I've always loved theater. There is a minimalist approach to portray everything. Like an ideograph as the theater, film and opera director Julie Taymor puts it. An ideograph is like a brush painting, a Japanese brush painting. Three strokes, you get the whole bamboo forest. In her most famous work, "The Lion King", she uses the essence of the story. The circle. The circle of life. Very effectively.
Ever since I saw the Disney movie, "The Lion King", I was hooked. To make images that may evoke emotions. I knew someday when I'm able to afford it I will buy a camera and make pictures. And so it all started when I got the Kodak KB 10. I had fun. Of course buying a film and developing it for small prints was a luxury. I had it for a couple of years and took it to Agra.
Moved to Germany and I graduated to a SLR. EOS 500N. Again, had great fun. Many images. Memories. In particular that of being an exchange student in Germany for masters.
Then I got to know about the slide films and I was hooked. Velvia was magic. Projecting it was the next best thing to be actually there.
And then the bug of larger film hit me. I went from 35mm to 645, then to 6x6, then to 6x7. And eventually a large format camera with 6x7 back or sheet film (4x5 inches). Interestingly the equipment I carried was often the camera with a waist level finder and a standard focal length for the format. That habit has still stayed with me.
However cameras kept evolving. EOS 5D was my dream camera for years. I bought it second hand as my first full frame digital camera. Technology though was moving fast. I jumped from Nikon and then to Canon before settling on Sony A7 series.
During one of the munro bagging trips in the highlands I realized I need to reduce the weight of the equipment. Climbing and heavy equipment, particularly in countries such as Wales and Scotland does not go well together. This was early 2014. Sony A7 was making waves. It also was the best in terms of adapting legacy lenses. The choice was easy.
Fast forward to 2017. During annual "clean up" of the garage I found a bag of expired (2005!) black and white Negative film and a few Velvia slides. And it just brought smile to my face. I thought what if? Out comes the old and trusty Hasselblad 500CM with Zeiss 80mm. It was almost a decade ago I had developed or even used film. Instead of the instant gratification and mostly forgotten images, here I was carefully working on compositions. Just 12 exposures I told my wife and was delaying the gratification of "review it on the back LCD". I knew there is something better in store. That moment when it comes alive on the paper in the dark-room. That moment of truth when you think have I loaded it correctly?, Was there any light leak perhaps? or Are these chemicals okay to use? And then you hang it to dry. And keep looking at it...And you know what was missing.
After all it is about memories. Evoking emotions. From the very first image at the top - which brings back the memories of an endless chat with the best friend on Temblai Hill in Kolhapur to the last one on this page - of walks around the house with my son I cherish. Both made with simple 50+ year old technology....but 20 years apart. Exactly 20 years after the Disney's enchantment act I was also fortunate to see Julie Taymor's masterpiece live on stage. Circle of life.