Rajiv Chopra | Why Did I Start Photography?

Why Did I Start Photography?

November 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This is an old picture. A very old picture, and very unintentionally, bokeh in nature. You can make out that this was shot using black and white film. this is still a medium that I use occasionally. I would probably shoot exclusively in black and white film, except that it is difficult to get film in India, and it is also a bit difficult to have it processed. Still, I may set up my own dark room one day. Lets see

However, this does not answer the question - why did I start photography? 

The reasoning, even by todays distance, is specious. 

I had started working in a steel mill, and we used to work six days a week. The seventh day would pass by in a flash, because on the Saturday night, we would normally get sloshed, or pickled, and by the time would come around for us to pick up the pieces of our former selves, we'd be back at work. It was a rather mindless existence, I would say; and, one that many people choose. 

One night, when the gentleman in the picture above was rather more pickled than he should have been, he collapsed. It was past midnight, and two of us had to pick him up, and take him back to the set of bachelor pads that we all shared. We had these single room flats, or apartments, that had been allotted to us by our company, and we shared them, two people to a flat. 

I made the mistake of sitting at the back, with his head on my lap, and had to go through the experience of him vomiting all over me during our journey back. 

When we got back, I looked down at myself, and asked myself if I had done five years of engineering college, at one of the best in India, just to be vomited on. 

Try as I might, I could not find the justification for continuing this mindless existence, and so vowed to clean up. Which, I did. 

The question now was - what should I do with the free time that I had. More importantly, it was time that was free to me in a sober state!

My older sister was an artist. My younger sister had disappeared to the USA to study architecture. My mother is the one from whom all arty influences sprang in our family. So far, I had not shown any inclination towards that direction, and now I resolved to rectify this. 

I could not, and cannot, draw to save my life. After much cogitation, I decided on photography. A camera cost five months of my monthly income, and my dad was kind enough to give me the money. 

So, I toodled off to the streets of Bombay, in an area called 'Fountain'. There, I found, and bought my first SLR. An Olympus OM-2n. I love that camera, and still have it. 

The next, was to decide the medium. Since I could not afford colour, I decided to opt for black & white photography. 

I consider myself fortunate in falling in love with photography, as well as black & white photography. 

If the gentleman above had not vomited on me, who knows what I would have ended up as? 


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