January 2003, a decade before owning my first smart phone, I borrowed a digital camera from the school’s documentation cell. While the main objective was to photograph my drawings & models, I may have spent nearly a week in blissful abandonment, playing with the new-found high-tech toy.
The only time I’d dabbled in photography before was nearly four years earlier: playing with a borrowed manual SLR loaded with a B&W film roll. I felt it to be an expensive affair then.
This time, however, there was no limit: not on the number of clicks, neither on the filters simultaneously rendering the pictures, nor on the synchronization of the body & the tool.
The third freedom – afforded by the movable viewer pivoted out of the camera’s body – was perhaps the most exciting feature for me. More intimidating than the cost of buying & developing films, even if one managed to work with borrowed cameras, was the purists’ pandemonium for proficiency in particulars and the oneness of the artist and the medium.
Not only did the eye didn’t have to be plugged into the camera’s viewer, their alignment too could be completely independent from that of the camera lens and the subject. I could capture new perspectives: grazing the floor, high up in the room, stretched way out of the balcony and so on.
Another source of joy was the fact that I didn’t have to seek approval or validation or critique from anyone regarding my processes. I was learning by doing, failing and repeating. There was a sense of fearlessness & accomplishment in being on my own with a unique tool.