My Ten Most Important Pictures On Instagram

I’m on the cusp of 700 followers on Instagram. Knowing the nature of social media just a bit, I feel its better to write this note out sooner than later. I wanted to do something similar when I hit 600 followers; I wrote the note and slept off planning to post it the next morning. When I woke up, the followers were down to 598.

I started on Instagram in 2013. That time phones were more for talking and the cameras hadn’t evolved into the selling feature. Filters were basic, I remember my favourite being Amaro. I don’t use it any more.

Thinking deeply, the journey with Instagram has been an elusive affair – one that excites for a moment and gradually wanes into a shadow only to emerge again at a turn of life. I’ve created hordes of images and put them up only to see them disappear unless I scroll down to see them again. As filters improved along with my limited photographic abilities, I found myself doing images that were a shade(s) better than the earlier years. What’s remained constant is the number of likes I get – a mean figure of 18 – 22. But in a figure of speaking even Gods need followers.

I use this post to remember 10 of my favourite posts on Instagram and the stories behind them –

10. Transgenders In Celebration

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The photograph that got me featured on Instagram. A lovely moment & a wonderful story to go with it.

9. Zauk’s Delhi

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Delhi is where I grew up. It was my teacher in the formative years. But as life went by, I started to detest the conditions I lived in. I moved to Pune and was seduced by its limitedness. Until a few months back, when I visited Delhi again and lived as a traveller. That is when Delhi revealed it to me. On my flight back, I reminisced about the sights that I’d seen, the foods I ate and people I met.

8. Balamwa

Samsara

At a concert almost a year back, Pt Sanjay Garud sang an awesome rendition of the iconic thumri – Balamwa. I was recording video just before he started singing. As soon as he sang his first song, I switched off the video and started doing photos. A few moments later I realised how grave an error had been committed. Thankfully I have an audio of the same. I go back to it from time to time. The audio recording is here.

7. At 38

Samsara

While I like being photographed, there haven’t been many occasions when I have actually been. And as time landed me on the wrong side of 30, I became conscious of my ever thinning hair. Then I read that once someone crosses 36, he seems to be less mindful of the worries of the world.

6. Taken By The Hand

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Jaisalmer made me meet Deepa. She took me by the hand and made her way into my heart – forever. You can read about Deepa’s story here.

5. Important Things Are Said Softly

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During my trip to Nepal after the devastating earthquake, I came across this moment on the street which instantly took me to my childhood. I went to college in Bangalore and after that for work moved to Delhi and Chandigarh and then to Pune. As I moved forward, I made new links but forgot old ones. I am not in touch with any of my childhood friends and with very limited friends from college.

4. Manto

Samsara

I started reading Manto a couple of years back. I was taken aback. His stories shocked me. And they moved me. The raw language laying bare emotions at their naked best. Kingdom’s end struck me like a avalanche.

3. Mumma 

Samsara

Mumma has been my hero for ever and ever. And the one thing I’ve always seen her doing is change the bedsheets and pillow covers. She did it in times of happiness, sorrow, easy and tough. But this visual came at what perhaps was a turning point in her life – when her grandson came home after his birth.

2. Salaried for Life

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I met this family of 5 at the protests of 2013 in New Delhi. The family comprised the parents, two sons with special abilities and the daughter who was perfectly “normal”. The father offered to pay half of his daughter’s salary to anyone who could help her get a government job so the family could afford a life.

1. The Human Condition

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Shot while making Ecosystem, this image stands out in my memory as the most gripping visual of a human emotion. I don’t know what transpired in their lives at that moment but this moment was just so raw. The couple stood at the same spot for an hour or so. Her hands were around him and he dwindled between comfort and discomfort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lost In Wilderness

 

Delhi Summer -2

In a world full of images and inane words that describe them, I have been trying hard to find my space. In the last 3 years there have been countless times when I have been overwhelmed by the speed at which images are produced in this new world. I have been overwhelmed by the kind of images that have been produced by the people on view. Normal folks have become legends and then almost inexplicably have nose dived into a noise full of rubbish. Sounds are cacophony and colours are a riot that assault my senses. I hardly see any intelligence in work anymore and bodies are laid bare in the garb of intellect. Sounds are shrieks as one tries to over do another in an attempt to make the point.

