When I went for my NCA (National College of arts) admission interview back in 2006- I was showing my portfolio during the interview (which mostly consisted of my photography). Mr. Hamid Durrani (a professor at the college) who was a part of the interview panel, asked me if photography can be considered art. Before I could respond, a debate broke out between the panelists. I had a bemused expression on my face but was grateful that somebody else was doing the answering!
In the last few months, I have begun to appreciate not to present a topic or a subject in too literal a manner, but to stimulate the thinking of the observer.
A few years ago, during my visit to the US, an interesting discussion took place on NPR (National public radio). Basically the topic of discussion was that radio was a dying art in place of animation and television. There were three debaters. One of them talked about the powerful message that animation can give; another talked about the fantastic programmes that people enjoy on television; while the third one, a famous radio actor, kept quiet. When they finished talking, the radio actor asked everybody- including the audience and the panelists, to close their eyes and to listen to only what he has to say.
In a very dramatic voice, he described a pleasant scene at Lake Michigan. He described that it was a sunny and a happy day and families were spending time together. He described the sun reflecting on the water- and described every little detail. He then proceeded to narrate the following:
" Suddenly some helicopters started hovering over the lake. Everyone looked up with curious and worried expressions on their faces. The helicopters came down on the lake and sucked the water out of the lake. You could see the weed as the lake emptied up. Everyone panicked and started screaming. There were chaos. Police cars came and the police made arrests. Moments later, the very same helicopters returned- this time they had big tubes. They lowered on the empty lake and started filling it up with whipped cream. The chaos calmed down. Children became overjoyed and started running to the whipped cream amidst cries of their mothers telling them to stay back. The helicopters then started sprinkling chocolate and other flavours on the whipped cream. The children tasted the cream and exclaimed that it was delicious."
The radio actor asked everyone to open their eyes. He said that he does not know what exactly everyone had in mind when picturing whatever he said- but he guaranteed that everyone had a different picture in mind. Their thoughts and imaginations were formed by their own life experiences- who knows some might even had a 'sour' image of the whipped cream?
He then proceeded to ask the two debaters talking about animation and television- that whatever he described- wouldn't it take millions of dollars to produce and formulate all this? Would everyone's imaginations be satisfied? He said that when people see television, films or animations- they are looking at someone else's imagination.
The last trigger came from a friend who commented on the picture of a young boy that I photographed a long time ago. He said, "I wonder what this child must be thinking? Was he fascinated by your camera? Or the car you came in? Or was he curious about the clothes you were wearing? Or was he thinking that you will give him some money? ... Hmm...
How wondrous is the mind. And in this blog, I want you to walk with me and explore and celebrate the adventures of the mind.