Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photojournalism - Art and reality

I think there is a photojournalist hidden in all of us photographers. There is a small part of us who wants to throw away all the lights and gizmos and just go out there and shoot life. Photography is the medium closest to reality; at least it was the case some years back. All the fashion and lifestyle shoots won’t give the same adrenaline rush as capturing an important moment in history. Something that you will look back on in future and think, now this can’t be duplicated, it is something priceless. I always dream about being at the right place at the right time, and also having the perfect settings on my camera of course. My favorite images have always been the ones I shot on the streets of India. The colors, the characters, and the power it conveys make it special and unique. I wish I went out more onto the streets. There are so many stories out there to be captured. After all, in the end, we are all story tellers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Zen

Lately, I have this strong feeling of being cluttered. A state of confusion where there is just too much information to process. I think that this has a lot to do with the amount of time I spend on the internet. I access the internet from work, which makes it around 9 hours of aimless browsing (I am good at multi-tasking :D). Once I return home at around 7pm, I come online for three more hours. That is 13 hours in a day. Wow, I just realized how many hours I spend each day online. That would be around 80 hours per week, 320 hours per month, 3840 hours per year. That is around 160 days of browsing every year, almost half the year, I am online. I have just calculated that figure at this very moment, and that number is driving me bonkers. So much of information input, majority of which I have no requirement of, the sole purpose of which is to pass my time.

This in turn affects the lifestyle. You constantly require some or the other form of stimulus, be it movies, music or anything similar. I am planning to tone down the amount of information I gather. I have been reading a blog on Zen habits. http://zenhabits.net/ I usually don’t read self-help or motivational book. (I find them to be a bunch of horse manure) But this one has advice on what to keep and what to throw away. So Project Zen is off the ground. I have listed 5 main interests. They are not in any order.1. Professional Photography.2. Travel.3. Health.4. Friends and family.5. Guitar&movies. (couldn’t really chose one)From now on, each day would be focused on these 5 interests and if I have spare time(which I am sure I will have tons of) then I would branch out to other sub interests, which are aplenty. More on the progress in the next post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Adrian Lyne’s Lolita - Review

I looked and looked at her, and I knew, as clearly as I know that I will die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth. She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago - but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man's child. She could fade and wither - I didn't care. I would still go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of her face” Humbert realizes towards the end of the movie “Lolita”.

A controversial novel and a good adaptation into the silver screen, Adrian Lyne’s Lolita shows us a man’s illogical, desperate passion. The frozen stare on Humbert’s face when he sees Dolores 'Lolita' for the first time to the desperate attempts to isolate her from the world; the needy and disgusting love is conveyed powerfully by Humbert. Dominique Swain as Dolores “Lolita” is the star of this movie, for you understand why Humbert can stoop to such lows for a skinny, young teenager. She was 15 years at the time of filming the movie and I wonder how no one got arrested for all the love scenes in the movie. Her vivacious, childlike nature contradicts with the sexual tones throughout the movie. A sexually mature woman in an adolescent’s body is how I would describe her character.

The strangest thing about this movie is that you root for the couple to stay together. Maybe it is out of pity for Humbert, a character who really should not deserve any pity or maybe you are just looking for a happy ending in the story. In the real world you wouldn’t think twice before sending an old pervert to prison for the same offence.

A thought provoking and at the same time engrossing, the movie twists your morals in a few knots for a couple of hours. Such movies are rare to find.

4/5

Thursday, August 6, 2009

guilty for life?

http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=81951&title=See%20no%20evil

The Article in 7days


"When it comes to celebrities who have committed nasty crimes, why does the world of showbusiness seem to turn a blind eye and still employ them, asks Jane Plunkett
Anyone who goes to see the new comedy by Todd Phillips, ‘The Hangover’, will no doubt leave the cinema with a huge smile on their face - it’s a very funny film. Any woman who has been abused that sees the same film however, may not leave the theatre in such high spirits.
Starring prominently in the film is controversial boxer Mike Tyson, who, apart from biting the ear off fellow boxer Evander Holyfield, is also a convicted rapist.
It’s baffling how someone who has violently destroyed the dignity of another human being, can - because of his celebrity - continue to cash in on his famous name.
Dubai-based businesswoman, Rachel, is one person who can’t fathom this. Rachel was sexually assaulted when she was 17 years old.
“When you’ve been attacked sexually you never lose the fear that what happened could happen again. As much as you move on with your life you never forget how you felt when you were attacked,” says Rachel.
“I can imagine if I saw the man who attacked me continue to receive adoration from fans and land roles in big films I’d be very angry.
It’s almost like rubbing in the fact that they’ve hurt and disrespected you and, as dramatic as it sounds, haunted your life, yet their life hasn’t changed and they continue to be popular when they’re the guilty party.
“Fair enough, you have to forgive people and that person could be haunted by what they’ve done and paid their penance, but it makes you question mankind when fans can continue to idolise a person that’s committed such a heinous crime.”
According to Roghy McCarthy, a psychologist at the Counselling and Development Clinic in Dubai, allowing a convicted rapist to appear in a film gives out the message that if you are a celebrity you can get away with anything - that you’re above the law.
“This is a very bad message for teenagers especially, who idolise certain actors or sports stars. It gives out the message that if you’re famous and you do something wrong - nobody can touch you,” says Roghy.
Reshel Shah, production assistant at D-Seven Motion Pictures in Dubai and co-ordinator of The Scene Club (
www.thesceneclub.com) feels that everybody, despite fame, should be questioned for their actions.
But she admits that the reality is big businesses, especially in places like Hollywood, only care about making money - not what might be ethically right or wrong.
“When celebrities do wrong they appear in the media even more and this makes their name even more famous,” says Reshel.
“Mike Tyson has been in the papers for 101 things - so for many production companies the fact that he is a household name makes him a viable option for a part in a movie.”
So it’s just a money game? “Remember, it’s show-business at the end of the day - not show art,” she says.
“Of course responsible morals would be great, and I am sure there are some who believe in that - but it’s usually just about bringing in a big audience.”
When asked how he would feel about acting beside a convicted rapist, Dubai-based amateur actor and health psychologist Ron Villejo says it’s a hard call.
“I would want to think long and hard about it. As far as I know Mike Tyson was convicted, spent time in jail and finished his sentence - so he has paid his dues as we say. In that sense I might not have such a strong issue with him being cast.” says Ron.
“If I were a woman however, Mike Tyson is a big guy, very imposing and with a criminal history - I might not be too comfortable around him.”
Having lived in star-struck America for many years Ron notes that people tend to forget crimes very quickly.
“You can commit the most awful crime, pay your dues, and it seems like Americans will be overcome with amnesia and continue to celebrate you as a sports figure or actor, despite the crime,” says Ron. "

