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Presenting The Good Stuff. A new category on MediaBrief.com. Simply great good stuff one comes across — good writing, art, photography, music, anything that springs from a hobby that’s a passion underlined by both – an abiding interest and a marked talent and flair. In fact, even for reviews, in a world super-clogged with mediocrity, why waste time reviewing a Kick or a Dus? One will stick to the good things, the good stuff, which is – forgive the jostling opposites – always only rarely found.
The promos from Star Bharat, the excellent Nanhi Kali video campaign for educating the girl child, Hatch – the story by brilliant writer Gautam Shiknis from a treasure I uncovered from the year 2004, his book of short stories Meet Moriarty… these are the kind of good things one will feature in The Good Stuff on MediaBrief.com. And this is the first story after the rechristening. It’s about a website called longnosepictures.com.
Longnosepictures. By Mahesh Ramchandani
Longnosepictures. That’s an interesting name for a website, and the ‘Iongnosed-ness’ — in terms of what gave Pinocchio a long nose… lying — is something that’s absolutely antithetical to the man who’s created the pictures and put them on the uniquely named website. I know him as someone who’s been blessed with several times the sensitivity, humility, kindness, sense of humour and felicity in English writing you would find in the average educated, good person. I speak from a position of cherished advantage. Advantage, from having known Mahesh Ramchandani for over three decades, since the days, jab we met as colleagues at the front office of Hotel Oberoi Towers in Mumbai, and cherished, for having had the good fortune to have known him for so many decades.
After the Oberoi Towers, both of us — perhaps pursuing our inherent love for a mix of English and writing and the world of news and life and creativity in general — went separately into the world of media and communication. And have remained there since. Over the years, Mahesh has written extensively for Television, especially for standup comedy shows like Movers And Shakers on Sony, and movies like Joe B Carvalho, and many other shows and gigs too numerous to recount here.
Now, before I share more information about longnosepictures.com and what Mahesh does to create the pictures that are there and why he does it too, let me first just share some exquisite pictures from www.longnosepictures.com.
Of GOA IN THE RAINS, Mahesh says, ‘A red flag warning beach-goers of the dangers of the sea, a man armed with an umbrella against the fury of the skies… I thought it would make a good painting, so I shot the picture and used software to convert it into one’
2 ‘Less Is More’, says Mahesh of this one. ‘These sticks in the water have fishing nets hooked to them… perfect for catching fish and photographers looking for a minimalist picture.’
‘White on black… Minimalism again,’ says Mahesh of this pic. ‘It was late evening… a flamingo flew down to the sprawling marshland in Sewri, looking for food…’
Mahesh describes the picture below as: It’s a picture, it’s a painting, actually it’s a coffee-shop… Two sets of glass-doors opening into a coffee-shop with enough dots and dashes on it to turn it into an abstract… with the help of software, of course…
…and of the picture below, this is what Mahesh has to say: ‘Gotham city?…A combination of low-light photography and double exposure…I shot the pic and then superimposed the same pic one on top of another but not exactly in sync for that blurred effect…’
So who’s been creating these longnosepictures? Is it a painter in a hurry, or a photographer not satisfied with the ‘unfiltered’ lens, so to speak? As Mahesh puts it, it’s both. Here is what he has to say. Unedited. Because editing Mahesh is spoiling great copy.
When I was young (Mahesh says), I used to draw and paint. I enjoyed making pictures. Recently, after many years, I thought I would like to start painting once again, but painting requires a lot of patience, and I’m short on patience. “
So I decided to cheat. I decided to make pictures with the camera because, I believed then, all you had to do was click.
I was wrong.
Photography is just as demanding and requires as much patience, but I had started upon it, I was enjoying it, and so I decided to stick with it. But deep in my heart I still wanted to make paintings. And that is why I use software to process my pictures.
