Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

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Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby AratiRao » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:49 pm

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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby AratiRao » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:40 pm

On The Decisive Moment, this time the treat is for 18 minutes!
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:58 pm

Thanks Arati !

Let me embed them here.






This link explains how to embed a vimeo/youtube video if anyone wants to share relevant videos here in CNP pages.
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Nilanjan Das » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:31 pm

Amazing no Arati ? :-). Unless one becomes sensitive, a part of the subject, the moment or the situation himself, images can never come alive. So many ways to express, just about everything can be a good photograph, the only way is to become a part of what one photographs. I was wondering for the last few days that in one way images are so globally united, but again they can be so regional. I have often heard photographers in India talk about an Indian perspective. Initially I was thinking that why divide images ? But now I have started to believe in the Indian perspective, be it humans, be it nature. Even our approach towards making images speak of the Indian perspective. Our values, our history, our sense of aesthetics which we learn from our grandparents, our mythology. Unless we keep this Indian perspective alive in our images, we will not be able to keep our India alive. I was recently discussing with Debiprakash / Abhisek, our approach towards creativity. In any form of creativity, there is something very Indian in it for us I believe. We just need to discover it more and more I guess. Cartier was a true lover of human beings, his love for life expresses through his images. Almost every big name that comes to my mind now has been inspired by Cartier, from Steve McCurry to Prabuddha da. As there can be no direct education for creating a sensitive mind, Cartier filled up that space so gracefully with his images. His acceptance of sadness, the smiles, the wrinkles, the poverty, the anguish, the revolution, the blankness and hopelessness united the people of the world through emotions , I feel it also gave birth to the concept of seeing and feeling which is beyond documenting. An European in China would never want to see what he see's in his homeland everyday, well mostly. I think Cartier's images clandestinely speak of the emotions of the land. The next person who did so much justice to this aspect is Steve McCurry. In my opinion he is the person who could understand Cartier just so well. Lived a life known as a photo journalist :-), but never to me. Being a photo journalist was just a way to earn his bread and his ways through the countries, but the person inside him wanted to explore , exploration of time and exploration of human life. When it comes to the name of McCurry many might not agree with me, but somehow I have learned to highlight only the aspect in him which makes me feel good, the other part is like the rest of us who do not do the right things all the time. Thanks Arati, for the post.
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Mahesh Devarajan » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:16 pm

Thanks for the post Arati. The nostalgia, the mood, the emotion associated with fleeting nature of time are so beautifully conveyed in the images. The amazing thing is for most of us who go through these images, i am thinking there would be a "consistency" in emotional experience as we sift through the images. Makes me wonder whether such a consistency of experience can be achieved when looking at wildlife/nature related images. Fitting various moments/moods of nature into human emotional framework seems a bigger challenge.
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby AratiRao » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:27 am

hi there,
hmmmm.
Nilanjan da... i dont know what an indian perspective means. maybe throughout my life there is a subconscious influence of my upbringing, but i am not at all conscious of it specifically when i raise the camera to my eye or when i am an immersed witness in a situation. In fact, if anything, i lose all identity in that moment. it is just emotions, the situation, and the light allowing the moment to deeply soak in. no identification with any labels seem to come to mind, if i think back to those moments.

not sure if it makes sense at all! maybe a few beers or vodkas later i will be more articulate.

:)a
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:40 am

Arati, I think Nilanjan's point was culture may instill meanings to images which are specific to only that culture. An image of a cut 'mangala sutra' may mean a lot to an Indian while it may not mean anything outside our context and of course we also deal with emotions which goes beyond any cultural barrier (I guess that is what you mean here). Also, in strict nature there is no direct cultural context too (our discussion here in this thread is beyond that anyway).

