Taking a picture — memories to cherish and an experience to savour.
I recently revisited an event that was an integral part of my growing up years...which I find the younger ones today are missing out on — the fun in the process, the joy of the result, the permanent proof, and the great memories we can visually see years later — hey I am not talking of having a baby, it’s about taking a studio portrait photograph.
So reader, visualise this with me. It is my fiftieth birthday. A small group of friends who have been with one another through times thick and thin decided it’s time we preen jointly in front of the camera, for posterity or for memories.
As I stand in front of the lights I smooth my hair down nervously and try to arrange my smile. For some strange reason it is curving downwards when I want it to arch upwards. My mouth is dry. Chin slightly down and head tilted slightly to the left. And then, the smile.
The photographer, Jana Menon, is skilled and the camera very sensitive and high end. God, I hope it does not pick up my wrinkles, I think. Please take a flattering picture, I suggest, feebly. All my friends nod vigorously echoing my wish.
We need not have worried. A giant screen in front of me lights up and we can see ourselves. My fake smile and pose had actually worked in the hands of the professional. I looked great, perhaps even better than I actually do. My portrait renews my self esteem and we cannot help but ponder on the marvels of modern digital technology as we friends drink hot coffee the studio gives us after the session is over.
Mood and emotion
Portrait photography is a term coined to bring to mind a formal setting in a controlled environment. On the contrary, a portrait portrays a mood, a moment, an emotion, an occasion.
The progress of photography from its invention in the 1830s till today has evolved to its current digital form. The very first form dates back to the early 19th Century, when America’s history was captured on film during the Civil War. The newest is digital photography.
In 1963, a Stanford University student invented a video disk camera that could take a photograph and store the image on a disk. With this, film-less technology came into existence and 1990 saw the first commercial digital camera.
The professional digital photo studio concept is for everybody. Everybody in a profession, in a family, in business.
For sure, you need a picture every time. The occasion is life itself, the mood is the moment. The moment is now. Let me explain.
You have a marriage in the family. A lot of your folks, those who you have not seen in years are now together in your city. Everyone is excited, there is bonding and there is happiness. A group photograph in all that finery would be treasured by the generation next, for years to come.
Your little daughter Tara has a twinkle in her eyes and one little tooth sticking up. Her hair curls in little ringlets over her face. She just took her first faltering step the other day. A picture for Tara of Tara from her loving Mom!
Childhood is such a fleeting moment, why not capture it?
Your son, applying to that university abroad needs a professional head and shoulders picture.
Your daughter just turned 18, in her first saree.
Your dad on his 60th birthday, resplendent in his traditional attire.
A portfolio of an aspiring model.
A professional with his best pose.
Just married photos for the publicity.
The possibilities are endless.
The final moment
Anything that is posed would be artificial, you may say. Jana Menon, the ace photographer with endless patience, explains: “The focus of the picture is not the picture itself. The photographer has to look beyond what he sees through his lens, seeking the person within. When he succeeds in identifying and drawing out the true persona of his subject, the portrait is, well, truly perfect. The final result merges the image and the emotion.”
Lighting plays a vital role in conveying the emotion. The play of colour and light can bring about a sombre picture, or transform it into what looks like a sunburst on a rainy day.
Distances, focal lengths, apertures and lighting are technical words for this skill.
The Digital Portrait has taken the first step to immortalising those special moments in your life.
For the unprepared and clueless, portrait photography can take a couple of hours to give you your best results. It’s a great way to spend a day and a great way to hold on to that elusive element called the “Present” and the Time we are in it for. Go ahead, make the most of now and freeze it forever.
Jana Menon, Portrait Specialist, Studio K can be contacted at 9840488304.