Lessons My Lens Taught Me
It was about 2 years back when I was gifted my first DSLR and went about clicking like crazy. A slow progression ensued with me following the “Auto mode” to “Manual mode” progression and dabbled between various genre of photography be it wildlife, street, landscape or culture. There have been times when a photo clicked has taken me on a journey of thoughts – what was the thought process I undertook to click that moment, what does it mean to freeze that moment, what does it portray beyond the immediately visible. And so and so forth. Sometimes, I have tended to get philosophical about my tryst with the lens and the impending journey of discovery – a discovery of the world around and therein a discovery of myself. And so here is a laundry list of weird thoughts that somehow make sense as I mull over this now so popular techno-art. Techno-art seems to be the perfect word to capture the essence of it all, functional settings that activate your right brains clubbed with the creative essence of capturing the world beyond what is visible to the eye – food for thought for your left brain. A whole new way of looking at it emerges as I think over the past, present and future significance of learning through images.
Composition simply means how the image is framed, how components are places and come together to form a meaningful image. Come to think of it, it is a way of looking at things. Different perspectives produce different frames. Perspective is the culmination of life experiences, expectations and the willingness to open up to new ways of looking at life.
When in doubt pick up your reigns and see things from a different angle. Get into the shoes of others, understand, empathize, imagine and then reconstruct your line of thought. You would be surprised to come across creative ways of doing what you always do. Akin to how a change in angle or inclusion / exclusion of particular components can change the meaning of an image by 180 degrees!
Photographs depict two types of blurs – an accidental blur caused by wrong settings and a purposeful blur to depict motion. Do you even remember appreciating an image which has blurred accidently? Do you somewhere see in this, a reflection of your life – an endless blur of tasks with no clarity and purpose – in the end no meaning? That’s important focus is – capturing the right focus through “focus points” drives your eye to the desired highlight in the photograph, making sense of the image. Similarly Focus in life be it your professional or personal life helps us move towards particular goals that shall make us fulfilled and happy. Aimless journeys may end up anywhere, if you always know your right path and focus, focus and focus on achieving it with perseverance and unaltered dedication.
You have all seen photographs that appear too bright or too dark – a case of light captured gone wrong leading to fuzzy, unclear images. Simply put, exposure is the amount of light that you let in through the aperture, high exposure creates more light-filled images. The apt amount of exposure creates beautiful images with proper colours and objects standing out. Isn’t that the same for life? You wish to take up a new area of work or a new hobby, unless and until you get some exposure in that sector, how can you throw light on whether you are good at it? Be ready to experiment, in a calculated risk-taking manner – get the right degree of exposure to understand whether you fit into or are talented enough in that domain.
It’s all about Space
A cluttered image confuses your mind no end, everything seems important, there are no distinctions. Even observed such an image and wondered how much it resembles your life – an unending clutter filled to the brim with activities, people chattering, you mechanically moving from one task to the next? Negative and Positive space i.e. blank areas in images are two concepts used during composition which help the main “Subject” catch the eye of the observer. It is, in effect, weeding out the unwanted through a minimalistic approach. Apply pockets of blankness to your life as well, the same to your life, leave time for yourself – to rejuvenate, introspect and think through your ideals and goals. These “pockets of nothingness” shall be your guiding light to work towards the things that truly matter. Literally give you “Space” – of time and thoughts to work on what’s important!
When the light is low, you see those small grains that seem to cover an image, making it look fragmented. Too much noise in your own life and you see it reduced to silos - a plethora of unimportant, a disturbing flurry. The noises in our lives can be seen in the social pressures and compulsion to adhere, high expectations, tainted opinions, taking up more than you can handle and so on. Learn to say no to your non-priorities and filter out the excess noise. Think for yourself and reduce the noise. Difficult at first, yet highly effective in creating a sorted, effective and efficient you, cut out the noise from your life through firm resolve and a commitment to simplify.
Zoom -In and Out for the Big Picture
When in doubt to create the perfect composition, zoom in and out, and capture the perfect frame! Zooming creates a limited view of the available sights, constricting your line of sight. Simple solution – zoom out and look at the “Big Picture” – literally and figuratively! Sometimes in the frenzy of daily activities it is important to take a step back, reflect and realise one’s own path for the long term. You may need to readjust and realign your “lens”, that’s perfectly fine. The “Big Picture” shall help you focus on what’s important for lasting happiness and fulfilment.
It is important to throw light on things to make sense
With the advancement of new tech cameras, even low light performance seems to be a thing of the past. Yet, extremely low light hampers the vision, creates poor quality images better left undiscussed. So when in doubt, to get the perfect vision, focus your torch of sight and thoughts and try to make sense of the chaos. There shall be times when darkness engulfs and everything seems a blur – the key is to find your own torch, make sense of the situation as best as you can and carve a new path. After all, once new light sets in with a new day, all will be crystal clear, with you on the path to good things!
And so I reflected, as my lens clicked away to capture the marvels of this world.. and I revelled in the happiness as my passion taught me a thing or two about this enigma called life, entangled in the web of aspiration, greed, judgement, achievement and a thousand other tenets! Truly, life lessons from a lens!