Hobby Talk: ‘A hobby is the juice of one’s life; it brings so much joy,’ says Tisca Chopra

The coronavirus lockdown might have confined all of us to the four walls of our homes, but it did bring with it one benefit: It presented many of us with the time to engage in creative activities. Be it drawing, painting, learning new skills or touching base with some forgotten ones, ‘creative pursuits’ became a buzzword during the lockdown. It was almost the same with actor-director Tisca Chopra. During a conversation, Tisca speaks about hew new-found skill: photo editing. Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about your hobbies...

During the lockdown I learnt to edit photos. With the help of filters on my phone I create photo edits. It’s an art... I take a picture and enhance it with different lights and textures. You can make a black and white image and treat it in different ways. I invert photographs, sometimes I give them a vintage look. I introduce stickers of all kinds.

Do you experiment only with your personal images?

I have done it for a bunch of my friends, too, and they really appreciated the outcome. A lot of them framed the images and hung them on their walls. Since I am part of the visual medium, it is interesting to make a photograph more than just what it is. I use my imagination to create a different era, a different story.

As an actor you travel a lot. How do you make time for your hobby?

When I am in an aircraft, I immerse myself in my photo edits, because I have got a bunch of apps on my phone. It has also made me better at sketching because some digital apps create certain effects only if you draw them by hand. My sketching is nothing worth to write home about, but it is a lot of fun.

Do you actively make time for it or is it a filler activity to keep boredom at bay?

I wouldn’t say it is a filler activity because it came about naturally. I was keen to post a few pictures on Instagram and I thought they looked a bit boring. So, I tried to manipulate the pictures digitally and in the process, I deep dived into the app world and found a bunch of exciting things one can do. I downloaded multiple apps and created a whole library at my disposal.

Does your hobby involve other people? For instance, stamp collectors exchange stamps from different countries; collectors display their pieces for public viewing?

Yes, it does involve other people, because I keep sending my friends their photographs after adding effects and seek their feedback.

What has been your takeaway from this experience?

It helps me understand the relation between the eye and one’s mood. You can change the mood and the feeling that an image evokes by tweaking certain key elements of the picture. In fact, sometimes even a subtle change can make a big difference in what the picture evokes. I think as a director, because ultimately even a moving image is a film made up of many still images moving at 24 frames per second!

Do you think everybody, regardless of how busy they are, needs to have a hobby/passion they pursue outside their work space?

Everybody needs to have one hobby at least, if not more. It’s vital; it is the juice of your life because it brings joy to your being. It’s a release and helps your soul to progress because otherwise you are mired only in work. Yes, acting, writing and directing continue to be my passion, but the interesting part of a hobby is that one doesn’t expect conspicuous benefits. There is something wonderful about doing work for its own sake; for the sake of sheer joy.

How do you plan to extend the scope of your hobby?

Sometime in the future, I will hold an exhibition of all the work that I have done with various apps. I have created what I consider art pieces in themselves because one can use paint brushes on the apps to create, sculpt and enhance a picture.

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