I do think understanding the context of an artist to understand her/his creations helps at times in non-nature genres. We often think art should stand on its own however the context may help and strengthen them at times. This Youtube video below made me wonder about some of the art work made during Hitler's era (56 minutes, see when you are free but worth going through - Degenerate Art - 1993, The Nazis vs. Expressionism)

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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Nilanjan Das » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:22 am

Ganshi, as a cut Mangal sutra or for that matter few other aspects which relate so deeply with the Indian culture can play a role in creating art in non nature categories, is it possible to create nature images to express our feelings which in a way relate to our cultural upbringing ? I think in any case there is an indirect connection. The emotions we feel or we convey visually are somehow connected to our own Indian culture and thought process. In a non nature category the job is easier, the costume, the color of the skin, the very sub continental appearance portrays plays a strong role to relate the image to Indian perspective. That way the mangal sutra is a great example actually. That is very very Indian. I was just wondering how can we do a similar separation with nature images. Difficult to explain, apart from making images of Indian species or some locations specific to our sub continent, can such nature images be made from thoughts or feelings which are very much Indian ?? Over the years we have learned a bit to make moody or emotional images, many such emotional images of the subjects are NOT made by photographers from other countries. Can we call that an Indian perspective ? What do photographers in all genres respond to ? Suppose Cartier....his images convey response to a human expression complimented with equally dominating geometric patterns in the image. Look at the image of the young girl running up the stairs in Greece. The geometry came first, this I felt is an European perspective which descends into the frame from their culture, their history. We probably would have thought of the girl first, the geometry would just have been an additional complimentary aspect. It very well might have been the same frame but arising from two directions. Even see the forking of the bridge, separation of two railings, below you can see separation of two railway lines and there stands two men. Existence of individuality and togetherness in our society....again I felt the time when such an image was made arises from the thoughts of parallel existence ( a very strong European outlook ). Now compare it with the book Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde....by R.L Stevenson. Same thoughts, one created an epic novel and the other an epic photograph. During the similar time our writers were fighting for freedom in their mind, our artists were fighting for freedom, our song writers, singers, everyone had the same mental agony. Even in an open field they could not free their mind, the mind was caged. We are full of such expressions in Indian literature and art history. Even though time is just an additional dimension, still I feel, the culture and history of a land plays a big role in creativity and of course the time of creation. Every image has a certain degree of everything in it, us as humans are similar from one POV, then the local aspects begin to create separation and finally it becomes very localized. I am speaking of this very localized aspect, not that I want art to be separated like how our countries have been by boundaries. This localized aspect is visible in art related to humans. Suppose a dead tree in the shape of how a bharatnatyam dancer stands, we know Indian dance mudras have been immensely influenced by nature. Freedom is often displayed by hand movement showing birds flying, the standing postures are influenced by tree shapes of various kinds, the message of life goes on is by showing a mudra of waves flowing etc. This too has a huge history, the sages or saints who integrated these movements into the mudras were mostly forest dwellers...as we call them tapasyi's....complete isolation from distractions and then create something from a world of self realization in loneliness. This is an Indian perspective Ganshi....more and more I felt that nature images are so influenced by the western world. We all started by making images of sharp flights, which everyone in the world made. We made creative images of rim lights which everyone in the world made. But have we made an image which would be like our own Bharat Natyam, Oddissi, or our Ragas ?? I am thinking of that Indian perspective Ganshi....probably in non nature images, some work has been done. Indian Cinema has done it, but what about still photography ? I know you may say that Indian dance has the sarangi and the tabla and the costume to compliment the Indian mood, but no other dance forms in the world related to the movement of hands to express the human mind by gestures from nature. The European dance form ballad has again so much geometry in it, the body trying to take shapes, multiple dancers forming shapes, African dance induces body movement related to the rhythm, Americans are confused about what to do and hence started gymnastics with music and called it dance or trance :-) lol. Could I explain ? Our nature images need to be like our Bharat Natyam one day Ganshi...it's not that I do not respect other creations, they are equally inspiring, but what about our own inspirations ??
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby nirlep » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:25 am

hey I missed out on an interesting conversation here!
Arati like Ganesh and Nilanjan I too would bat for local flavor. Indian perspective is local flavor, of the place we know well. Universalism is good but would it have the aroma? I have doubts. A picture of mountains will be the same everywhere but what if we see it juxtaposed with a temple with bells, or prayer flags flutterring, a monk silently walking into the woods I think the images would strike a cord with the viewer. Localising a shot is not a label it is something one can't avoid. Yeah nature images as argued by Devrajan is a different genre which has universal appeal built in.
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby AratiRao » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:32 am

