The circles of my life

One exposure lasts about a hundredth of a second. Maybe ten times longer. Perhaps ten times shorter. But the objects that are captured by the motion of electrons in the sensor may have lasted a century. That is 300,000,000,000 times longer, give or take a zero. Does it matter if the thing you are photographing is a thousand years old instead? Or only a decade old? Just give or take a zero at the end of those 11 others.

I saw a bubble released by a child, undulating across the sky, trying to achieve that perfect spherical shape in the short life time that it had. Was its shape more important than the shimmer of colour across its surface?

A scatter of painted oil drums outside an artist’s studio was a work in progress. Did I steal his work, misappropriate it by taking a photo before he could pin down his own vision? Would it have been morally different if I’d waited a few years and then taken a photograph which imposed my vision over his?

Catherine Opie said that sunsets and sunrises are the biggest cliches in photography. Ansel Adams said that a good photo is knowing where to stand. Henri Cartier-Bresson said sharpness is a bourgeois concept. David Lynch said that no matter what you mean, everyone is going to get something different from it.

Is an eclipse the shadow of one sphere passing over another? Or is it a rabbit being swallowed by a snake? In your imagination does it matter which is true? Nothing is written in stone, is it?

These photos were taken over three years and six thousand kilometers: a fraction of my life. They share one quality. They are inanimate circular objects which seemed beautiful to me at the time I took the photos. Now I wonder what I captured, the object, or the state of my mind?


By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


  1. Very interesting post!!! I read somewhere that, sometimes, it is better to have questions than answers… Photography, sometimes, gives us more of the first, don’t you think?
    Great images!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ooh, what an interesting and thought-provoking response to the challenge! I have always liked that quote from Ansel Adams about knowing where to stand – so true. Your photo of the oil drums is a great example of that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With you 100% IJ. So much has to do with our mental state as we approach our subjects. Loved your approach to the challenge and the use of circular objects only. I recognized your final image from one I also made in China. It was the color combo that called to me on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great photos, IJ. Thank you for sharing your deep thoughts about the circles of life.
    I agree, “everyone is going to get something different from it.” I get something different from my own photos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You raise fascinating questions, IJ. Thought-provoking. Depending on our mood, I think we notice different objects. When we click the shutter and show the image to someone, the viewer also “receives” the object + picks up the mood of the photo. And then responds to the photo with their own mood/feelings. So they are intertwined–the object + the mood–I think! You’ve given us a marvelous collection of round objects, here. The barrels, the bubbles, etc., etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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