Monday, 2 December 2013

Hemantha Kalam - 9 'Matter of Size'

Hemantha Kalam

Kalam - 9

'Matter of Size'

There has been an exchange of photographs over the e-mails the other day. Occasion- Group photograph of some of the former and current colleagues of Godrej Soaps Limited, assembled to participate in Gayatri's wedding - daughter of another former colleague.

Now, the honour of photographing the group, with a latest hi-tech mobile phone, was given to me. If the picture came out well, this 'Kalam' probably would be on some other subject. Yes, now predictably, it did not come out well. Certainly a little more focus could have been in order.

I think, before writing on why I feel let down, a little explanation on my photographic life may be worth mentioning.

Photography is the genetic 'disorder' handed over to me by me predecessor - my maternal grandfather whom I could, again, only see in photographs as he died even before I could be born. Apparently, before he called it a day, on his life, he had really experimented imagery of all imaginations.

I guess the first camera handled by me was a Twin Lens Reflex 'Yashica MAT' a 120 format camera (borrowed from my maternal uncle Mr. Jonnavithula Purnaiah Sastry who was my first and reluctant guru for photography), where you needed to look down onto the reflection of the subject in the camera, focus manually and click the image onto a 120 format film. You need to take the sun light into account and adjust the aperture and speed of the shutter accordingly. Till the picture came out it was like agonising to see a baby delivered. This was sometime in mid 1960s when I was about 8 or 9 years old.

And yes, you need to compose the picture too. I guess God has been kind to me in that that I could always mentally compose a picture on just seeing the locale and my compositions were normally good. 

Like my career, my photography also went on like a Morse code (only my photography was more constant and continuous than my ability in keeping my jobs and employment) and steadily I graduated to cameras like Rolleiflex and Rolleicard. 

My father could clearly smell and see the path I am likely to take, downward, and firmly refused to buy me a camera. So it was till I was 25 that I could not own a camera. When I had joined with Godrej Soaps Limited, I used to share my salary with my family but not the earnings from working overtime (that too was reluctantly-maybe another blog in future on this reluctance and the resultant adventures) which was reserved for buying a camera for my own. 

I had acquired a Yashica 35 mm which was not a SLR and thus restricted my 'creativity' and so later I had acquired a second hand / used 'Praktica', whose body alone weighed almost a 'ton' not to say of the Sigma, Vivitar lenses that I had steadily acquired. Interestingly I got used to such heavy stuff which I used to lug along with me on the innumerous trekkings I undertook. As a SLR and with an opportunity to change lenses, close up rings and add-ons I could really let my imagination go and again with the Morse code results. Fail, Succeed, Fail, Succeed and so on. but I was my own guru.

It went on till I started showing my photographs to Late Krothapalli Subrahmanyam, who was working as an artist with the United States Information Service (USIS), then Madras and now Chennai, who introduced me to the photography of stalwarts like Avinash Pasricha et al., and thus he became my second guru who really provoked my composition ability. Today, if some of my photographs are good, I owe them to him. 

Over a period this equipment became too old and I got rid of the same to get a real sexy Canon T-80 model which was a 'have all-do all' type of camera. Comparatively this was a light weight camera and was quite handy. I was a proud owner of the camera, but again there was very little I had to do as a photographer except aim, compose and shoot. 

So I did acquire another low cost SLR of Vivitar model and went happily clicking till my sister gifted me a Sony digital Camera around the turn of the millennium. It took me quite sometime to understand on how to work on this camera which was like a little mouse in comparison to the pachyderms that I have been taming and using earlier. I really could not get used to it and knew it fully till it died a natural death.

And now I use a real 'aim and shoot' Panasonic camera which by far has been the lightest I had ever used so far. That is till I had to use this mobile phone to take the group photograph at Gayatri's wedding. I was at all seas at the same time. And yes, I made a mess of it.

I guess I need the large looking, heavy weighing cameras after all. I was wondering whether it is only me who has been thinking like this. But, today, when I read that Balu Mahendra, one of the Indian Ace Cinematographers also has the size blues, I was vindicated. Want to read for yourself? Here's the link;

After all, Size Matters!

Isn't it? You tell me! :-)

Till then, 

Krutagjnatalu (Telugu), Nanri (Tamil), Dhanyavaadagalu (Kannada), Nanni (Malayalam), Dhanyavaad (Hindi), Thanks (English), Dhonyabaad (Bangla), Gracias (Spanish), Grazie (Italian), Danke Schon (Deutsche), Merci (French), Obrigado (Portuguese), Shukraan (Arabic), Shukriya (Urdu), Aw-koon (Khmer), Kawp Jai Lhai Lhai (Laotian) and Kob Kun Krab (Thai).

Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy
Chennai, India

No comments:

Post a Comment