It changes me

Just this morning I was wondering what to write – there was this incessant urge to scribble a few words when the answer came to me in a conversation with a friend. I’ve just returned from Kathmandu after a week of photography, holding, feeling, touching, caressing my camera after many months, and I find a change in myself, and it isn’t subtle. I am more at peace and calmer than when I left. I am happy, I am content. Photography makes me who I am, the person I want to be.

And in reflection of who I want to be someday, if there is something that I want all my photographs to say, I hope and pray that the language is that of compassion and of grace. When I step out with my camera, there is a difference that comes about, in the way I think, in how I feel, in the way I converse, in the person that I am. I cannot express it better – this is just what happens to me.

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I am not an evangelist. Believe me when I say that I am more sinner than saint, more flawed than most, but as I photograph all these things seem to change. There is a metamorphosis. It is almost as if I were blessed, gifted to see what I see and that is when the transformation happens, slowly, surely, each day, each time.

I wander, I observe, and I am lost. Then there is this silence of mind, a calmness that comes around me, about me, which stills my senses and renders all into a sort of slow motion, where time has no meaning at all. I can sit for hours and see even the most mundane of things, wondering about the Divine Hands that made them all. It is beautiful. It is blissful. It is serene.

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It is difficult to explain to most about these feelings, but some I am sure will understand. For those who do, what I experience is mindfulness. I am there in the present. The past no longer exists. The future has no meaning for me. It is only in the present that I am. Alone with Him. It is a communion. It is alchemy. It is metaphysical. It is being one with the Cosmos, in touch with That which is Divine, the Who that is the Creator.

There are moments of tears, of shivers, of goose bumps, not only when I photograph, but even later when I see the same photographs and that time returns to me.

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And this is why I always say that for me photography is meditation, a reflection, an introspection. Or actually, photography for me is a prayer. As William Nicholson said in Shadowlands: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time  waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.”

Yes. It is a prayer.

It changes me.

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  1. sandy September 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    “I know not how prayer changes things;
    It is a lovely mystery.
    But this I know: Prayer lends me wings,
    And day by day, prayer changes me!” ~ Elizabeth Saxon

  2. John Kalson September 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    How beautifully said. Exactly as you say, when photographing something I become lost in the moment, the here and now. It is like meditation, nothing outside that moment exists.

  3. Elena September 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    …. And it does change you … I am the witness … and, like a butterfly effect, it touches those around you and make the world a better place …

  4. Anna September 20, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    .. I remember these effects. Why I also miss hitting the road with my camera. I get it! Alone with the creation, what comes the next moment is only what you sense and the structure of the infinity; expressive moment of a memory captured by a lens. Glad to see you´re keeping up with the writing & photographing. It´s an important part of you.

  5. Arlys September 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Thank you for your incredible blog. I know exactly of what you write. I feel like wise, and for me it is also a yearning, a searching, a need to be one with nature. It is in nature where I feel at peace with myself and the world.

  6. alpana September 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    The change when peace renders you helpful and deep within the core you hear the soft sounds of chimes you know you have arrived at a place you always belonged to. we all lead ordinary lives on the surface and do all the stuff thats meaningless just becase all do it and we want to feel connected, have friends , party and whateva… the day u stop living that surface life and let your core open to the universe you sense the depth and the sublime of what life is all about. The essence of living my friend. i feel that when i am with children, animals and in Mother Nature.Stay blessed!

  7. Emily Mabee September 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    I understand. I agree and am grateful to you for your blog

  8. jpermashwerdayalmunj September 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm #


  9. Tom Kostes September 22, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    Beautiful images.

    I go into the same state when I capture images. Zen calls it beginners mind.

  10. H William Lewis September 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Beautifully said and from the heart. For me, the feeling comes not so much when I photograph, though it does happen to some degree, but more when I open the images and see what my subconscious mind has produced.

  11. sonika October 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Every word that you have written above….the bliss , the calm, the peace and most importantly …the mindfulness ….the ability to sit for hours and feel it all seep within you , the reflection …the introspection….the metamorphosis that happens ….
    yes it does…it all happens….but the real trick to master is how to hold onto this feeling and keep it safely in some corner of your being, the ability to reach that corner when life gets in the way of photographing and hold this feeling between your palms and feel that same warmth seep through again…..and keep the soul nourished……

  12. neelam November 12, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    What you see Debesh is so powerful and then you present it in such communicative way…your love is could one not love your love, how could one not be intrigued by such a genuine pure soul……

  13. Debesh November 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Dear Sandy,

    Thank you for that quote – it so beautifully epitomizes how and what I feel.

    Anna, thank you for your kind words. Yes, they are an indelible part of me. They make me who I am.

    John, it is meditative isn’t it? To be lost in a world where there is nothing else that exists, but just you and how you feel.

    Elena, having you around when I am in that zone, that Zen just makes it all the more beautiful. Thank you for sharing those o calm myselfmoments with me.

    Dear Arlys,

    Thank you for your thoughts; yes, it is always wonderful to meet people such as you who feel the same.

    Alpana, beautifully expressed as always. Thank you and I wish you are blessed too.

    Thank you Emily and Tom; wonderful to hear from you, and Tom, the Zen moment is truly bliss.

    William, I tend to agree with you about that too. Sometimes in the “Zen state” as I photograph, I even forget what is it exactly that I captured and the moment is recreated when I get around to seeing my photographs later.

    Sonika, now that is difficult for me. There are moments such as when I wrote the blog after this to calm myself, to go there to that place again but the effort is inordinate. That is when I need to remind myself what is life without effort? Thank you.

    Neelam, thank you for your kind words. I need to reply to all your comments but unfortunately the place I am at this point of time doesn’t allow me the liberty of time. I will, however, get around to doing that the moment I am in India. Thank you again.

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