This story has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time now. Partly because I was trying to put the words in a satisfactory way, and partly because I couldn’t find a good enough title for it. This morning, I decided it best to just call it what it is, the story of a photographer, a poet!
Hope you all enjoy, let me know in the comments what you think!
[ 974 words. | 5 minutes. ]
I associated myself with the photographers’ club in my college around the time when I was finishing my second year of study. It was a small group of twenty-seven students including me, all from various years. We used to gather every Tuesday and Friday after class hours in the top floor auditorium. Most members brought their latest pictures with them to share with the rest. They told stories, experiences and interesting tips relating to those pictures. In the seven months of my membership, I had shared only sixteen pictures of my own, all received with enthusiasm and sometimes useful creative criticism. The best part of the group was that it was not limited to photography. Some of us brought art with them, sketches, paintings, and even some craft work. But the major focus was always photography.
And as we all know, in anything involving a group of people, there’s always someone who seems to have been cast from a different mold altogether. The photographers’ club was no exception. There was this girl among us, who only did film photography. She had a classic Nikon FM2, along with a couple of wide angle prime lenses that she carried around with her almost everywhere. As for sharing her pictures, she brought along with her these large prints to be propped on the canvas stands – are they really called ‘canvas stands’? Let me know in the comments!
Anyways, she had two nicknames among the group members. The senior members used to call her the Poet, while the juniors resorted to call her a rich bitch! I preferred to refer to her by her first name only. Not trying to be degrading in my opinion about her, but she did fit both the extremes.
On one hand, her pictures always had a dark aura about them. There was mostly a single light source illuminating the subject in the frame, and whatever she wanted the viewer to focus on. They had a touch of human-ness about them. The graininess we associate with film photography was always there too; adding the sort of naturalness you’d expect in a low-light image. On the other hand, she went to ridiculously extravagant lengths for her pictures. Maybe that’s how she managed to get her ideas on print so perfectly, or maybe that’s how she went broke by the end of her four years in college, we’ll never know.
As I said, the poet was rather obvious in her personality as well as in her pictures. So obvious in fact, that once an elder member challenged her to do something with a wine glass. She took up the challenge, but we didn’t see her again for the next three weeks. I thought she felt offended and had left for good, when one fine evening, I entered the auditorium to find a new picture propped up beside the stage and I instantly knew it was hers.
A wooden table, partially covered with a white cloth, apparently linen. A single bright candle on a glossy candlestick illuminated the scene, and a pristine white rose lay face down at its feet. A bloody liquid made a rather gruesome stain on the linen and on the petals of the rose. Following the stain, the viewer would find the subject of the frame and the source of the liquor, a wine glass. It was cracked from the stem up, though the cracks somehow didn’t extend all the way to the edges. Anyone who knows how glass breaks would be thoroughly perplexed by the partial cracks. The red wine in it was seeping slowly through the cracks and down onto the linen.
She was the first one to go up on the stage to tell us about the picture. But someone in the group didn’t have the patience. “Is that real glass?” One of the recent joiners asked as soon as she was up on the stage.
“Yes,” she said out loud, “why? Does it not look like it?”
“No, that’s not what I meant. It’s just that, getting that kind of a cracked effect would have been easier with a acrylic cup too, you know! Glass falls apart once cracked. How did you manage to get those partial cracks on the glass anyway!”
“I guess you just have to try enough times. And I did want to get as authentic a look as possible, plastic cracks won’t catch the light just like glass. The worst part, plastic might bend permanently, ruining the general shape of the glass.” The last bit she added with a slight smirk, letting everyone know that she had tried it too.
Up until that day, I had only brought up my experiments with photography to the group, took in the criticism, and answered anything that they had to ask. Seeing that no one else was going to address the elephant in the room, I stood up and uttered my first ever question in more than seven months.
“How many?” I asked.
“How many what?”
“Um…How many glasses did you ruin to get those cracks?”
“I lost count, maybe thirty-something,” she replied nonchalantly. Then seeing that everyone was waiting for some form of explanation, she added, “After the thirty-fifth, I gave up and used superglue to fill up parts of the cracks, then used a sharp knife to peel off the excess glue.” The hall went silent, and one by one, as everyone visualized the process, they started laughing.
“What does this picture symbolize?” I just had to know.
“It represents the abhorrent human desire to hold onto things even when they know it’ll only cause hurt. And also the lengths one goes to put together things that aren’t meant to, ruining everything else in the process. It might appeal to the masses, but the self is the only one in jeopardy.”– The Photographer; The Poet!
Image obtained from google images; manipulated on Photoshop.
Read a similar story – Divergent Inspiration.