“A photographer works on the subject, but the subject works on the photographer too,” said the legendary photojournalist Josef Koudelka.
Photography is a form of visual art and it has a universal language, a kind of language that is not studied in schools or confined to a certain group of people. It is an array of feelings, thoughts and a million other things combined.
For me, the relationship between the photographer and the subject is very significant. In every image, either there is a living subject or a non-living subject such as a landscape, a building, a waterfall or a tree. At times, when the photograph is not posed, it falls upon the photographer to capture the sanctity of the surroundings and his or her subject.
Moreover, I feel that there is also a third connection, between the image and the viewer that is extremely important. Often times, when we look at images from our family album, we re-live those moments from our past. Sometimes, we are not even present in the image, but we can live through the photographs as if we were there.
The reason why we are so fond of photographs is that images have a rare ability to hold time, as if forever. The fact that pictures from ages ago can fill us with warmth and fondness even today is nothing less than a miracle.
Such responses to photographs are instinctive in nature and simply involuntary. This is what I call the unspoken language, a bond formed between a photograph and the person who views it.
This picture by Mr. Raghu Rai makes me think of how this man on the train going through a heavy fog could be compared to life. How he can’t see what is ahead of him, just like we have no idea of what the future holds for us.
The tray on his hands portrays the skills that we learn to prepare ourselves for what is ahead of us. Additionally, the man’s backward gaze reminds me of how we like to look at our own past. We can’t help how life will keep going on, just like the train will keep moving till it reaches its final destination.