Are you an Apolitical or Political Photographer? Is Politics a Part of the Picture?

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Image credits: Pon Prabharkaran Photography 

You are a wedding photographer.

When you click on the bride and groom, do you focus on just the glitz part?

I mean, would you like the photo to be just ‘more beautiful’?

Because that’s what our clients expect, right?

Many a time, you do focus on the emotion,

The parting love between the father and girl,

The bond between the mother and the bride,

You try to capture as much and then present a story to your customers, right?

But let me ask you this question…

Have you in your entire wedding photography career tried to be political?

Now, does that sound bizarre?

Because you may well ask me, why political and that too in a wedding photograph?

Let’s imagine a scenario, where a couple from two different backgrounds and castes, has won a love marriage over their families.

Would it be ‘beautiful,’ to register this story through your photograph, that here is a love that had won against all the odds?

Now it is entirely up to you to either showcase this unique love, or you can just focus on the beauty aspects, the generic bride-groom chemistry, and move on to the next wedding.

Imagine another scenario, where a first-generation entrepreneur marries to another entrepreneur. Both their families mostly consist only of doctors, teachers, and engineers. All of them are salaried professions.  But this bride and groom are different. They had braved the odds, survived in the small business that they built, and came together. Now when you try to bring all of this somehow through your photograph, that is political. You are making a statement. More than the bride and groom’s physical looks, their unique stories take the center-stage.

When your photos make a comment and imply a story, that is a political photograph.

Have you heard of Ansel Adams, a renowned environmental photographer? When countries were getting ready for the world war, Ansel was futuristic. He was focused on the mother earth. His photographs covered the most important thing – the conservation of the mother earth at a time when nobody gave a damn about Nature.

When you are political, sometimes, people don’t understand. People don’t get it, and that’s okay. But it could at times bring out the hard truth. It could be recognized, it could change situations, and it can even become a cult.

But let me tell you this, you light-up the way you like, and people fail to notice it, would you stop lighting in the same way, because people had failed to recognize your wonderful lighting? Politics, much like the other components in a photograph, is a part of the picture. But being political requires a deeper understanding of the world that we live in. Again it is a choice. You can opt to stay away from all of this. You can focus on the tool and the job that you are entrusted to. Completely your choice, but then how did the day go today? Or yesterday, or this month? Can’t you see we are all affected? Somebody eats a bat, and we are devoid of jobs. We are interconnected, interdependent. Petty politics, city politics, state politics, geopolitics, each of them affects our lives at some level. Opting to be ignorant or staying apolitical is a creative risk that you can safely avoid! And mind you, it is just a going to be a matter of time, when clients start expecting more than just glitz from a wedding photographer!

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