I enjoy abstract art, I’m too lazy to paint, and so I take pictures which I process later with software to look like abstracts
I’m excited by fine art photography because I believe it cuts through the clutter. Millions, in fact more than a billion photographs are uploaded every day, and I find it difficult to get excited about photographing a tiger or an elephant—unless of course it’s a tiger reading a book or something as unusual– because the Internet is flooded with tigers, elephants, etcetera. While I respect other people’s choice of subject, I personally find fine art photography most exciting.
I enjoy abstract art, I’m too lazy to paint, and so I take pictures which I process later with software to look like abstracts.
And, yes, `longnose’ is a reference to Pinnochio whose nose grew when he lied. Photographs conceal as much as they reveal…. they lie, and so longnose…
Indeed, as two of his favourite quotes Mahesh has featured on his website, opposite, and questioning each other, are: ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty – John Keats’ and ‘Beauty is a lie – Frank Zappa’. (BTW, Mahesh also shoots Frank Zappa’s music up his veins, and I’m going to ask him to share more about this not so well known but stunningly brilliant musician, for a separate piece in The Good Stuff. This, BTW, is the first Mahesh is hearing of it)
There are hardly any venues in Mumbai for photography. I plan to have an ‘Exhibitions’ section on longnosepictures which will be available to photographers, preferably those working in the Fine Art and Abstract genres. No fees, no commissions. Don’t know if it will make a big difference to them, but it’s the least one can do. If you know of any, please point them this way
OK, so that’s the nub of what Mahesh does, and why he likes to do it. And what it does undoubtedly do, is create some startlingly beautiful and enticing creations of fine art photography. You’ve already seen five exquisite examples already. The beauty of the fine art photography on longnosepictures.com is, everyone can related to the pictures there in a very personal, even private way. Just was a great arrangement of words can draw you into flights of the imagination, Mahesh’s longnosepictures can own your consciousness with the manner in which they connect with you.
Oh, and things don’t always have to be complex. Even as beautiful pictures framed in your room, these are excellent. So even as you move to a short QnA I did with Mahesh, you will see some more excellent pics from www.longnosepictures.com.
Mahesh on Longnosepictures.com
So, prolific writer now also mainlining on pictures…?
Yes, I’m a freelance writer for TV and film, and I used to write for print and I used to enjoy working with words. I still do, but I suspect thinking and writing for the visual medium has turned my mind and, as a result, I have now become more `visual’. And that’s how photography happened to me. Too bad for you guys… Over a billion images get uploaded everyday, I’ve read, and now, with me around, there will be more.
But jokes apart, it’s a challenging environment for the photographer too, because all you need to become a photographer — or writer — these days is one eyeball and a couple of fingers. I have two and ten, and I hope to be able to arrest your wandering eyeballs.
What genres do you like most?
I prefer the Fine Art and Abstract genres, and, often, I tweak them to look like paintings. But I also enjoy Street photography and it’s difficult to resist shooting when one is traveling.
And the equipment you use? Brain and sensitivity apart…
I use a Sony A-6000 — it’s a mirror-less, which makes it light and easy to carry — with 16-55mm, 55-135mm, and 50mm lenses, and also a Canon-550D with the standard kit lenses and a 35mm Lensbaby.
And who are your favourite photographers?
I seek inspiration from many; in fact, there are too many to name, but I can’t resist naming one—Saul Leiter, my absolute favourite. He passed away recently.
Any other major reason, apart from wanting to share share your abstract art photography, for having created longnosepictures.com?
There are hardly any venues in Mumbai for photography. I plan to have an `Exhibitions’ section on my site which will be available to photographers, preferably those working in the Fine Art and Abstract genres. No fees, no commissions. I don’t know if it will make a big difference to them, but it’s the least one can do. If you know of any, please point them this way.
That’s it for this piece on Mahesh Ramchandani’s wonderful creativity on display at www.longnosepictures.com. Clever name, and honestly great creativity here. That’s my view. Tell me what you think. In the comments below, where you can get to via Dubai – the title of one for the road from longnosepictures.com.
All pics used with permission from their creator and owner of copyright, Mahesh Ramchandani. For more such pics, visit www.longnosepictures.com