Ashok  Meena

Ashok Meena

Freelance Cinematographer, Film and Television Institute of India,
 

Currently employed at Film and Television Institute of India,

 

    Summary

    I was born in an interior village called Kohlya in the state of Rajasthan – a land of vibrant colours, picturesque landscapes and a rich heritage. I grew up on these fascinating visuals, always intrigued by them. As part of a tribal community, however, I was quite cut off from all kinds of technology for a very long time, as our village had no electricity. My first encounter with a camera was at a traditional wedding ceremony. As part of the rituals, the community was giving the bridegroom a bath, with a photographer taking a few stills. I could see the attention he was getting. It was almost as if he was controlling the whole ceremony. I was hooked. At the age of twelve, I laid my hands on my first point and shoot film camera – a reward from my father for acquiring a first class in my examinations. It was love at first sight. The schoolboy kind. All I knew was that this thing could freeze time. Forever. But I had no clue about loading film rolls. Exposure was too big a word. My first series of 36 clicks was a disaster. Just two of them survived. Barely. Not that I was disheartened. Every two months or so, I would return with another roll. Praying to God to save as many of them as possible. The man at the photo studio gradually taught me about these techniques, when he saw how all my pocket money was going waste. But my 500 rupee beauty betrayed me very soon. Warranty was a concept unheard of. My parents could not understand how a 12-year old boy could slip into extreme depression. After a couple of months, my father finally got me a brand new Minolta. My joy knew no bounds. Village weddings. School picnics. Or the occasional family outing. I never travelled without my camera. This time, the photo studio guy was in for a shock. I had actually returned with 38 survivors! But this affair was quite short lived too. I was visiting a nearby fort with my brother, clicking photos all day, in the scorching Rajashan heat. At the end of the day, exhausted, we stopped to have a sip of water. We left in a hurry, thereafter, as we had to catch our bus. On reaching home, we realized that neither of us had the camera. I was trembling. I walked back to the place at night. But it was a lost cause. My father was furious. And I could not bring myself to ask him for another camera. After recovering from the shock, I started pestering the photo studio guy to repair the old camera for me. Finally, he relented. Soon enough, I was back in action. Later on, I took up geography in college and travelled throughout the state, capturing the sights all around. One fine day, I discovered, that this was what I was bound to pursue for the rest of my life. It’s been 11 years since I took my first photograph. So much has changed. But my passion has only increased. When I look at a photograph, it still stirs something within me. A piece of time, which will never be repeated. A handful of history that the world ignored, but somebody captured. Somebody who was not just present, but aware. With his eyes and mind, open. India has a rich tradition of classical music. The training is still conducted through the guru-shishya parampara, i.e. in the presence of a master. There is immense importance attached to riyaaz – relentless and regular training, as guided by the guru. Unfortunately, Gurus are rare, especially in a field where most people are running after glamour and money. That’s why this opportunity means the world to me. And I would like to make the most of it, if I have the privilege. At 23, I already feel that life is too short. There is so much to experience. A whole world full of images, waiting to be captured. Immortalized. And I’m in no mood to stop.

Experiences

 

Film Cinematography Student

At Film and Television Institute of India,

Skills

 
  • Cinematography
  • Photography

Langues parlées

 
  • Hindi
  • English

Centres d'intérêt

 
  • TRAVLING