It’s been a really long time since I wrote the last post. I had kept you all waiting and I must admit, I missed the joys of expressing myself and my stories through pictures. My deepest and heartfelt apologies for that 😦 but some other works had left me no time to think freely, and as you know when I write these stories, I put all my emotions and want to express how it really felt when I took the photo. But you see, when the mind is preoccupied with the daily stress, it is hard to give your best shot. Thankfully, I am a bit settled now. And I think, I will use this opportunity to rise from the ashes and start again 😉 (LOL, was that poetic or did it sound like a scene from a war? 😀 ) But, today’s post is not going to be like what I write about normally. There’s a thing that has been boggling my mind for the last couple of months. And, that’s exactly what I am gonna write about today. Let’s call it : Projekt Generosity (hehe 🙂 I know the name sounds as if it was taken straight from a Linkin Park album, but naah … it really is very simple!)
But, before I even begin talking about this so called Projekt Generosity, I have some subtle questions for you. What comes to your mind when you think of the word Freedom? What comes to your mind when suppose, you are sitting somewhere far away from the madness of the world and you close your eyes and feel the gentle breeze hissing through your hair and think you are free? I know, different people will have different stories of how they think and feel when they are free. Now, as I write I just can’t help but chuckle at one of my sweet-toothed friend who once told me, he thought he was free every time he had an ice-cream 😀 That’s quite funny, isn’t it? But I digress. To get back to what I was saying, what do you think can Projekt Generosity be all about? Well, to keep it straight and simple, its about being generous. Its about being free and seeing more people enjoy and smile from your work. But how do I achieve that? I definitely don’t know if there’s a hard and fast formula to make people happy. But as I earlier said, what boggled me from quite a time was if I should really be using watermarks on photos. For all these years, I had been watermarking my images whenever I uploaded them online. But now as I think of the past, I admit that watermarking is a way of living in fear that someone would steal your picture. Just before making a decision, I asked some of my Photographer friends what their view was about using watermarks. To my surprise, each one of them still insisted on using watermarks. When I asked them, “But why?“. They said, “someone will steal your pictures and say that to be theirs’.” Maybe they still lived in a fear, or maybe I didn’t care. Whatever it was, I am happy to be making this decision. I have a small story to tell you, which further made me think how a photo could really connect with someone.
Some days ago, my internet connection wasn’t working. And since I had some emergency work that really needed an internet connection, I had to go to an Internet cafe outside. (Internet Cafes, as they are called here in India, are shops where you can access the internet for a valid time by paying an amount of money. I think they exist everywhere, maybe with a different name.) As I was almost done with my work, I remembered that I had to download some of my pictures from my gallery. Just when I was about to be finished, I browsed through those pictures one last time. It was then that the young kid, the owner of the internet cafe stood beside me and glanced at the pictures from a safe distance. On one instance, he asked me to stop. I wondered what happened to him. It was a picture of a dog that I had taken on one of my trips to Shimla. I asked him what happened. He then told me his story. He had lost his parents in an accident when he was mere 3-years old. And he told me that he didn’t have many friends, but he had a best friend, a faithful dog that strikingly resembled to the one in the pic. From a 5-year kid to an almost 17-year old young lad, he had that dog as his only friend, and it was only recently, a year ago that the dog passed away. I could sense the happiness in his eyes as he looked at the picture on the monitor. His eyes glistened with the small tears that had rolled up his eyes. I just wondered how one could connect to a picture so well. Photographs surely had the power to move and thread hearts together. He hesitatingly asked if he could have the picture as a wallpaper on all the computers. He would want to treasure the pic forever. It was then for the first time, that I thought about the wall that a watermark could create between these tender connects. As I didn’t have the non-watermark picture with me at that time, I had to apologise. I asked if he wanted the one that I had at that very moment, and he happily agreed. As a goodwill gesture, I got the non-watermarked image printed on a A4 sized photographic paper and went to the same cafe the next day to gift him. This time it was my turn to wet my eyes when I found all the 14 computers had the wallpapers of the image I gave him the day before. Wow! It really meant so much to him. I gifted him the photograph and even till today, he probably treasures the picture.
Talking about Photography and how it connects us, I was watching a video on TED by David Griffin, the photo Director for National Geographic. The video moved me. It showed how photographs can really make a connect with people, and also how unique a story can be which otherwise can never be explained. I would recommend you watch this video. On a closing note, here are just a few things that crossed my mind when I think of not watermarking my images. There maybe people who may like an image so much that rather than asking me for a print, they may print it themselves. I say, “Go ahead !!” Maybe they have very little money to ask for a large sized print. Or maybe, they are just fans who appreciate the work so much. On a personal note, I had even earlier stated that I take Photography as an art. And every artist would want his/her work to be shared and enjoyed. So go ahead and feel free to share and/or use my images as wallpapers, on your blogs or wherever you want. You can download them in high-resolution from my DeviantArt Gallery. Its just a small wish that you link to Hopping Across Cultures. I believe the world is full of people who will respect the time, effort and finances to produce an image. I would just like to state that all images that were taken prior to 2012 may contain the watermarks (although, I will try to find and upload the original non-watermarked images.) Once again, thank you so much for supporting me with your wonderful messages and comments. Enjoy and make the world a better place. Peace!