See Here! And Here! And….


Maneesha discovers the world through photography.

(You can stop the slideshows at any time by clicking on the ‘pause’ button.)

My love affair with photography came about quite by accident. I was intending to use ‘sand play’ as a therapeutic tool and needed to be able to keep a record of my clients’ creations, so I bought the least-intimidating camera I could find and waited for clients to come beating at my door begging to work with me. Then one day, on a whim, I started taking photos of the trees near my apartment.

I’ve always regarded my multi-talented sister as the artist in the family. Yet as I became enraptured with what my camera produced, the local photo-shop owner and various friends began to tell me I ‘had an eye’ for photography. One friend even suggested certain online programs and a state-of-the-art camera, but I didn’t want to clutter my mind with technical tricks, turning my spontaneous play into self-conscious, studied effort.

In Australia, India, all over Europe and more recently in the USA, taking pictures has slowed me down to notice what is around me; and not only that, to see it in a new way: the pleasing, the quaint, the humorous, and the utterly awesome. My little Cool-Pix tunes me in to the more subtle forms of loveliness: the play of light and shade, such as when the sun shines through leaves; contrasting textures, like leaves or flowers on wood or stone; shapes, the dome of a cathedral or arches of a bridge; and patterns. Colours too, of course: the hues of autumn, the riot of reds and russets, yellow, orange and brown.

In what I might once have dismissed as winter’s bleakness, I now find a zen-like paring down; life naked, revealing forms that summer has concealed. In spring life emerges, seemingly shy and tender, yet thrusting its way through heavy clods of earth and through wood with a shout of jubilation, of ‘Look, we have come through!’

Just as much part of the joy my camera gives me is the element of the unexpected: the robin that, instead of nervously taking flight, stays perched on the stone cross in the churchyard, while I fiddle about getting my camera out. The seller of onions, looking quintessentially French in – of all places! – Bristol, on a Saturday morning; the wild moorland ponies grazing, perfectly framed by two huge trees; the priest, ‘cellulare’ to his ear, outside the Genova church (on the hotline to God?).

Stumbling upon sculptured columns or church domes, or the architecture of a Westminster Abbey, I am stunned into silence. Perhaps we are not heading for self-destruction after all. We’re not all axe murders, drug lords or warmongers. There have been and are among us some good and creative and beautiful people: the celebrants of life.

It’s a delight when others appreciate the photos I take; but taking pictures is really my own personal love affair with life. In the past, the increasing intimacy of a relationship with a man created a hunger for more and a desire to pin him down, to own him. But the deeper this love connection with nature becomes, the more I am happy to just observe the ever-changing beauty, with no desire to control or claim as mine. Each photograph is an exclamation point in the ever-more-amazing parade: See here! And here! And….


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