The present state of creative photography in the country is very confused and leaves a lot to be desired. Inevitably, India becomes the recipient of outdated technologies, fashions, and ideas from the West. This gets reflected in photography too. Photographers are expected to entertain through their work. But we are not visual entertainers.
Of course, there are enough of us who love to dabble in the medium and produce pretty pictures. Unfortunately, it is often this kind of photographer who gets picked up and lionised by editors and commentators, who make it a point to back the sensational rather than the solid.
If you say Shakespeare or Milton or Tagore is not entertaining enough, I would, quite rightly, dismiss you out of hand. The same principle applies to photographers. After all, ours is an art that is sensitive to nuance. We want to go beyond the mere physicality of our subject and delve in its inner truths. It is only in this way can the inner aura of people and objects be captured and communicated to others.
This requires a vision that goes beyond the superficial in both the people who photograph and the people who see.
Today is truly the age of fast food. We have fast food editors, fast food designers, fast food layout artists, fast food photographers. For them packaging is everything, the very essence of things. Earlier those who influenced public opinion, whether they were editors or film makers or painters, tried to go about their work with a certain responsibility and a commitment to what they believed in.
Today, none of this is necessary. Everything works on market surveys. It is what sells that counts. Nothing else. And this,I believe, spells the death of true creativity.
-By Ragu Rai
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