23 July, 2012


"Plan holds if it rains also?", I had asked. We will shoot with an umbrella in our hands said a dear friend. It did rain. On the way to the venue not once, but thrice the mind said that the logical thing to do is go back. I am a person of heart and it said, do not return back.

It had been a while since I had gone shooting with the group at the Bangalore Weekend Shoots (BWS).

So here I was attending a shoot almost after more than 2 years. The feeling was that of a new, but old person. Since the last time I had attended the shoots, many things have changed. I did a lot of assignments, a lot of workshops, traveled around India a lot and the world a bit. But the experience of shooting with a group like BWS was something that was missing.  The talks and gossips were missing. Missing was the excitement over exploring new places and meeting new people. The storytellings were missing.

A group of 14 photographers met at the Bangalore Cantt railway station, for what was now rebranded as a Photo Walk. We walked down to the Bamboo Bazaar and then went to the the Medina Masjid area to witness a lot of coming out after their evening prayers, then towards the Shivajinagar and then the Russel Market. Shooting along the way. With our cameras I mean. 

As soon as I met the participants of the day's shoot a sense of nostalgia crept it. It reminded me of the very first shoot I had with the Bangalore weekend shoots group way back in 2006 in the Malleshwaram flower market area. Then I was this new kid, with a fancy camera that I had bought with savings. So much was the cost that I had not told the actual cost of that camera to my parents for quite some time. 

Today too there were a few new people. Some would take the cliched pics. Some would flock together. Canon, Canon, Canon and Canon I spotted. Have people stopped buying Nikon these days, I ask to myself. All spoke in the language of the f numbers and mm and compared the shots immediately after making the bamboo cutter a celebrity for a moment. 

The feeling of paparazzi. "Take my photo only if you are going to publish it in a newspaper, else do not take!" said a watermelon vendor. He posed with his broadest smile that would definitely light up some hearts.

Ah yes, the same questions kept popping up.  People stopped us and asked the very familiar questions, which channel, which newspapers. For a lot of people, our answers have not changed in the past, but this time for a change I did it for a while. I explained them the concept of the BWS. Some still thought we were students, which we happily agreed to.

Look he is taking a photograph of the broken chair and the junkyard, commented another passerby. What do they know of aesthetics of photography? I comfort myself with this thought. 

Within me, there was the hesitation of pointing the camera at about anyone. I remember the days, when I was so much in love with the streets. This was not me. I used to love interacting with the people. No I did not speak the local language then, neither can I now. But still the conversations happened. The stories unfolded! 

Yes. I remember. These wordless stories had to be experienced. Then captured through my camera and then shared with a wider audience. Flickr only, it used to be in those days. It was a pride to know that a photo of the shoot this weekend is now in Explore! Perhaps the one I took today will get ten likes, or maybe 30. I do not know. 

I had deliberately taken the decision to go with only one camera and one fixed 50mm lens. I did not want to distract myself much. I just wanted to enjoy the moment. I just wanted to feel myself like how I was almost 6 years ago. Naive, unsure, enthusiastic, and I was in love with the 50mm then. Compositions is what make a great photograph I believe in. Can you compose with constraints is what I ask myself. 

The doctor had advised lot of walking for my back problem. So let me enjoy the walk I said to myself. Perhaps the others are taking the photos anyway. I have had my share of these moments. Walk and talk. Was good to meet a few folks after a few years. Some said they had gained weight during that period and then reduced it again. To me they looked exactly the same like they were when we had last met. Perhaps the eyes had captured the images of them in eternity. Some even wore the same familiar shirt. Some still looked the same corpulent self. Oh yes there was one difference. The cameras were different now. Some moved to something called the Mark series and some to more compact OM Ds. 

I let Nostalgia take its course and kept smiling to myself.

We stopped for the customary BWS tea coffee break. Janta hotel, is where you have to have the tea. I loved it so much that I ended up having 2 cups of it, with a set dosa sandwiched in between. 

We discussed about the shoots, the professionals, the old timers, who's doing what and where they are. We talked about how a few of the so called famous photographers in Bangalore now, were a part of the BWS earlier and we covered the streets together.

6:30 is too early for a shoot, someone mentioned. I remembered the odd hours in which we would go out to shoot in those days. Early morning at 4 am or the Midnight. Late nights or the odd afternoons. We did all of it. We traveled. We walked. We learnt all our photography there. There was always someone you could start a discussion with. Bokeh, Depth of Field and the art of taking portraits on the streets, etc all were learnt in these shoots. Some long lasting friendships. Some mentors. All were made during these shoots.

Do more of this more often. I make a note in my mind. It is good to get a sense of Nostalgia once in a while.

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