Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Those without dreams

Found this Japanese saying while watching a short film Carter about a man who chose the art of making knives for a living:

"Those without dreams are without ideals.

Those without ideals are without beliefs.

Those without beliefs are without plans.

Those without plans are without actions.

Those without actions are without results.

Those without results are without happiness."

One of the secrets of happiness wrapped up nicely!

Here is the short film, Carter:

In this short film he narrates his story of how he chanced upon the shop of knives and how he decided making knives would be what he will do. What struck me is how he hung on to that passion in a strange new place, learnt the language, and then spent many years just scratching the surface of this art. Hardly something we would think would go into the making of what looks like an everyday object.

The point where a craft is taken to beyond technology and engineering with skill honed over years and precision fine tuned over probably countless unsuccessful trials is probably where it starts turning into a fine art, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A.R. Rahman's magic recreated

In 1993, Maniratnam and AR Rahman teamed up for the movie Thiruda Thiruda. AR Rahman of course had some very fresh sounding tracks and here is one of those, sung again, with a lot of that magic recreated. I don’t understand one bit of the lyrics but it is the melody that I find mesmerizing:

It is all in the voices.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


We had setup equipment and all the works (actually nothing really glorious like what probably some of the big shots would use :P) and shot that way for a while. Then during a make-up readjustment we realized everything fell in place in terms of the look. To hell with the lights. We could not lose time and flow moving things, adjusting them etc. I wondered for a while if these pics would be almost a dud because of the incandescent light which was the only source apart from a window with faint daylight from an overcast sky. But we were lucky and the Pentax K5 II saved us.

Anyway, we were thankful we kept our eyes open for the impromptu moment for this image. Probably not worthy of a magazine cover but we will get there one day! I swear!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Behind the rising walls

The people who construct the buildings you and I live in are hardly the people we ever get to see let alone meet and get to know. These are the ones who work hard on every inch of a living or commercial place and move on exactly when it is ready and livable. One of my friends who works in the construction business wanted me to take some of their portraits. It was an opportunity I just could not resist. :)

This girl got so shy that I was photographing her while the little baby reacted with fear! :)

The interiors were still in near total darkness and the workers set up lights to be able to see what they are doing.

She was on the terrace along with a couple of other ladies who were cooking the meal for that evening. 

The carpenter.

He was cutting tiles, every muscle in his arm flexing.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Winter mornings

Well, at 31 degrees Celsius maximum temperature it hardly seems to qualify as a winter but the mornings do come down to about 15 degrees which is very very cold for a place that has 42 degree summers!

In winters there is hardly any wind and that is when it is easy to see the effect of firewood use. Certainly adds drama to an image apart from the not so pleasant effects of having so much smoke, or rather, smog! :P

Monday, October 21, 2013

To be grateful for opportunities

More than a year or two ago, one of my friends met the great Gautam Rajadhyaksha ( He turned out to be one of the most wonderful and down-to-earth people. Having been one of the most accomplished photographers in India he was still approachable, friendly, and took a lot of care to make sure his guest felt comfortable. A very unusual thing in the industry considering how hard it is to meet any successful person for various reasons, whether it is security, or simply for the fact that there are thousands of people wanting to meet them.

My friend gave his phone number to me and suggested that it would be a great if I call him and meet him up to talk about photography and to take some advice from him or just connect with him because for one thing he is just a wonderful person. I found the idea of meeting him very intimidating apart from the fact that I didn't know what exactly I need to tell him or ask him (Bad excuses, I know). I kept procrastinating and before long I forgot about it.

More than a year later I was shocked to know he passed away. When destiny gives you an opportunity that might take you in a direction one has been dreaming of, one needs to at least see where it goes. Just sitting on it and being stuck in inaction never amounts to anything. Lesson learnt the hard way. It is perfectly OK if we were avoiding a person whose company might be harmful in some way. But a cardinal sin to not meet up a person who is inspirational and a great conversationist if nothing else.

And this opportunity to get to meet another human being for the first time, know someone better, or just catch up with an old friend does keep coming up in ways we would scarcely imagine.  It is in our hands whether we take up the adventure and see how we can make it rather than come up with excuses like being busy or having other utilitarian responsibilities which is really easy. Who doesn't have responsibilities and challenges? What we rarely realise is how short life can be and how things can suddenly change. I hope there are more chances to meet someone as inspiring and as knowledgeable. Hope there is another tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Why shoot in RAW format?

If you are a student of photography you must have heard a lot about the advantages of shooting in RAW format ( But it is in certain extreme conditions that you actually get to clearly see the advantages of shooting in RAW. Once you see the advantages you will fall in love with it. :) I have always wanted to have a series of pics that clearly demonstrate the advantages of shooting in RAW format and just the other day we found that image. Since I am shooting in RAW+JPEG, I get a JPEG version too of every photo.

The last image on the right is very similar to what I would have got if I had used a transparency film with a graduated neutral density (ND) filter or maybe a circular polarizing filter.