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No more bad photos

Russell at In Search of a Life Less Ordinary ran a fun competition once upon a time based on bad photos. Part of the rules stated ::
  1. Pick one bad photo from your travel experiences or expat adventures (‘bad’ in terms of poorly taken, over-exposed, or simply very dated).
  2. Share that bad photo and explain why you wish you could recapture that moment again.

All of the pictures demonstrate me in a harried state.  They were all taken in the time between knowing we needed to leave India and the time that we could announce that we WERE leaving India. I was desperate to capture every little thing that explained the experience that I had been given.  I wanted to soak it all up and keep it forever, in case it was erased the minute I boarded the flight for home.

If I could do it over though, I would realize that what makes the memory is not the actual “click” of the photo (or the push of the camera button on the phone).  What makes the memory is the association of your time and energy, and how that connects to the image that was captured.

All of the photos that you saw above were moments that were meaningful to me for so, so many reasons … yet because of the quality you would never know it.

When I don’t take time to follow through with an intention with quality … quality to match the integrity of the moment, it is all lost.

At first glance you see four people on a motorbike.  Common in India, but a classic photo that visitors to the country take, because it’s abnormal in other parts of the world.  [What I should have paused to capture was the laughter of these little ones on the back of this bike.  What I missed because I was paying very little attention was the uproarious laughter that then followed from the bike master]

This guy worked tirelessly near our home preparing lunch for the nearby shop owners, construction workers, etc.  I stealthily caught this photo on my camera phone as I walked the littles to the playground, when instead I could have taken the time to ask permission for a photo and captured the moment in a much better light.

So much happens at this corner and if I would have stopped for two minutes and asked Kushal to let me out, I would have captured a much more interesting vignette of this intersection.

4 steps to the right or left and I could have been witness to a story of how this man makes his living every day, or even if I had stayed another 10 minutes, I could have found out the story of the customer as well.  Was this a favorite place to stop for lunch, or was it his first time?  How long had the vendor been selling on this corner.  More importantly to the story of what I missed … WHAT was he even selling?  I need to stop longer, if I want the story behind the photo.

The blue village near Vasant Kunj.  The slum that was covered up during the Commonwealth Games of 2010.  My favorite place to people watch.  This is — I am embarrassed to say — the best photo I have of one of my favorite places in Delhi.  [Why did I not ever take the time to walk through, take some photos and introduce myself?]

For all of those reasons, and so many more … I wish I could capture the moments again.

India is a country that is extreme and rich in its experiences, moments, culture, family and even in its idiosyncrasy.

To understand it without having lived there is impractical.

Trying to understand it while living there is ridiculous.

To attempt to understand it after you’ve left feels impossible.

One of the things that India taught me is to be more intentional with my photographs and to take more time, to pause, and get the entire story.  I hope I can put it into practice more now that I’ve left.