But that’s my rant.

My reality though is this wilderness where I am lost. No one bothers me too much in this or rather should I say that I do not get bothered by anyone or anything any more. Growing up one realises that as days go by one must accept the world around them as it is. Life becomes smoother if not simpler and makes more sense. Like I go through my daily, people around me do the same, they have their laughs, pains and so do I. A world of transactions seems to be fitting in just too well.

I am tempted to write in detail about the last two years. 2008 had come as a decisive year and I have for so long imagined that there wont be a more impactful year in my life. I cannot say that I was proven wrong but I realised that there have been moments in the last 4 years that shaped up today and in the last 2 that have created this moment of writing. 2014 was a watershed – in just over 12 months I faced extreme mental and physical hardship and one day found my self working in Pune. The roller coaster continued and suddenly in 2016 I found myself quitting the corporate world and jumping into the art world formally.

Once again in life lay in front this amazing chance of challenge. There was and is a lot to be learnt and done. And in the last year and half I have done more than what I could have imagined. I get more and more comfortable and confident about my work and am pushing the limits. If life endures me this journey will only enrich.

You know, all the problems in life come with a purpose. Bigger the purpose, bigger the problem. Because the problem prepares you for the purpose. The purposes of our lives.

I am happily lost in the wilderness.

 

 

 

1st Jan 2018.

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Lavasa ©Kartikaya Nagar
For the last couple of years, I’ve made a habit of sleeping early on December 31st..and travel on the 1st day of a new year.
Today it was Lavasa; I’d heard about its man made landscape, its crowds, shops, the dam and lake.
What I did not know was the beauty that that I was about to encounter.
Accordingly I present some visuals on the music track called Nevada by Huma Huma. The heart yearns to go back for a longer stay. Click below to see the video.
This video is shot on the iPhone7Plus with the support of the Zhiyun Smooth Q. Edited on Premiere Pro.

A Day Before The Turning Of Time

Photos from my travels
Waiting as ever ©Kartikaya Nagar

Open boxes and folded clothes. Much like memories.

He was a king at sometime. Proud he sat on his throne and on his subjects. They listened to him, prayed to his power and sought his counsel.

Love is unbound. Blind and eventful, it brought me here. I stand as proof of its madness. I was sane once.

When I looked at the world, it  came to me that I am the world.

Vanity Vanity – how much I love this.

Bring me the stars tonight. Nothing else would do.. my love.

What do you know of love?

Rush Rush!!! Take me there and take me here. Dont stop.. just take me anywhere. I need to be somewhere. I belong nowhere; I need to be somewhere. Rush Rush!!!

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

My First VLOG

I am happy to share my short film on my recent travel to Jejuri. In a moment of absolute vanity, I’d like to mention that this is shot entirely on the iPhone7Plus.  I hope you like it; please do leave comments and thoughts that could help me make this (& the ones to come) better.

Jejuri Short Film

Events by Samsara Photos
When The Land Turned Gold ©KartikayaNagar

 

When The Land Turned Gold

Events by Samsara Photos
Jejuri – The Land That Turned Gold  ©Kartikaya Nagar

50 Kms away from Pune, tucked neatly on a hillock called Jejuri is the ancient temple of Khandoba. Khandoba per legend is a manifestation of Lord Shiva and this is his main shrine in India. Khandoba is worshipped by a majority of Maharashtrians and in the modern age spiritualism finds significance in Shirdi. Apparently the priest of his temple in Shirdi bestowed the name Sai to the Sai Baba of Shirdi when he arrived in Shirdi at an age of 23.

The legend of Khandoba tells the story of 2 asuras – Mani & Malla being defeated in war by Lord Shiva in his Khandoba avatar. Also known as the Martandya Bhairav, Khanodba is seen in pictures mount on a white horse, accompanied by his wife Mhalsa and a dog.

On auspicious days in Jejuri, devotees from all around gather to pay their respects to Lord Khandoba. A 500 step climb on hard rock needs to be taken from the main entrance at the foothills to the temple. Passing by are small shops selling flowers, coconuts, incense sticks and the usual religious stuff that you need along with one things that marks the whole of Jejuri as special – Turmeric or Bhandara as it is known in the local langauge.

