To make an end is to make a beginning

12/31/2014 12:24:00 PM

...For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice. - T S Eliot

Bookmaking, an art, and Self-publishing also an art, I discovered around this time 3 years back. I began my bookmaking journey with a short coffee table book dedicated to jewels of the Cold deserts, in this case, from Nubra Valley of one of my favorite place on earth, Ladakh. I did not know how to even write a forward then, and so I very smartly skipped it all and let the images do the talking. My  unwillingness to take part in over the top publicity and flooding the social media, may have not given me much monetary benefits but that wasn't the result I was wanting to achieve in this tedious ( i figured) process. But it taught me a lot about how I should look at art, a creation. I realized why mother nature, didn't just leave us looking like manikins, still as statue and with no skills to express.

A travel is not complete until you tell the story. all those emotions that you feel are to be expressed if not those weren't deep enough, or important really. Photography, sketching, painting, pottery or any art for that matter, is also telling a story, and that story should be complete. it should have an end, a thread that breathe us in to a new beginning. that's how affectionate bookmaking has been to me since, It is that fondness with which I am fastened to each and every article, every image of mine. A million thoughts and an indefinite amount of time, that I spent in its conception, and not seeing the end is like never seeing a baby after carrying it in your womb for nine long months.

One of the most viewed article on this blog is Dhanushkodi, a small island block in southern india, more than just another place, actually, and from what I experienced, standing in the shallow waters at the merging point of Indian ocean and Bay of Bengal, the time stood still. When I wrote the article, I don't think I felt so deeply connected to it. Something seemed to be missing there, that disconnection, mixed with my disappointment over seeing such living conditions made me vary from whatever i captured in imagse and words, I looked through images many a times, sit for hours try to feel what story they're telling me but all I found in my head was a zero.

Like most of my work is, out in an impulse, i.e these thoughts that would run away in seconds if I don't sketch 'em, 2 nights back, I decided I did need to end few things, and one of 'em looked like this.

Dhanuskodi : 

preview only shows first 15 pages of the book.

An auto took us to the tip of the island, from there began a long stretch of grey white sand, with a pinch of pink & yellow, holding it on to the ground were shrubs, few of 'em that I had seen in the plains of Uttar pradesh and dry hills of Madhya pradesh and Rajasthan. There were clouds and sun sparkling from behind em and then they' were both gone. half the stretched we boarded those trailers and rest we walked, walked to the end of it, didn't realize, feel the heavy tan and burnt skin until the end of the journey. Whatsoever I came across, I photographed. Sometime the light was perfect, other times it was worse than bad. But I do not remember anything but just me trying to seeing the signs of life and whichever direction I saw 'em I turned my feet in that direction. birds, ponies playing in the water, feeding on the colorless grass that i doubt was edible, hen hiding, behind the dilapidated buildings, or the remnants of 'em, the harsh shadow made 'em eerie if those weren't already. white shining fish in the slide, the little skeletons both pinched and caressed my bare feet, as I walked, on the peninsula. There were no ghosts, There were people, living there, It was home for some, still.

I haven't analyzed or put forth my expert opinion about life, in the book, there are just images. I couldn't have much interactions with people that I photographed, it was one-way rather. eyes may have met, they would have thought about me for a second and then moved on to living their regular lives. May be I want to confront I was incapable to decipher how life is, the way world is run, or may be I was sympathetic and sad for them and let others know, or may be it was just gratitude I wanted to express for the life I am living, One emotion that I lived w/ for 5 years and I am now ready to be parted with.

Kerala in Portraits :

preview only shows first 15 pages of the book.

We all, in our own twisted way, hold on to something dear to us, if not that, why would we write superlatives about little things we experience and create, call it passion. As an artist, as a person, there is nothing that makes me feel as good as seeing that attachment and madness in the eyes of someone somewhat like me. Portraits for me are not sketching, living-beings in to interesting lines and curves its that 2 sentences that we exchanged when our eyes met. Its that interaction is what, that will play in my mind when I look back at that photograph again and again. We both are receivers, but perhaps as a photographer, I am luckier because I get to keep & share that moment w/ me in more than one way.

In Dhanushkodi, I saw life, in its bare minimum, and that is all I could share. I have no idea they were having fun, or what they do to have fun, beach trekking like me is their daily routine. Here I arrive in this small village of tripunithura, and I see some crazy people happily walking barefoot on this hot coal road carrying pounds of colorful ensembles. they're definitely like me. crazy. for art. for what they love. for what is their treasure.

A Unique experience of seeing an Old Lady Artist, fasting for more than a month performing a ritual for god, in her very subtle moves, a Theyyam,  The Atham parade, and also Sometime spent in another new year carnival in Kochi, is what inspired me to make this book. In no way it is everything that I saw, in no way it will satiate you, but I am sure, this will give you few moments of imagination, a dream of making it the god's own country, and witnessing the folk art coming alive.

Ladakh v2 :

preview only shows first 15 pages of the book.

Last but not the least, I was long hoping to commit the updates on this book. When I published this book in 2012, I wanted to just put it out there as a glimpse, of the land, how I saw it. I selected few images, and actually instagrammed it, "must have been hip about it then" though careful the print quality turned out bad, and I was very unhappy. but I was procrastinating, as most of the people bought the ebook I was okay, just leaving a note on the print book description. But it had to be done.

This book mostly has new images, w/ only a very few from the prev. version perhaps, my objective is still not changed, As I said in my last post, I do want to write Ladakh, not just publish images, So this will take you to the land of lamas on another visual journey, just exactly v1. did. but only if you order print, you'll get a stunning little coffee table book. Check it out and not to forget, thank you blurb for helping me out with this.

I was also not very happy with another book I made, I felt I went a little overboard and stuffed too many images, That book was "Vaishno devi" and though It was dear to me, I had to delete it from the store, its in the itunes, until I come up with the new book, which will happen soon hopefully. 3 Years, the craft, and I think I can give it the shape that this spiritual journey really deserve.

As tedious as this craft of 'photo' book making is, and not just one penned are, if you think so, I have not done it for the money. to be honest I haven't even received a fraction back in $$$ for the time I have spent conceptualizing them all, and its true for gallery of images and plethora of articles as well. printing is costly, for a 4X6 too and this I can tell you because I do print images for me at home these days. put aside the print cost, what is the value of the image one has created, its a matter of debate, and thats not one I ever want to get in to. I value my work, and want it to be solely my decision on what I want to give away free as teaching / sharing of knowledge or what I want to do business of. These books are expensive for some, a few but affordable as well, for documentaries I am trying to use trade books with economy color print for affordable prices, so more folks can own 'em. the ebooks will be available on itunes soon if not there already. Having said that, its no obligation at all, the preview is free, so enjoy it, share it, send me the feedback, and you'd contribute enough for the work I am passionate about, and help me move a step further in the direction I have chosen.

As Charles Kuralt has said "The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” Thank you for supporting me, Thank you for listening to me, reading my articles, praising or criticizing my images, my insane thoughts, & unrealistic goals and dreams, thanks for being around. I thank you all from bottom of my heart.

I am doing what I am really scared about, things I feel I can't do, and I want to continue doing that come the new year. All I want to wish for you, is to do the same, Make your mistakes, next year, forever. Happy New Year. See you in 2015.

You Might Also Like


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.