Example of Filmmaking Artistic Statement
Example of Filmmaking Artistic Statement
Raunak Kapoor is a 2016-2017 recipient of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Excellence Scholarship program, the most prestigious scholarship program at the UNCSA.
Filmmaking Artistic Statement
By Raunak Kapoor
I have always been the sort of child, who, instead of directly following the steps he was given, would try to explore different ways of doing it. The sort of child who would try to give everything he did a unique style. Once, when I was in 4th grade, our computer teacher asked us to draw a square in LOGO, an instructional programming language used for drawing. Even though we were asked to follow the steps in the book to make a square, I wanted to explore what more I could create. I used squares as my primary structures and created a house with a tree besides it in the time it took others to complete the square. This impressed my teachers and my work was shown to the principal, who for my work, gave me a chocolate. This was probably the first time I had taken an unconventional approach, which has since this day been an integral part of all my work.
When you live in a country like India, everyone expects you to follow one of the three professions; engineer, doctor, or lawyer. Here, ever since you are born, you are carried into a world of pre-established beliefs and outdated stereotypes, where every member of the society has something to say about your actions. Living in such a society and my deep hatred for studying political sciences and human biology, I grew up believing that I would become a computer engineer and took up science in high school.
I had never liked science much and during high school, reading novels, looking at photographs, watching movies and playing games became my escape from the monotonous daily routine of studying. I realized I get very fascinated by stories. They gave me an insight into different aspects of life and introduced me to new worlds. Just as asserted in the famous quote from the movie ‘Dead poet’s society’, “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for”, I realized that stories, experiences, and memories are what gives our lives meaning. This love for stories over time also became a breakthrough in the whole mystery of my career path.
... with my newfound interest in storytelling, I found out that I was not much interested in the contemporary methods of telling stories of writing blogs, novels or articles. I wanted to tell stories in a way that my stories immediately connected with someone’s soul.
On exploring different ways of doing something with my newfound interest in storytelling, I found out that I was not much interested in the contemporary methods of telling stories of writing blogs, novels or articles. I wanted to tell stories in a way that my stories immediately connected with someone’s soul. In my search, I found that visuals are the best way for people to relate with, feel, learn, and consume. A picture can tell you a whole story worth a thousand words, in a single frame. I started exploring photography and film making as art using a borrowed camera and under the guidance of my uncle, a professional photographer in India, for most of my senior year in high school and learnt through my own experiences.
I developed my own rights and wrongs, techniques and aesthetics. I started loving to shoot black and white as I felt that, by taking the colors out of a picture, I could focus more on the story, composition, light and the emotions of my subjects. I also realized I could show more of the story through the background than the foreground and started focusing on always getting a perfect background. Also by shooting regularly, I have become better at spotting stories, placing subjects creatively, chasing the light, making quick decisions, using slow shutter creatively, using the distortion in the wide angle lenses to give drama in street portraits, exploring unique perspectives and compositions, using different lenses, etc.
I try to give all my work a unique story. My work revolves mostly around street, travel, and portraiture, and is full of stories that I find deeply moving, encouraging or motivational. My photo story, ‘the leaders’ provides an insight into the various types of societies in India. It was a project that helped me learn about different cultures, befriend various people and gather many new experiences and memories. Even though it was my first photo project, it was an important story I wished to share with the world. It encouraged me to start sharing my stories and gain confidence in my skills and style as a photographer. My second photo story, ‘joy in a puddle of mud’ was inspired by a simple idea, that every child deserves education irrespective of their background. Education can be the means to liberate these young souls from a vicious circle that has forced their forefathers into petty jobs and a life of poverty. I collaborated with ‘Harmony house’, an NGO aimed towards providing basic education and support for such youth. I traveled around Delhi and connected with families and children belonging to many different backgrounds. I observed that one thing each child, entrapped in poverty, had in common was the ‘will of fire’, an ambition to one-day matter in this vast world. This photo story was a call for help for these children. My third photo story, ‘life in Old Delhi’, was inspired by the priceless moments and memories I gathered, traveling in narrow, dingy lanes, of old Delhi, which, once the most famous place in India, has now become an overcrowded place housing people from all cultures and economic strata. In its narrow lanes, I saw and captured the most beautiful moments of both joy and sorrow. My first short film, ‘A letter to the past’ was a manifestation of a desire deep inside everyone’s heart; a desire to see what would happen differently if you could change your past. Giving such stories life through my films and photography is what I thrive for as an artist.
In more than one way, the art of photography and filmmaking has helped me redeem the control of my life. It has given me enough strength to break the barriers of my society and follow an unconventional path. It has encouraged me to go out and explore the world with my own eyes, observe its rare beauty, capture its various stories and understand its deepest sufferings. My ambition is to become a respected photographer and filmmaker so that I can share my stories with the entire world. I want to be free of limitations, learn and produce work. My art motivates me and gives me the passion for following this ambition.