Photography - Internal impression of an external world

Generation gap - Grandfather and grandson ambling on Alibaug beach. I fill the gap therein!
Generation gap - Grandfather and grandson ambling on Alibaug beach. I fill the gap therein!

For a major part of the last couple of years I have experienced something that I would like to call as 'the 500px burnout'. I have been following and consuming a number of trending photos, learning a plethora of post-processing tools and techniques in my pursuits to try and imitate the resultant hyper-real dynamic ranges and the surreal scenes. As a result my Lightroom side panel is loaded with a lot of presets churned out by these famous photographers. I even got some nice imitation shots and felt elated with my 'accomplishment'.

I relished the instant gratification in the number of likes and favorites on my timeline. And then the inevitable happened. After a few weeks those photos gradually faded away near the bottom of the timeline and they were nothing more than an imitated rendering of something by someone else. And suddenly most of those images, which gave me immense joy earlier, no longer felt gratifying at all. I did not feel happy for having made those images and something was seriously lacking in those images. I tried to find out what was that something that I yearned for. I scanned through my entire image archives again and again, only to experience that glimmering satisfaction in some of the images, and just a dull sense of imitation in others. However, I could not pin-point the difference between these two differing set of emotions associated with my images; as to why

some images that were seemingly less successful earlier continued to be more gratifying even after they had seemingly faded well into the oblivion.

It was only later that I found a common theme in all those images that gave me continued joy and satisfaction even after the passage of time. In all those images, I could clearly remember the emotion and sentiment that went into making of those images. The place, the people and the moments behind those images are very vivid, deliberate and personal oblivious to the influence and approval of the external world. Those images were made in a particular frame of mind, the frame that was inspired by just 'being there'. There was no external motivation and influence to making of those images, but rather a completely internal process driven by my own vision or my own impression of that moment.

It is only when we learn to be completely oblivious to all the external influence and consistently respond only by listening to the inner self that we can identify a distinct style and vision in our photographs that we so fondly yearn for.

And, I am still learning and yearning!