Each and every one of us has a unique relationship with our environment. Taruna Goel is a storyteller and uses photography to express herself and convey feelings, emotions, memories and dreams.
Taruna says: ‘It is a way for me to tell tales about things that I am deeply connected to. I am also a time traveler. I use photos to bring the past into my present and use the present to create my future. To extend the beauty and happiness of all these moments, I share this experience with my friends, family and the community. Since photos are so personal for me, I am not always looking to evoke something in the viewer. My photos are a way for me to speak to me. They are the dots I connect when I am looking for direction and guidance. But if my photos speak to other people, I am humbled and always grateful for that connection. When I take photos, I am looking to be reflective rather than technical. I tend to introspect and think deeply about what I am photographing. For me, it is in the art of seeing more than the science of capturing. But it is not only about ‘what’ I see, it is about ‘how’ I see it too. Photography helps me slow down and observe more carefully. It helps me look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. It helps me loose myself and find myself again. My photographs are a reflection of who I am’
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” – Ernst Haas
Here are some beautiful moments as narrated by her through her writing and pictures:
50 Shades of Autumn
21 Oct 2016: It seemed like yet another ordinary day as I was out and about for my morning walk. But I wonder if there is anything ordinary about any day. The fact that I am alive, breathing, walking on this spherical ball that is spinning faster than I can imagine is in itself so extraordinary.
I love Autumn. It seems like all the leaves call out to me. So, on this extraordinary day, I was drawn to this mosaic of leaves – I called it ’50 Shades of Autumn’. To me, it looked like a bouquet of flowers more than a bunch of leaves. But that’s the fine quality about Autumn; it is Spring of another kind.
As I inhaled the musky air, felt the moist branches and heard the crisp leaves crumble under my feet, I noticed how everything around me was withering away and turning into a warmer shade. Perhaps, so it could blend with the Earth below and lose itself back into where it came from. And I thought to myself, how on the inside and the outside, I am doing the same as seasons come and go.
But in all this melancholy that surrounds the month of October, I also sensed a deep feeling of hope and positivism. It was hard to imagine but I knew it will be green once again when the spring returns. And it will be time to romance with life yet again as this cycle will continue…
As I was walking back home, I was reminded of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost called Gathering Leaves.
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
― Robert Frost
“There is something so special in the early leaves drifting from the trees – as if we are all to be allowed a chance to peel, to refresh, to start again. – Ruth Ahmed” —Taruna Goel at Stanely Park Vancouver, Canada.
Magic of Parks
25 August 2016: We have been to Atlanta several times but this was the first time we played tourists. As a part of our tourist activities, we spent a day exploring Atlanta downtown. Centennial Olympic Park was a key item on our list. It is truly a social and tourist hub since the park is surrounded by World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, College Football Hall of Fame, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Atlanta Children’s Museum, the Tabernacle, SkyView Atlanta and the CNN Center.
The Centennial Olympic Park stands as a symbol and a legacy of the Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996. However, I learned that the 21-acre area didn’t enjoy all this glory back in the 80s and 90’s. This was the spot for parking lots and abandoned run-down buildings. Some even described this part of town as the most unattractive area of downtown Atlanta. But as the Olympics drew closer, the vision was to transform the area and make it ‘a gathering place for the world’. The vision came through. The park is now an oasis in the middle of all the concrete that surrounds it. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that the park has been instrumental in adding energy, vibrancy and prime real estate value to the surrounding area. Many cultural and social events allow people to commune and enjoy this park throughout the year.
Pictured here is the Fountain of Rings with SkyView Atlanta (Ferris wheel) in the background. This fountain is the world’s largest interactive fountain to incorporate the Olympic Rings symbol. Just when we were about to leave the park, this magical synchronized water and music display started. As soon as that happened, kids of all ages and their parents immersed themselves into the joy of playing with water. Infact, the next series of pictures I took were full of kids! But I chose this particular picture to share here because it symbolized an invitation…an invitation by the park to connect and become a part of its energy. And we accepted the invitation and lingered on for some more time.
I came here because I love parks; any parks. But I especially enjoy parks that are in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city. We work, eat, and live in the city yet sometimes we need respite from it. Parks create that opportunity to find both a visual relief and a social relief. They offer a way to observe the city from a distance. You are in it yet detached from it. You are surrounded by people yet you feel you are by yourself. Parks create that distance that we need in an over-connected world. I find tremendous reflective satisfaction in sitting in a park on a Thursday afternoon watching people and time go by.
For me, parks are not just patches of green. They are a part of the living layer that engages me visually, physically and intellectually. Parks are a key part of the public space but they are an essential component of enriching my personal space and well being. I believe in the strength of parks because they can transform lives, communities, cities, countries and the world.