Tag Archives: creativenaturephotography.net

Meditations of another kind on “All eyes” by Raviprakash S.S.

A dear friend, great photographer Raviprakash S S whose work we have been enjoying at creativenaturephotography.net is conferred with prestigious Category winner award in Amphibians & reptiles category (Natural History Museum) for the featured image (below) 

Srinilaya-May12_4485 (1)

Space exists as  gapingly vacuous void, ever so forlorn without a seed, ferment or fervor.
Who walks there?
Who beholds that penurious infinity, a whole lot of cosmos where nothing stirs?

Then…

..a rustle. Blades of grass, green snake passing through; green in green. There is a see’er (read seer) whose eye focuses on this indecipherable materiality called life and sleepy dimensions come alive. The flourish of focus in space is like a child in the womb; the most exquisite manifestation of co-dependence of the temporal and the spatial. The act of focusing transforms the spatial into mental by identifying matter with breathing, moving life.

So arrives a snake in Raviprakash’s garden (or eden?). I would prefer to call it eden because of the trust between the the photographer who is a visitor to his native place, and the snake-the resident native. The intimacy allows him to come as close as an earshot of the snake. I recall my birder friend Sujan Chatterjee narrating how to tell whether a place is perceived as safe by birds. “It is very safe  if we are allowed to approach them within an earshot, not very safe if we are allowed no closer than a slingshot distance and  unsafe if they stay a gunshot distance away.” Thus it emerges from “All eyes” and his earlier images of vine snakes taken at his native place that neither the photographer nor the snake are suspicious of each other’s presence.

In words of Raviprakash “Green vine snake is very attractive subject for me.. we have grown up seeing those friendly snakes in our neighbourhood. Though its a snake it really doesn’t scare us much ” and “CNP influence made me to look for different angles/compositions and hence i went behind the snake to see any opportunity. Popping eyes were just too good and i captured the snake with only eye in focus. I was capturing from about 15-18 inches from the eyes.. so even f/8 was giving DOF just to keep eyes in focus. The curvy snake added its own drama. I was extremely happy with the result. Since the snake was just about 6-8 feets from our house, i coud track its movements till noon..i ended up clicking mostly this snake in first half of the day. It gave me many opportunities with different angles (including top view).”

Ravi has been able to click from many possible perspectives; the present one being unique where a vine snake leaps into the frame looking as a vine with its head resembling a flower bud. The snake is presented as a dimorph switching appearance between a plant and a snake. The most interesting part is that it avoids all stereotypes of a snake image. We don’t see venomous intent. Nor does it arouse  “proverbial desire” due to which snake, adam and eve have been reviled since the dawn of civilization. Instead it looks to be a friendly and genteel creature busy looking into its eden throwing back his eye once in a while, watching its own back.

For the snake it is a very liberating image because it does not echo any of our received knowledge about them. Far from making it look fatally fearful it brings to us an intimate creature. It often happens through cultural practices that things no longer remain things as they are. They acquire other meanings (venomous intent for one) which get foregrounded  in our dealing with them. Actual subject stays hidden behind the mist of meanings. It requires a trusting habitat as this in order to clear the mist and know the true being of the other.

A photographer friend Dr. Parihar never  titles  his pictures. When asked about the reason he calmly replied “ I click visuals not meanings. A visual with obvious meaning is like a caged bird.”
“All eyes” in spite of having a title preserves sanctity of the visual. It clicks a snake and sets it free.
Adam, Eve and the proverbial reptile can safely book their return passage to Eden.

WPY (1)-2

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Meditations of another kind on Nirvair’s image “Twinkle twinkle…”

Meditations of another kind

on Nirvair’s image

Twinkle twinkle little stars..

(Image of the month for january 2012 at creativenaturephotography.net )

Twinkle twinkle..

