Capturing reality on streets of Bangalore: Comedies and Tragedies

Anand Prince

To experience the butter and gutter of street photography, Bengaluru may not be the best place! But surely, this city is no little in giving photographic wonders that a street photographer would expect on from lens.

As a student of mass communication, at Kristu Jayanti College, we are always on the lookout for something unique during our field assignment hours, more formally known as the beat reporting hours which come under the purview of journalism. While exploring the technical side of street photography, we went through some personal experiences that are worth to be remembered. Those practical sessions gifted us with incidents, from which we were able to learn, understand and even ignore some things.

It is true that Bengaluru is very much receptive to all the masses. Be it is a visitor, a traveler or even a vagabond, he or she, can easily fit into any of the multifaceted dimensions, knowingly or unknowingly. Here, at any given point of time, except when the need is real, we have a mixed genre of lively crowd in the streets. The blend of old and new, clean and dirt, coarse and mild, odd and even, visual elements will naturally get into frames.

Capturing photos from the busy streets of Bengaluru will put you in the middle of comedies and tragedies.

When we walk around with our professional cameras, it is not uncommon to get bombarded with curious looks and persuasive requests such as: “Brother, take my didi’s photo”; “take this old gentleman’s picture”; pointing fingers at others. There are people who are uncomfortable when it comes to posing for singles, but when it comes to groupies, they are the ones who roll the street. There are also people who make us awkward before onlookers, all of a sudden. We still remember a drunkard who dashed from the local alcohol outlet with an insane smile and his wild pose, exactly on the middle of the busy street. Some believe that these photographs will make them popular. Street sellers think that their businesses will be promoted due to the coverage. If one in a row is clicked, the person next will be anticipating for his turn. But, sometimes we may have to disappoint them, due to shortage of time or relevance of our theme.

For some it doesn’t make any sense. We have seen opportunistic super models on the streets who bluntly say,"per photo 10 Rs"and contextual brokers near shy supermodels who bargain for money to be photographed. 'Live and let live' tactic was used during such instances!

Sometimes epic escapes were attempted. Our team had few encounters. The first one happened when we went to cover the illegal methods of animal slaughtering, where we were mobbed by a group of people but they relieved us with haunting threatening words.

We met people who had seen ups and downs in life, all too fast. For them, seeing their face on the small LCD preview screen was a big new world. We felt the unseen and unheard. The flower seller Pandyan, who discontinued his college studies; the service gold medal winner police officer who ended up on the footpath, and so on.

Peeping through the viewfinder, changing the lenses, modifying the focus, with zooms and pans, we learnt the truth. Caricatures are beyond aesthetics and elements may outlay the frames.

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