From Amateur to Auteur

If one thing that the internet has done, it is that it has given rise to a lot of budding artists. This has resulted in the blossoming of the concept of parallelism in career. Many people aim to follow at least two or more careers. Often you would hear people say I am this and this. Or something like, in the weekday I am this and on weekends, I am that, or better still, I am this in the day and this at night. The most common form of these secondary careers I think happens to be a photographer and a filmmaker.

There is a good reasoning behind this. The reach of social networking is constantly on the rise. Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Youtube etc often consume more daily time than official work for millions of people across countries. Travel has become cheaper with the low cost airlines and the whole tourism sector is blooming. So, more trips mean more photographs and videos. Good times but obviously results in good memories. And while sharing memories, one often ends up capturing a lot of content that is beyond the family and for-the-record shots.

The problem is that many who pick up a camera (of any kind) think themselves to be a photographer or filmmaker. The ignorance of basic film theory on mis-en-scene and the semiotics of a film have led to a lot of amateur content out there.  The whole notion of shooting and editing then becomes a basis of what’s shot by chance and is not governed by the vision of the person who shot it and is done without planning.

The freedom to remediate what already exist and created in the first place, (like Numa-Numa video on Youtube, more than 6 million views) has made the whole notion of film . . . → Read More: From Amateur to Auteur

Realism in Photography and Film

I have always considered myself a realist. As mentioned earlier, I have been inspired by Bresson, who is considered to be the father of Photojournalism (which I believe will always remain an example of realism) and is the inventor of the term “the decisive moment” in photography.

Bresson mentions in his books and in interviews that it was never the photography that he was passionate about. What interested him was life as it unfolded to him. His photography was an attempt to capture the experiences over time; in a fraction of a second, of the lifeworld as experienced by him.

“For me the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry – it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photographs with the respect for the subject and for oneself. “

He goes on to say this, “I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung up and ready to pounce, determined to “trap” life- to preserve life in act of living. Above all I craved to seize, in the confines of one single photograph, the whole essence of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.”

It is not completely evident whether Bresson adopted a very phenomenological approach to clicking his photographs or a structuralist one. When he talks about the composition it almost appears that there is the structuralist approach, whereas when he talks about the entire experience that he wishes to capture . . . → Read More: Realism in Photography and Film