The dusty roads whisper his name in swirls that are carried by the wind,
They wonder, ‘Is he the wind?’
The mighty mountains look down on the treacherous passes that pierce through their hearts,
They wonder, ‘Is he the cloud?’
The crashing waves rush to the shore to envelop footprints he has left on the sand,
They whisper, ‘is he the ocean?’
‘All of you’- he answered, ‘all of you, in all of me.’
It seems befitting to begin this special feature with an original ode to an individual who has scripted his life on the highways and alleys, the mountain passes and the seashores of this world.
Such indeed is the persona of everyone’s favourite Ramu kaka – or Rufus Reynolds, our special inductee into The Uncommon Hall of Fame.
The Uncommon Box is delighted to bring this urban legend closer to you through a special tete-a-tete that led us to enumerate
5 Reasons why Ramu Kaka is sheer inspiration!
‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
Well, the foremost reason Ramu kaka is such an inspiration, is simply answered by one statement- because he dared to live his dream.
Giving up on security, stability and a predictable life is not easy at all. Most of us settle for a Plan B life because we are too afraid or too meek to choose and make Plan A work. We count the costs, we doubt ourselves, we are held back by how others might react.
Rufus made Plan A happened because he did not believe in living the Plan B life. He did try the corporate job scene but the jacket proved too constricting for a man whose dreams came in free size!
He gave it all up for the dream that calls itself Streets of India – a premier photo sharing community on Instagram and on Facebook. Now he also runs this fantastic photo tour outfit that takes the tourist out of the individual and makes him a traveller for real.
Uncommon heroes do things differently. They are heroic in taking up challenges that often seem larger-than-life itself.
Rufus reminisces quietly that the two major challenges faced were familial responsibilities and the mentality of people.
‘Being from a country where Religion and Culture is priority, the challenges faced are primarily from Family, where they want you to go abroad and get a high paying job that offers you dollars or pounds. I did that for a few years and realised I really wasn’t happy. I was earning and spending and earning. I wasn’t really living.
Cultural differences have often posed challenges too- when these man made barriers created chasms instead of building bridges.’
For a global man like Rufus, it is both outrageous and ridiculous to see the narrow minded antics of people around.
He also makes an honest observation,‘that one of the many challenges is also the mentality of the people. It is sad indeed when one’s fellow mates try to pull you down the growth ladder, out of the sheer sense of insecurity and jealousy.’
But that does not deter his quiet resolve of steel, that make him brave the ups and downs of life, yet holding steadfast to the dream.
‘‘Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’
Rufus doesn’t consider himself as a photographer- he defines himself as a traveller, one who is on a journey of discovery. His snapshots are a way of recording exhilarating moments on that journey, which make the journey as worthwhile as the destination.
In his own words,
‘I am not a photographer. I do not know the technical aspects of capturing a photo. I am a Traveller, who clicks photos the way he sees the world. I have been given the term Photographer by the people. I have never considered myself one. The journey has been full of learning and experiences not many go through, not as a Photographer, but as a Traveller.’
Rufus takes his photographs on his iphone7 and uses friend Karteek Sivagouni’s Canon 5D Mark 3. For him, the device is a medium to capture the essence of his experience- the moment is more important than the gadget.
‘Actions prove who someone is, words just show who they want to be. Substance always outlasts show.’
The absence of pretention in an individual of this stature is rare indeed. It is nothing less than refreshing to know Rufus in person because of his candidness and humility.
When asked about his inspiration, he added, ‘I may sound rude when I say that, I don’t seek inspiration from anyone. They did their job well, I’m not them and hence, I have to do my work, my way. So yeah, I inspired myself.’
That same frankness is spotted when he says,
‘I’m 34, and I still don’t know what to do in life. I do not hesitate to accept the fact that I do not have any goals or plans.
“Just a dream, – Travel as much as I can as I just got one life.’”
When we quizzed him about what sets him apart from other photographers, this was Rufus’ inimitable reply,
‘The only difference is that they are photographers and I’m not. There is amazing talent out there. I’m just an ordinary guy who is trying to learn something new every day.I don’t follow the rules of photography because I don’t know the rules. I usually capture things or frames which we tend to ignore in daily life.’
One finds an echo of Rufus’ words in the words of Ansel Adams who had said,
‘There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.’
Unknown to Rufus, for these very reasons, he continues to kindle inspiration in so many around him- people who haven’t even met him in person yet, but who have come across his story and his work.
‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it.’
‘I like adventure photography, where we have to actually position ourselves and the camera to capture things in action. I find it challenging and creative too; as not many would actually want to take a step further to explore creative avenues.’
A photograph is more than clicking at a specific moment. It is an amalgamation of so many elements- some of the most important being the creative soul behind the lens. Creativity plays a huge part in photography, and it requires active thinking. Rufus’ photographs speak for themselves. I shall not be audacious to venture an analysis of them, but they are pure soul- that much I can say.
In his message to all photographers out there with a dream in their heart, this is what Rufus has to say,
- Don’t do what everyone is doing.
- Do what you feel is your perspective of the mentioned subject.
- If you are different, you get noticed. If you want to be a part of the crowd, then you will stay a budding photographer all your life.
There are people you meet in life who leave a footprint upon your soul- Rufus Reynolds is one of them. The world is his canvas and he is traversing it from desert to mountain, seashore to plain, armed with soul and heart, making memories and leaving in his wake, a trail of incredible photographs that make him truly inspirational.
You can follow his work on the links given below:
The Uncommon Box is honoured to feature Rufus and his story. We wish him the very best for all his endeavours and hope that his dreams come true.
Did this feature inspire you? Do let us know how it left a mark on you.
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