This was the photo of Konark sun Temple Odisha which I took in my recent visit there. I had joined a group tour to visit Puri, Bhubaneshwar and Konark Sun Temple. Konark temple was built in 12th Century AD . It is a classic representation of Kalinga style architecture. The magnificent structure on a raised platform and the carvings on the outer panel are awe inspiring. When we reached there it was morning around 10 am. The sun was up in the sky with a foggy atmosphere around. There were lot of people/ tourists visiting on that day. We entered the temple complex and I took out my camera to take photographs of this magnificent and beautiful structure. But every angle I took, lot of tourists were getting into the frame. I was not able to take the shots that I wanted. I had preconceived, how I should take shots, when I see the temple and that was not happening, simply because of crowd around. I got irritated, fretted a lot and was visibly frustrated. Still I took some shots, completed the tour and came back to hotel. When I saw the snaps on Camera screen, I was not that happy. My preconceived notions probably have spoiled the day. I remembered a comment made by my wife during the tour of the temple – this is the reality and it is your skill to capture shots within this crowd and chaos.
Then I remembered you tube video that I had seen sometimes back. It was by Allister Ben. The link of the video is below.
In this video he talks about how to improve your photography in just 45 seconds. Being an amateur photographer, I see lot of videos on you tube to learn. This claim itself intrigued me and I saw the video. In the initial part of the video, he says that he is not going to give any technique, any camera trick/hack to improve photography, but something different. He says that when you are taking photos just ask yourself a question- “Am I enjoying this?” This looks a simple question but I realized that it is a profound question. It can unearth the motivation behind an activity that you are doing. When you take a photograph lot of activities are involved here. Deciding a destination for taking photographs, planning a and booking a journey, packing your gear and other essentials for the travel, Actual travel to the destination may be by road, rail or aeroplane, reaching the destination and start doing photography. Am I enjoying all these activities. If not, why I am doing these? What is the motivation for taking photographs?
Any activity that we do is for becoming happy. Is it not? A human being tries to find joy. If we ask this question then I think we can be clear in our mind what is the motive behind this particular activity. Does it mean that we should only follow our joy? Am I suggesting to neglect our duties? How can one acquire skills, competencies if one is not disciplined and only focusses on joy instead of practice, to become proficient in a competency or skill. Am I advocating hedonism here?
When you ask a question am I enjoying what I am doing- it takes you into deeper waters. It can help us understand ourselves better the motive behind the activity we are performing. It can remind us the goal we want to achieve through this activity. It can unravel so many layers of our thought process to make us realize our inner cravings. Someone may ask what about practice – to do a thing repetitively to acquire mastery over a particular craft, subject or sports. This involves patience and endurance to reach at the required level of mastery. I think here also the question is useful. During practice which is often considered as drudgery if we ask Am I enjoying this? We may get to the motivation behind why we are doing this practice. Once we understand ourselves better, we will be able to enjoy the practice also.
In a way this is a great self-coaching question which opens doors to our inner world and thereby may help us understand ourselves better.
What do you think? Do let me know.
“Get yourself out of the way and let joy have more space” Rumi.