                                                                                        Twinkle twinkle little stars.. image by Nirvair Singh

I have often wondered if the moment of clicking a photograph could be called a compendium of our mental state. The choice of visual elements, their placement, the way various elements relate with each other can be said to express  deeply felt thoughts or emotions. Our mental state is stamped with  visual codes comprising many in-expressibles. In a sense every photograph may be told as a story;  (I just stopped short of saying epic) visibly of the outside world but essentially photographers’ own. A progression of events leading to the final outcome; the picture.

Paraphrasing Rolland Barthes “In short, all these “imitative” arts comprise two messages: a denoted message, which is the analogon itself, and a connoted message, which is the manner in which the society to a certain extent communicates what it thinks of it. ……”                                                                                             Image Music Text; The photographic message                    

In this background an attempt has been made to locate the message in one of the shots taken by Nirvair’s “Twinkle Twinkle little stars…” The shot appeared as Image of the month at CNP(creativenaturephotography.net) for the month of January’2012. I’ll try to be as objective as possible but the fact that he is my son may bring in subjective play in the analysis. In doing so we might have to step outside the picture.

October 2011.

Nirvair has been in Dhaka for barely a month. It’s an alien place; food, language, customs, landscape everything is different. Till now nature photography has been his passion. He has grown up in places which abound in nature and open spaces. Here in a crowded city  nature and open space exist only in imagination. He is putting up in a rented room which is to be his home for next three years. He has Hasan, his senior at Pathshala and the landlord, Salaudin his classmate and Sazzad his teacher as his neighbours, friends and family.

Nirvair appears to be settled and reassures his parents through his missives. Experimenting with a new genre he is clicking a lot of self-portraits. These are dark, delible and quiet, hauntingly quiet. It seems he is trying to populate his world with the most likely familiarity; his own face.

Here’s one picture.

soul mate

                                                                                                Soulmate; image by Nirvair Singh

Come Diwali and Nirvair is surprised by Hasan who comes over with a pack of candles. Nirvair puts them up in his room and corridor. This heart-warming gesture helps him bond with the place. He shares the images of candle lit room and corridor with his family. These are also the first images of light from Dhaka. Images of hope one may say. Here are the images.

diwali lights-I

                                                                                       Diwali lights-I; image by Nirvair Singh

 

Diwali lights-II

                                                                Diwali lights-II; image by Nirvair Singh

Time goes by. Nirvair is invited to Hasan’s house to celebrate Independence Day of Bangladesh. Fire-works remind him of Diwali. He misses home. After some straight shots in the courtyard he scales a wall, as if looking over, for a glimpse of home. Standing there, he spots these faintly visible leaf-twins. Holding on to that moment he lets it seep within. He sees nature, or more appropriately, its imprint. The shot he frames may be read as a pictorial map of his longing. There are two leaves in the foreground. The background is a receding sprinkle of faintly visible, out of focus lights.

The image titled “Twinkle Twinkle little stars…” sounding like the nursery rhyme, resounds with happy wonderment. Could it be  something more than just lights strung in bokeh’ed shimmer? Is there another way of looking at the picture? Arati Rao, another CNP member and a accomplished photographer & travel writer   commented that the leaves in the image looked like a “venetian mask”. So what lies hidden behind the mask.

Out of focus lights stake their claim to the title obviously. What about the faintly visible leaves ? Their claim to space may be a modest one but we can be sure that that they have a major part to play in making the picture. It is possible that the title is an inverted reference, albeit unconsciously, to leaves which represent suppressed longing of the photographer.

Did he have a choice to go closer to the leaves? If he did then why did he take the picture the way he did? Is the picture a portrayal of nature on the fringe? Or it is  photographers own state where he sees himself surfacing slowly amidst a whole lot of unknowns.

Two leaves drowned in the darkness are lit up by distant lights. They symbolise hope in the form of nature; Nirvair’s alter ego. Resuscitating himself in an act of self-preservation

he’s got a glimpse of his ownself, nature, home.

All is well.

@my other blog;  tranquildarts.wordpress.com