I must clarify that i was speaking only in the context of CNP, making nature images :)
outside of nature images, outside this forum, sure ... local context *anywhere* makes far more compelling images over generic ones (where only geometry and light/shade - the mechanics might rule). In fact,it is imperative almost for a true artist to do so. isn't that what makes up shades of intensity in a "decisive moment?"

In the context of nature (since that is the nature of business here) ... for me, the moment in seeing a closed eyelid weeping or a trampled once-beautiful piece of seaweed is a human context. when i made those images i did not feel the need to be indian - rather more a human. but equally or even more intensely so, empathetic to my subject, deeply immersed and feeling every nuance of it on my skin, in my surrounds. i did not feel the need to give it an indian context ... but that is me. maybe it will be a pressing need for others ... and that's perfectly fine!

in the end, what does the piece of art evoke? is what i have created true to what i *felt* when i tasted it, saw it, created it?
Have i been able to infuse into my image the life, the grief, the pain, the love, of that moment?
Have i been able to take the viewer** with me at least part of the way and shown him what i saw, made him feel what i felt?
to me, that is what is important.

**the tryst with the viewer is incidental. he brings his own milieu to the tryst. which adds another layer ... maybe he sees it in his own localised (completely unintended by me) context!
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby nirlep » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:22 pm

Sifting through your images of nature for local flavor was fun

here are a couple of them

gallery/image_page.php?album_id=1&image_id=7020
this one has interesting "localised" observations from Jayesh and Vikram. Arati Did you have anything going in your mind which could relate you to the image in traditional Indian sense?

gallery/image_page.php?album_id=1&image_id=7041
Veil , the title may sound familiar to a wide spectrum of audience but to us it holds a specific, traditional meaning which is enigmatic and claustering at the same time.

I do have a gut feeling that people are "programmed" to see differently. Consciously or unconsciously their work would reveal who they are. It sets me thinking further..
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby AratiRao » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:34 pm

You are singing my song, Nirlep :)
that is *precisely* my point ....

see my previous comment on:
maybe throughout my life there is a subconscious influence of my upbringing, but i am not at all conscious of it specifically when i raise the camera to my eye or when i am an immersed witness in a situation.


it is subconscious maybe, but i am not *looking* to give it an indian context.
and to my other point about viewers bringing their milieu .... Vikram, Jayesh, you, anyone ... you layer your own stories on an open enough image, no? maybe someone else - a new bride in Colorado will see a different thing in "Veil"

So my point was: in creating it, personally, i am not looking to indianize nature images...
then again of course, it is ingrained in me is it not... so maybe the jhalak will be there :) :)

this is helping me clarify my own thought process - thank you!!
A
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Nilanjan Das » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:17 pm

"Have i been able to infuse into my image the life, the grief, the pain, the love, of that moment? "........

My response in favor of my earlier comment would be....


DARD KI EK MEHEK HOTI HAI,

USEY APNA LIJIYE,

DARD BAN KE MEHEK FEHLAIYE

YA

MEHEK BAN KAR DARD KO MITAIYE

ZINDAGI SE KHWAFA NA HOIYE

ISHQ SE NAATA NA CHHURAIYE

HASTE HUEY BHI AUR

ROTEY HUEY BHI........

BUS AAP TASVEER BANAIYE AUR HUM KHUSHBU LETE RAHENGE........
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Re: Inspiration in Cartier-Bresson's Voice

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:39 pm

I agree with your thoughts Nilanjan. In our non-literal abstract creations of nature our culture and upbringing may indeed show up.
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