Speaking to a Soul

Buildings have souls.

I have no way to prove this to you; not that I want to prove it to you. It is an experience, a sense. Some of us get it, some do not. I have always sensed a dialogue with buildings. Like, with mountains. Dialogue  is difficult to explain, when you think of it. By default it points to two voices interacting. When I speak with buildings or mountains, there is only one voice; if I choose to speak.


In that sense, everything is soulful. Why? One, we have never, ever definitely defined a soul. Two, why deny soulness from something that we otherwise deem soulless?


Mahendra, is a person who introduced me to meta. I always understood meta. So, in that sense, Mahendra didn’t do much. Over conversations with him, I discovered a philosophical sense of meta. Unlike the structural meta that I always knew and understood. Meta now meant something new. And interesting.


Of all the photographers that I have learnt from and respected, Candida Höfer, stands tallest. I have good reasons for it, but that would be a matter of some of my earlier or later post. She is, perhaps, also the reason, why I have not picked up a camera in a while. Why? That’s yet, another post.


The very act of picking up a camera is a chore, I told him. He smiled. Seem’s he understood. He agreed, even, over drinks that were not intoxicating. We talked for hours after that.

Couple of days ago, I posted a photo of Dorothea Lange by Elliott Erwitt on Twitter. Here’s the photo. For more, go here. Needless to say, I do not own the photo or the copyright. It’s from Magnum Photos.

USA. Berkeley, California. Photographer Elliott Erwitt 1955

I love this photograph for the use of light. That’s about how technical I will get. Because I cannot speak of photos in technical terms. Dorothea Lange took some of the most interesting photographs of people. She indulged in soul-speaking. Here’s Elliott Erwitt who took a photograph of her. What do we say of Erwitt? Erwitt was able to speak to the soul of the soul-speaker.

Most of us will look at this photograph as one of Dorothea Lange. And that’s fine. Not me. Somehow (and I do not know if it the genius of Lange or Erwitt) I see both of them in the photo. There is clearly, an interaction between Lange and Erwitt. And then, seeing Lange—the person, the soul—behind the camera that made us feel those many deep emotions with her images.

There’s a dialogue here. You could say, a complex one.

There’s speaking to a soul.