While, I understand the sensitivity of the issue from point of someone who might have been abused, what I do not understand is the logic behind this article.
Mike Tyson has served his sentence, which was determined without bias by a US court. The article did not mention any objection to the length of the sentence or the severity of the sentence. So the question regarding whether justice was served does not arise.
The article finds fault with the fact that Mike Tyson after serving his sentence, continues to lead a normal life, with the fact that he is making money as a celebrity, as one of the most popular boxers in recent history. I find that argument faulty. If Jane Plunkett's issue is with the fact that Mike Tyson who as a convicted rapist was able to return to society, then she should have put across her argument against the court judgment.
Much is written about the plight of convicts who are unable to adjust back into society after serving their term. Many people who are convicted of minor crimes are unable to find a job because of their records being black listed by the conviction. We call our jails "correctional institutions" for a reason. If the convicts are not reformed, the issue is with the judiciary system.
Fans have always turned a blind eye towards the antics of their idols. Michael Jackson's death wasn't that long back, was it? Perhaps she has chosen the wrong celebrity to vent upon. Jane Plunkett could have written about someone like Salam Khan who did not spend much jail time even after being convicted, or take another angle to the judiciary system and write about the plight of undertrials in India who spend years in jail without being proven guilty or innocent.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Six degree of separation

I was reading one of my favorite blogs when I came across the term “six degree of separation”. This person has put out his message to the world that he wants to shoot a portrait of Coldplay and Pdiddy. The attempt is to actualize the theory of six degree of separation; that every person on this planet is just six steps away from every other person in the planet i.e. If your friend is one step away from you and your friend’s friend is two steps away from you, then the Queen of England is just six steps away from you.
It is wonderful to know that all the people you idolize are just 6 steps away from you. The tough part is to find the right path to take those vital six steps. If I were to use the six degree approach I would choose the following people to meet.

1. David Gilmour: Lead singer and guitarist for the Pink Floyd, I was hoping to take my guitar playing skills to the next level. Perhaps he can teach me a riff or two, or maybe give me tips how to do those freaky bends and phasing.

2. Morgan freeman: He is a late bloomer and I haven’t reached my peak of abilities just yet. It would be great to get pointers from him on what signs to look out for, of my impending greatness. On the side, he could also give me some vocal classes.

3. Ansel Adam: I know he is dead, but I don’t mind taking an extra step or two into the spirit world. All those online tutorials about his zone system for exposure are not enlightening enough. If he could prepare a workshop for me on the Zone system, I would, in return, give him some classes about digital photography.

4. Lalu Prasad Yadav: My management education wouldn’t be complete without a session with the enigma called Lalu. The village bumpkin who turned around the largest rail system in the world is highly underestimated. He might have been greatly popular with the media with his antics, but no one would have given him a rat’s ass of a chance to handle the Indian railways. A few lessons from him would keep in good stead when I start my own enterprise sometime in future.

5. Monica belluci and Laetitia Casta together: I haven’t decided what I will ask them, yet. For the time being, the objective would be to see them in person and drool.

More names to follow......

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Music and the man

Does a person’s personal life affect the manner in which his/her music is perceived? The past few days have seen this question pop up in my brain frequently. The king of pop is dead, his legions of loyal fans exhort the media and the masses to show some respect for his genius as an artist. Most people are unable to detach Michael’s apparently sub-human behavior from his musical talents.
Ironically most musicians look at their music as an expression of who they are. The vibrant music of the 70’s and 80’s come to mind. Lennon’s fervor against the war seeped through into his music. He used his music as a weapon against the US government who found him an annoying threat and tried their best to get rid of him, deportation being one of the means.
Jimi Hendrix wasn’t as vocal as Lennon about the war, but some of his songs do come to mind, namely machine gun and his version of the national anthem. The rolling stones’s notoriety and misbehavior lend more color to their music.
My perspective on this topic is subjective. If I like an artist’s personality and message, I might give their music a try; on the other hand if I like a person’s music, I might ignore their character flaws. In the end, music is the winner.