‘Superpower dreams cannot be sustained on empty stomachs.’ – Rahul Bajaj, when asked whether India is about to become a superpower.
If you don’t become a superpower on stomachs empty as dry wells, you don’t become a Pharaoh or a Cleopatra on skulls more hollow than rotten coconut shells. Steering clear however of empty stomachs, squandered billions and roads of Uttar Pradesh which have more potholes than bitumen in them, symbolic of the state of one of the poorest states under the sun, I briefly tried my modest photographic might on the ‘Symbols of Change’ that have suddenly sprouted all over the city of Lucknow. I was not disappointed and I consider the images above as one of my better efforts at photography. If you are already scoffing, remember if you don’t have the mediocre of the trade you will never know the difference when you meet the finer exponents of the art! What I am trying to tell you though that it was supposed to be a pre-photo-shoot survey and I tirelessly investigated the array of amazing architecture from different vantage points. But sadly, when I returned a few days later armed with a tripod, ballheads,
and filters like a proper photographer, I was greeted with newly foisted howling spotlights beaming tons of light right into my face (and the camera) while the monuments stood majestically behind them like the unforgiving police of investigation chambers. I vainly tried to sneak into different spots and zoom the lens past the flaring photon canons for hours. No method of metering, no amount of selective focusing, no kind of filter would get the desired exposure. The mystique view was doomed for ever for purposes of night photography.
These howlers have apparently been installed with a view to secure the structures from the destructive strains in humanity. Somewhere though, the planners had intended to win the hearts by the sheer beauty and grandeur and thus be remembered. And what better way to disseminate the message than fascinating photographs, made nearly impossible now from better angles. Someday hopefully a Bryan Peterson, or a Joe McNally, or the better gifted will know their way around them.