than the best of which the photographer is capable’