Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words

So right before I started my new job, I went and did a silly thing. I joined a weekend photography class. The class was for four hours and it was two hours away, which effectively meant that I would spend all seven days working eight hours or more. So anyways, right before the class started, I freaked out because my schedule meant that I would hardly see Thom. So guess what? I made him take the photography class with me. Ha!

So Thom loves photography as well, but I don't think that he  would have voluntarily taken a weekend class for it while he was also working. But he was an awesome sport about it and for the past three weeks, we have been trudging our weary and sorry behinds all the way across town for the most insanely awesome photography class ever. I love it and so does Thom. It may be just that he doesn't know it yet.

So our teacher is the photojournalist who shot these picture.

Near Kabul, 2003: This photograph of a girl shying away from the camera was made at a refugee camp.
Kashmir, 2005: A Kashmiri boy receives treatment after he was injured in the 2005 earthquake.  No fl ashes were allowed for photographers. Here, the shadows of a US soldier and detainee are cast on a wall after a raid. 
Kabul, 2003: Afghan war widows are seen walking in a queue to get their monthly rations. Photograph/Arko Sutta, Reuters
Kabul, 2003: Afghan war widows are seen walking in a queue to get their monthly rations. 
Mumbai, 2005: Several people, including seven children were killed in a stampede after rumours spread about a lake bursting its bank. Here, a man is seen carrying the body of his three-year-old nephew. 
Baghdad, 2003: During one of the raids conducted by the US army for suspected Saddam Hussein loyalists.
And then, there is this picture of a woman crying in agony after finding her relative’s body post the 2004 tsunami in India. He won the World Press Photo Award 2005 for this picture.

Of all his pictures, Arko is perhaps remembered most for his World Press Photo of the Year 2005 of a woman crying in agony after finding her relative’s body post the 2004 Indian tsunami. “There were clusters of people collecting at the shore waiting in anticipation to find their lost relatives. Some time later, a woman’s body was being brought to the shore, and one woman recognised her as her family member. Upon seeing her, she immediately broke down. I was there for about five minutes photographing, and kept reminding myself that I was doing my job to keep my sanity and keep me away from depression.” Five years later, Arko visited the tsunami-hit area again to find the woman in this picture. When he reached the village, he found that his picture had made the woman really popular, and everyone was able to pinpoint her location. “It was a joyous reunion—we were both excited to see each other. In fact, she had a cut-out of the image I took of hers along with my own photograph. It was a humbling experience,” he says. This image went on to become a postage stamp in Europe in 2005. Photograph/Arko Datta, Reuters

He says this of his experience: “There were clusters of people collecting at the shore waiting in anticipation to find their lost relatives. Some time later, a woman’s body was being brought to the shore, and one woman recognised her as her family member. Upon seeing her, she immediately broke down. I was there for about five minutes photographing, and kept reminding myself that I was doing my job to keep my sanity and keep me away from depression.”

But this is probably the most remembered of all his images.


This is Qutubuddin Ansari and this picture was taken during the 2002 Godhra riots that left a thousand in Gujarat, dead. The story behind this picture is fascinating and heart breaking and confounding and it can be found here and here

There are a thousand more such images of his that are iconic and gut wrenching and sordid and awe-inspiring. As you can well imagine, his classes are magical. I pretty much sit with my mouth agape the entire time, listening to his tales of adventure and might. There are so many times when I think about how fortunate I am to have had the chance to learn from this man. Mr. Arko Datta is a veritable hero.

And as for me, I am now doing things that I should have done at 12. I write little love notes to my boyfriend in the middle of the class and sigh as he tries to stifle his smiles. We help each other with homework and fight about who is better at it. {Of course, I win!} All in all, it's a pretty sweet deal for me. :)

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for taking the class. You won't regret it. I just took one myself and it was very much worth it.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for being here. You must know that I love reading your comments more than I love the idea of baby bunnies eating frosted cupcakes sitting atop a cloud. They make me happy when skies are blue, yellow, pink or grey. ♥