Aanchal Kalra has captured us with her captures and vision many a time.

Today, she writes why she freezes time and she does, all over again…

You get away with a lot, when your eccentricities are masqueraded as passion.

Truth be told, this isn’t a story about passion, persistence or hard work, this is a confession about having little to no control over how I see the world.

I observe every moment through that little eye piece on top of the family point and shoot I discovered at age 3, every moment as if it needs to be captured in the perfect angle as to preserve its emotional and historic integrity.

That is what made be obsessed with photographs, not some beautiful and soulful pictures of places and people I didn’t know hanging in a gallery, but the pages of the family album my mother had meticulously put together.

Everyone in the house had their set, one for birthdays (displayed in chronological order), one for school events (you’ve already guessed the order), and one for random pictures.

Yes, my mother organises randomness.

Sitting down with my set and watching a version of myself I had no conscious memory of, of people who were a part of my life then but are nowhere to be found now, of seeing how everyone’s frozen bodies also froze the way they were acting and reacting, Oh, Yes! I was hooked.

A photograph’s ability to capture the hearth of a moment was the standard in our house – maybe that’s why when my hands were finally big enough to hold that Yashica, it was an instinctive relationship from the start.

I’m not here to tell you how to take a photograph, my imposter syndrome wouldn’t fully allow me to do that, and my absent portfolio on a vanity site might dissuade you from taking that advice anyway.

But here is one thing I can tell you:

Call it wisdom gained through experience, the arrogance of privilege or the courage of an artist who quit the illusionary race to be able to record a moment as soon as it occurs, is a beautiful gift.

And a moment is always subjective…

How you show up in this world, how you perceive what’s around you, what’s within you, what strings your heart or what makes your gut churn – all of this is what accumulates to form your perspective.

And so I ask, why wouldn’t you want to share it with the world at large?!

Don’t be fooled into believing that there are a finite number of ways and topics one should be recording. What you should be recording is something that you want to freeze for the significance it holds in your world, for the stories you want to remember so well that you go from living them, to framing them, to disassociating and capturing them in the matter of a heartbeat.

It’s true a camera records exactly what is in front of it.

What’s also true is that it records exactly what is behind it.

I wouldn’t suggest you walk around like I do, hyper-aware and a quarter of a step away from all, seeing everything in 3:2, but chances are, if you’ve made it to the end of this page, you already do.


Aanchal Kalra, you take our breath away (and freeze it). Thank you for the words, the visuals and the brilliance you bring to the world.

(Note and Gawk: The shots accompanying this piece have been shot by her.)

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