Thursday, December 31, 2015

About Choices

Today is the last day of this year. I have no idea whether I am going to pick up my camera and snap a shot or two. But whatever I choose to do, I am going to be content.
The one thing I learned about making a choice in art is this:  - in most cases - there aren’t such things as good choice/bad choice. It all reduces to what makes one happy.  Go with what you feel that is right for you. For instance: colour or black and white? It is all a matter of taste.  And of considering the finality of your artwork.

If you are a close friend & family, or if you are following my work, you probably know that I have started a big project, getting people to talk about following their own dream, about ideals, aspirations and what keeps them motivated when the going gets tough.  (You can find about it here: A Hat of Many Dreams)

In my case, I want to use minimal props and interventions because my project is meant to be a social experiment: an honest incursion into people’s souls, witnessing their own dialogue with themselves. I just guide them from the sides, with a couple of questions.

I chose to devoid my setting of any colour, because I want to “see” my sitters through their emotions. Therefore it is going to be black and white all the way. Again, if you know me well, you’d know that I am fascinated with people and their ways of life. I find surprising and strong characters from all walks of life on daily basis, just by chatting to people. Which is a wonder in itself, because deep down I am quite the introvert.

But I have to admit, in certain cases, my sitters are beyond fascinating and I find myself facing the dilemma, whether I want to preserve the colour, maybe change the brief of my project and allow those bright colours to take over and shine. The answer is no. Much as I’d like it, I think it is important to keep my brief consistent. I have already made one concession from the initial brief, allowing myself to a wider range of portrait sizes, erring from my initial close-up portrait set up.

Luckily, digital photography makes it easier for me to have my cake and eat it. Recently, I have had the privilege and honour to photograph and meet in real life a lady whom I have admired from the sides for quite a while. She proved to be more interesting than I could have ever dreamed of. We got to know each other a little. We found lots of things in common. We had a giggle or two. We shared a spectacular sunset over my beloved grasslands.
She is unique, intelligent and fun. She has a great sense of humour,

magnificent eyes and a custom-made shade of red hair.

Seeing how the 3 primary colours worked so remarkably well in defining her portrait, how could I not take these gorgeous shots? And incidentally, doing this series of portraits gave me the best of both worlds - I got to work in one of my favourite places in the world and we literally were photo bombed by the kangaroos, who are so used to see me with my camera that they started to run towards us and lined up behind Tara.
(You can also see the black and white series by clicking here)
Until a year ago, I wasn’t much of a portrait photographer; not in a true form anyway; as I was too busy chasing the kangaroos and the light around the grasslands. But one time, in a discussion forum over a National Geographic Assignment, Marie McGrory, one of the National Geographic photo editors gave me one of the best advice ever when she challenged me to take more portraits. Sure, I always liked people and their stories but what if I started to go more in-depth and do more portraits? So this year I have challenged myself and I have worked really hard to find out just how good I could be at unearthing their stories through my images. I had some failures but I think I had quite a few great experiences too. The most rewarding thing about pushing my boundaries and doing portraits is forging new friendships, learning new things and finding extraordinary stories in the most ordinary places.



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