Have you ever wondered why do we ever take photographs or stare at images? Why do we even take selfies? Is it just about falling in love with a moment so much that you would like to share it with the whole world or cherish it for a lifetime? I feel there’s more to it.
For me, photographs are life itself. They are more than moments frozen in time and printed on paper. They express everything that life has to offer – happiness, anger, hatred, melancholy, surrealism, struggles, challenges, survival, goals, spirit and other things that we keep on experiencing at every moment in our living. When you care to stare at and understand a photograph, you go beyond the frames and find yourself living the story. It’s a sort of a time machine, I would say!
A photograph speaks of a million things. Check out the above image from a street in Kolkata, India. It’s a lonely early morning speaking of contrasts. There are two people in the frame and each one of them has a different reason to be in their space. Now, for someone who has spent a part of his life in Kolkata, it’s not hard to agree how fascinating life and lifestyles can be. Men here are seated to earn their livelihood – one has a weighing machine to encourage early morning joggers to pay a rupee and the other person relies on the good nature of passersby. If you look deep into the photograph, you will find each of these men with their preparations for the whole day – bottles of water to keep them hydrated in under the summer sun and probably some dry lunch packed in tiffin. Also, try and understand the mood of each man. The one with the weighing machine has great expectations from the day and is eager for a customer to take notice while the other man has resigned to what the day has to offer and just makes his presence felt. The contrast in life here is better supported by the interesting wall color and the reason I made this frame.
Now, it’s not just humans and the streets we life in that can be expressive. As a wildlife photographer, I have found an equally imposing bundle of expressions and life goals in images from the wilderness. Let’s take a look at this particular scene from Rushikulya, Odisha. For those unaware, Rushikulya hosts the largest mass nesting site for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Every year, during the month of March, thousands of female Olive Ridleys come to these shores (traveling thousands of miles) to lay their eggs. It’s the only time they will be out of the sea. The scene here is of an early morning when the last of turtles has done her job and is returning back to the sea. Just imagine a pregnant woman dragging herself to the hospital, giving birth by herself and returning to her home just in the hope that her offspring will find their way into the sea. Most baby turtles don’t make it to hatching and the ones that do are foraged by birds, dogs, crabs and even humans. It’s a hope by numbers but for the mother, the job was just finding a safe place on the beach, digging a meter long hole, laying 90 odd eggs, covering up the eggs tightly with sand and resuming to the sea. It’s a constant challenge and struggle for existence and doing what you are meant to do. Interestingly, the baby turtles that do make it to adulthood will return to the same coast to give birth! Only some in tens of thousands survive to see the day.
Photographs like these can be an inspiration for your own life. When you thought that you didn’t have enough customers on a particular day in business, think of the wait the man with the weighing machine in Kolkata has to go through every day. He does lie to see the sunrise every morning. When you thought that life is too much of a pressure with little joys, think of the turtle that constantly struggles to make her mark in the wilderness, adapting to challenges and going back home victorious.
Each photograph has a story to tell and make a difference. We are born to step over constant challenges and fight hard for things we really care about.
If you have been moved by the stories, do check out my other photographs and I would appreciate you leaving a comment. It would also be awesome if you find my images compelling enough to be put up on your walls! Just leave an inquiry and I will get back to you with the details.
Thanks for reading through!