A drive of about 90 minutes takes one from Pune to Jejuri. And this was in peak traffic times so if one leaves early morning, it could be quicker. The foothills of the hillock is inhabited with parkings, small hotels and a series of shops on either sides of the road that leads to the first steps of the climb.

Events by Samsara Photos
Shop On The Go ©Kartikaya Nagar

Cries of Jai Malhar rang in the air as devotees began their climb. Through the way I encountered multiple small shrines and shops. All in yellow of the turmeric. Walking up the path, devotees chanted the name of Malhar and smeared the temple precincts with turmeric. Some splashed it in the air and the offering flowed down to rest on the heads of other devotees and the ground. Fervour gave way to celebration as some devotees played a yellow holi smearing the powder on each other, danced to the local dhol walas and pulled others also into the act. An hour’s walk led me to the main temple which is a magnificent structure. All around the temple are statues of Shiva, Vishnu and other deities – all bearing the colour yellow.

Events by Samsara Photos
The Song & Dance of Faith ©Kartikaya Nagar

The faithful have a way with their faith. I saw devotees praying, some getting the local pujaris to conduct special poojas for them. This is a place where dogs are treated with  respect.  Some people offered food to the dogs but not before smearing them with turmeric. And the dogs promptly shimmy shake the turmeric off them. Maybe its time for us to think more rationally.

India has been known for its occult. I saw scenes of men whipping themselves and getting into a trance. Once in the trance they would be whipped by other men and after 5 to 6 painful whiplashes be embraced by the devotees.

The occasion was festive to say the least and local folks must have made a ball as they put up temporary stalls for refreshments, souvenirs and most interestingly photo booths replete with Puneri and Maratha head wear, soft toy tigers, horses and backgrounds depicting wars.

On this trip, while I took some pictures which are here , I also shot a lot of videos on my iPhone7Plus. I will put them into a small vlog in the days to come. Meanwhile, please enjoy the pictures if you like them and leave comments in critique of the writings. Would help me improve.

Events by Samsara Photos
Devotees At Jejuri ©Kartikaya Nagar

 

 

 

 

Show Me The Money

If you have come to this post thinking that this is a rant of someone who is not making money through photography, please go away. While I am not making money from photography, I think it is a few moments (maybe months) away. And I am sticking my neck out.

Photography is easily accessible. Pick up your DSLR and you’re one. Pick up a P&S and you’re one. Pick up your phone and you’re one. Editing is simpler than ever with all the softwares around, especially the ones that play easily on our phones – snapseed, vsco et al. So all you have to do is take  picture, put some filters and send them out to the world to call you a photographer. Some apps help one traverse that journey from human to what seems to me is a Chihuahua with ears and noses.

Those who have picked the trade up professionally, will agree that in the market of averages, cost is the determining factor. No matter how good you are, if you’re in the market of averages as I call it, the amount of work you get will depend finally on the price and the pocket. The middle class wont stretch itself and especially in these trying times of the economy. Even in lucrative markets like weddings, the averages play a huge role. They seem to rationalise everything when it comes to visuals.

Then there are many who undercut. Undercutting hurts big time – both to the serious photographer and the customer. Because the one who undercuts sometimes may not get the visual; plus he/ she has taken the business away from the one who could do it. The customer’s cries are over and above.

So while I am in this happy zone making pictures and videos, drawing my heart out and preparing for some exciting personal stuff in the future, one zone in my mind is always occupied with the bills, emi’s and savings. But it is an exchange that I am happy to settle for; because when I am photographing, the world doesn’t matter at all.

In my opinion, art has to reach the middle class. They need to have access to happy pictures of their prime, their kids and parents and all this must come at affordable packages. So the philosophy of bulk might have to kick in. But that requires a strong backend. Thankfully my team and I are working on it. Speed, accuracy and art remain the essence of our services and there are enough folks in the world outside who realise that they can bring happiness to themselves by either contributing or consuming. But pay your artist promptly.

I also think an artist needs to be multifaceted. Unless I am big enough to command a Steid to make my books, I am content doing it myself. Write, read, edit, blog, sponsor, network – everything yourself.

Some awesome baby pictures coming soon. Until next time.. which should be soon.