There are many reasons why I recommend the 2013 movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I will not go into the details. Instead, I will cut to the chase and share my favourite part of the movie.
It happens to be a conversation between Sean Penn (who plays Sean O’Connell) and Ben Stiller (Walter Mitty).
Walter had gone to great lengths to find O’Connell, and after many adventure-filled incidents, he meets Sean at the top of the Himalayas. During their conversation, Sean interrupts him as they encounter a snow leopard.
Much to his dismay, Walter Mitty was surprised to see Sean not fiddling with his camera and instead of watching the snow leopard movements. It is said, the sighting of the snow leopard is rare.
The bemused Mitty asks Sean, “When are you going to take it?”
“Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it,” was Sean’s reply.
“Stay in it?”
“Yeah. Right there. Right here.”
The last few days, I have woken up to some of the best white winter mornings I have witnessed thus far in my life. I was tempted and must admit I was sucked into using my camera, clicking away what I saw.
And, then… I shut my camera and kept it aside.
There were no words or thoughts on my mind, just my eyes looking through the window and seconds later standing out on the balcony in the cold weather; I had forgotten for a brief time that I was recovering from the viral flu.
It was one such moment when I realised what a luxury it is at times to just look at the marvels of nature without the urge to share it with the world.
Clicking photos don’t cost a thing these days. It comes with our basic communication package – the smartphone. Therefore, it is not uncommon to snap the random moments we encounter without planning.
For the last few years, I have been introspecting over these questions – Why am I clicking a ‘moment’?
What separates a ‘photographic tale’ from a mere random shot?
When should I provide a narrative to my snaps, and when to leave it to others’ interpretation?
I am still in the process of concluding, or maybe I might never reach such a closure. That doesn’t bother me. However, I have realised that I love to present a moment as I view it.
The colour, contrast, the hues, brightness, the ambience, and warmth – all these aspects, I have learned by making innumerable mistakes since my mother gifted me a digital SLR in 2004. The learning process is on-going. Looking back at those errors, some have presented a different take on my subjects.
I am yet to learn how to photoshop effectively, and I believe it is a time-consuming process. Instead, the photos resort to minor image tuning whenever I feel there is a need for it.
The beauty seen through the occasionally flawed eyes of mine can be open to interpretation – but that’s another story, a story nevertheless.
The technology of viewing has evolved over the centuries – we can look at farther objects and examine the tiniest. However, when it comes to capturing the ‘moments’ around us, there is no better substitute for a pair of eyes.
My camera – well, it just helps me recollect those moments I have captured whenever I feel the need to revisit them.