The question that why so an so person chose to be a poet and not a storyteller, or a brilliant lyricist and not a poet, or an excellent cinematographer but not a photographer has always intrigued me. In the post that follows I’ll be explaining a few theories that I have about the most common forms of Art that we see around us.
Music: I have never played any instrument myself, nor composed a tune in my mind, but I think this is the form of art which requires maximum amount of what we say ‘born talent’. That said, it is also one of the most accessible form of art. As in, one can be experiencing its pleasures while having a stroll or in my case, while bathing. Also, songs are something which we can easily and repeatedly use in our lives. On the negative side, since it’s so accessible it is the most easily thrown. How many times have you been sick of the songs you once loved? Also, it’s more often than not a dependent art form. As in there needs to be someone with good poetic sense to write the lyrics. A person with good singing abilities to sing them out. Even though all these qualities can exist in one person only. (A solely singing person cannot be considered a musician, according to me, not because he/she is inferior or anything but because singing in itself is a great art, and can exist without the help of instruments.)
Last, but not the least, something like a piano can only be brought in rich families.
Cinema: Cinema, in its purest form should be muted pleasure. Otherwise, it has to borrow a little something from Music and Literature. But, then essentially it’s a director’s medium- who himself is dependent on so many people to get his expression across. A director needs at least a camera and a few actors, to make a movie. Something, which everyone cannot afford or arrange.
But then like Music, it’s highly accessible. Even though some may say very few people actually watch good cinema; but at the end of the day, no one who would see The Bicycle Thief or Children of Heaven will dislike it because it was boring.
Photography: My appreciation for this art form is not that advanced, but still since I am a logical human being, it’s much better than the people so often seen on Facebook. One thing that pisses me off is that there are people who do not understand or benefit from it even one inch, but still do not refrain from being sycophants.
That said, photography is basically an art form for an appreciatiory audience. Not everyone can do it. Or the photographer has to be so crazily good that he/she can implant a mood even to the most resistant mind. A photograph of a cold coffee no matter how good it is, will never induce any mental reaction in a hardmind like myself. A slumguy having Domino’s Pizza after picking it out from the dustbin might.
That said, on the negative side, photography (no matter how popular it is now) can be a source of random timepass but seldom will it provide entertainment. I think if amateur photographers just make an attempt to incorporate all their aesthetic beauty and sense of the moment, along with something entertaining for the noobs then yes, they will become some real cool people. Nobody looks at it that way, but if photographs of a family function long gone can provide entertainment to a family reunited for the next big function, then why can’t normal photographs attain a similar amount of emotional response. I know it’s tough, but if you wanna be an artist, you got to do the grinding sonny!
To end on a good note, a movie could be co directed, a book co written, a song co composed, but never a photograph co clicked. I like that sort of independence.
Literature: If I could see a negative side to this art form, I wouldn’t be having a desire to be great at it someday. To quote Thomas McGuane:
Literature is still the source of my greatest excitement. My prayer is that it is irreplaceable. Literature can carry the consciousness of human times and social life better than anything else. Look at the movies of the 1920s, watch the Murrow broadcasts, you can’t recognize any of the people. Now, read Fitzgerald—that’s it. That is the truth of the times. Somebody has to be committed to the idea of truth.
That said, anyone who can read can experience it’s pleasures. If you want to know how powerful it can be, see Ramayana and Mahabharata. It could be history, (for a devout Hindu) but it’s told usually as a story.
One needs a basic paper and pen, as apparatus for the act. Public Libraries exist for people with no money to buy books. The only other art that comes close to it in terms of low cost, is acting or dance.
And most importantly, it is 100% independent. No collaboration required unless you wish to do it. Other than that, whatever I want to express has already been covered in the Thomas McGuane quote (Bless the soul).
Anyways, that’s it for now. If you’ve read till here, I hope that I have not wasted your valuable time. Speaking of time, it’s 6.30 in the morning as I am typing this, and this post has been a result of 2 hours of keeping this Add New Post tab in Firefox open. So yeah. Until the next time, I am woken up from laziness by an unstoppable desire to get something written and out there, this is Sameer Jha for Narratively Yours signing off from Manipal.