This is not for kids, not because this is a mature topic, but for the reason of being nostalgic.
We all had camera and a roll. I had a hotshot one, Canon and it used to be the best companion during any of our trip. It was counted as a family member like without it no trip can be made memorable, almost like we are missing the fun loving member of our family. I am sure everyone who had a single camera at that time, felt the same about it. Almost neglected throughout the year, but a dearest thing when a trip was coming around. Then with it, came the real burden, the restriction, something to be scared of totally, the film roll. The real ammo without the memory gun cant be shot at anything. Be it Kodak or Fuji. It was painful to get the photos and expensive as well. But the real fun was to see them in the hands of everyone and share among the friends, relatives and everyone we wanted to. We specifically had to buy an album or got those from the local developers. No batteries to see them and pictures beautifully stored anywhere we want.
I assume Kodak at that moment made a fine choice by thinking that digital wont work, even though it backslashed them brutally. I too think at this time, digital is creating a mess, not only in my hard drive but on the web as well. The amount of sharing has gone insane. So insane that the beauty of photography is lost. I may sound as cynical and a nagging petitioner since I am not a professional, never handled an SLR in my hands, but being a spectator, the challenge of limited film shots always enticed me. Some of my friends were good photographers during my college days, and even though they took this job very seriously, the expenses and monetary challenges really weakened them. Many of them have left the photography for their personal reasons, but I can contemplate and understand it to be financial insecurities. Not pressing this hard but little meanings in few stories do elaborate a lot.
At the same moment, that made them equally talented, frugal with their resources. The final output I use to see by them was either full of tears or being proud about it, near to be arrogantly boasting about it. It was like there are millions of subjects, but 36 rounds to shoot them to the memory of the paper. A toughest job without a doubt.
Then came the news of the last roll from Kodak. I was so thrilled by another news, that it will be shot by none other than a man who has survived more than thirty years of freelancing photography, but also the thrilling, adventurous subjects around him. The wars, the heat of Rajasthan’s deserts, Taliban’s brutality, Civil wars and some of his own shyness. I myself sometimes feel so burdened with the insecurities that comes with freelancing, but given the environment and situations around him, he can be more than a mortal. I have read about many war photographers, and some of the winners of war photo prizes are not alive, not because they are too old but they have seen so much in other’s tragic life that they had reckoned themselves better to commit suicide and vanish from this anguished and far far troubled world.
I am an avid follower of Steve’s blog (http://stevemccurry.wordpress.com/) and it never bores me. The amount and variety of the world that can be seen from his vision is so immense, that I enjoy his subjects. Yes, many of them were shot at the time of Mujahedeens, Russian conflict, when India was never thought to be global super power. His portraits are full of emotions and deeply linked with their lives. Staring at them is another kind of fun, even if I am glaring them in a small screen.
Although I never wish myself to be a photographer, but I dont cease myself to hand myself a camera and keep pressing the button mindlessly. I know, I may be an artist, but I feel admitting that I dont have enough sense of composition, special photographic skills and technical abilities. Its not that hard to learn for me since I had taken a workshop once, but I feel like being more traditional than equipped with modern easiness and comfort. I prefer to keep painting my dreams and thoughts around me, no matter how arduous it seems to be for me.
Man lives by science as well as bread.