Friday, December 5, 2008

My life through my lens

A couple of months ago, I started out on a particularly depressive phase of my life, marked with enough instability and uncertainty to drive anyone crazy. It is inconsequential what happened to me or why, because ultimately it’s always something or the other in everyone’s life. Life has a certain overbearing way of introducing big ripples into the most tranquil of lives. It doesn’t matter what the causes of your own personal woes may be, but there is always that one moment in everyone’s lifetime when life just seems unbearable suffocating. And I had arrived at mine.

It was somewhere in the midst of all that chaos that I got interested in photography. In the past, I had always tagged a camera along with me when I traveled but now, in the midst of the turmoil I was going through, I turned to photography as a daily distraction. I needed something to take my mind off what was going on within me, and I took up photography as a hobby. I started tinkering around more with my camera, taking it with me everywhere I went, carrying it with me every day, and capturing the most mundane things on its lens. One day, as I walked my dogs in the evening, I captured a family of ducks that had waddled along our way. Another day, driving along my way, I stumbled upon an interesting looking church I had never noticed before and photographed that. A bright red maple leaf here, a stark white birch tree there. Fall leaves on the withered summer grass, winter snow on the drenched fall leaves. I photographed it all.

And slowly, almost unnoticeably a transformation started to take place. It is difficult to hate life in the same breath in which you remark at its beauty. The more I searched my world for the perfect shot of the day, the more beautiful the world around me became. In my quest for the best photo, I started noticing little things I hadn’t noticed before – how the fuzzy blossom of the dandelion has the tiniest little hair, how a duck’s tail has just the perfect curl, how bright red winter berries can brighten up the gloomiest of days. The mundane, ordinary things around me that I’d taken for granted suddenly radiated with a hidden beauty. And I slowed down. I paused to finally admire life.

Photography to me is almost meditative. In that one instance in which you shut off the rest of the world to capture the one image on your viewfinder, you catch a vision of life at its finest. In that one moment in which I zoom out the world and focus in on the delicate cap of snow sitting on a wildflower’s head, everything else about life seems trivial and inconsequential, and all the beauty of the world seems contained within that one glimpse of life that I peer at through my lens. Life in that moment is beautiful, no matter what else. After months of passing life by, I finally started to pay attention. And instead of agonizing over a future out of my hands, I started to live life in the now. Somewhere in the turmoil of my heart, photography brought me the calm peace that follows a good cry.

As I flip through the pages of the photo album of my life over the past few months, I don’t see pages filled with the fears, anxieties and insecurities that comprised my days. Instead, I see the fun filled moments that made me laugh on an otherwise gloomy day. Or how tranquil the day was when my heart was aching. Or how much there was to be thankful for even when I felt utterly ungrateful. They capture just how beautiful life was even on the days when I thought my life was an abysmal mess. And they fill me with hope. They heal my broken heart.

Of all the life lessons that photography has taught me, perhaps the most important is this – no matter how ugly and gray life may seem on the gloomiest of days, when you crop out its ugliness, zoom in and capture it in just the right frame, life is always beautiful. No matter what else.

~vagabond~ © 2008.

24 comments:

trisha said...

"when u crop out its ugliness" nice thought and am riding with you on your lovely journey of discovery - anywhere in the world its great to be young and alive, Vee, a hug for the happy post at last. I love it that you have started to write at last, meri tamanna puri hui, thanks :)

bindu said...

Sounds like you've been through some rough days. Glad to know that it's getting better. I really like the last paragraph - very well put. Take care. :)

Cuckoo said...

How beautifully you have weaved the words. I could very well empathize with it. And was nodding my head in affirmation. :)

Lakshmi said...

hope you have got out of the bad phase..ive just been caught by the bug as well and will be spending the best part of 2009 picking up some tips

~vagabond~ said...

@Trisha: Aww...that was such a sweet compliment. Thanks :)

@Bindu: C'est la vie...and thanks! :)

~vagabond~ said...

@Cuckoo: Thanks...so nice to hear someone else relate to it. :)

@Lakshmi: Dont know if the bad phase is over yet...I'm just doing my best to ignore it. LOL. You wont need any tips from me, you travel to places beautiful enough to inspire you all on their own. :D

Inner Vision said...

Very well written post…Really enjoyed reading every word of it. Liked the way you wrote about things looking differently when one is in better mood.

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~vagabond~ said...

@Inner Vision:
Thanks for your kind encouragement. I found your blog very inspirational. :)

Just call me 'A' said...

it's always important to find an outlet for the ripples in our lives and you've found an amazing medium. Pictures speaks a thousand words. have fun with your cam. i love clicking pictures too.

A

alok said...

Life is always beautiful - no doubt about it, I hope you would come out of the chaos of life soon, if not already.

I remember sometime back, was speaking to one of my friend and I can relate one of the question to this post– she asked me, how you will describe the life for you? Life” is the image I create by myself and there is always something untold, unseen and unexplored thing in the making of it and you never know what is stored in the form of happy or sad, good or bad or ugly going forward with it.

Hey your photography ideas make sense to me and glad to know you have given a meaning to it, as I was commenting on your other post, I recalled many times a picture can come with variegated feelings, and express the combination of emotions without being affected by the photoshop-ed life. It may or may not make sense to everyone but you know you are witnessing the life beyond your own imagination...

Fida said...

You found the best drug for depression - the camera. I am so glad you had the strength to pick it up and go. Live is a never-ending circle. Things come and go. But when we are depressed, we don’t believe that the sun will shine again.
You said it best: “no matter how ugly and grey life may seem on the gloomiest of days, when you crop out its ugliness, zoom in and capture it in just the right frame, life is always beautiful."

~vagabond~ said...

@A: A picture does speak a thousand words, so I'm discovering every day. Would love to see your photos sometime.

~vagabond~ said...

@ Alok:

Thanks for leaving such a nice comment here. I really like your description of life too. And so glad to know that there is someone else out there to whom my photography makes as much sense as it does to me. :)

~vagabond~ said...

@Fida:
You are so absolutely right. Life truly is an unending circle and sadness and happiness seem to follow each other in the circle...but somehow it's hard to see beyond the sorrow when you're going through rough times..you just dont believe the sun will ever shine again. Photography for me, helps me see the beauty in life even on a gloomy, cloudy day. And for that alone, I'm grateful.

PS. Welcome to my blog :)

Just call me 'A' said...

hey girl, you've been tagged :)

Dust Unsettled said...

Beautiful post, really well-worded... And, I saw your other blog after a loooong time... the images are haunting & captivating... Must say, you have evolved into a good photographer... The power of your words you already know - see you brought me back!

~vagabond~ said...

@ A: Will do the tag once I get a chance. Thanks. :)

~vagabond~ said...

@Dust Unsettled:
Oh my gosh! yay! you're back!!!! I'm so glad you've started writing again. Thanks for all your kind comments. I'm off to go check out your blog. :)

abhijit said...

I relived some past moments of my life through this post of yours:-)

~vagabond~ said...

^Thanks...I'm glad you could identify with it. :)

Vamsee said...

Your writing is beautiful..very poetic. I loved the way you weaved words to express your emotions.

I completely agree with you about a camera showing you life in a different light. Life becomes so much better when we start appreciating little things.

Vamsee said...

vagabond,
I wanted to tell you that I loved your post so much that I made Saru read it. He has not been that passionate about photography and birding for a while, so I wanted him to read this post, see how it has turned your life around and get inspired to pursue it more.
He loved it...said you wrote very well.

~vagabond~ said...

@Vamsee: Your nice compliments totally made my day. Thank you! to both you and Saru. You're way too nice. :)