Reels of fading glory

Picture Perfect

Reels of fading glory

On walking past the Kengal Hanumanthaiah’s architectural beauty, Vidhana Soudha on any given day, one finds many men tote their camera bags and carry albums bulging with copies of photographs of people in front of the structure, more than willing to share the many designs and types of photographs they have taken. On World Photography Day, Metrolife takes a look at the fast fading clan of people who are popularly known as the Vidhana Soudha photographers.

 One of the attractions for the tourists coming to the City is the Vidhana Soudha and nobody misses to get themselves clicked with the structure standing tall in the background. Taking these snaps for the album are the photographers, who for a sum anywhere between Rs 30 and Rs 40 not only take a simple group shot of a family in front of the structure but also provide interesting special effects like the subject holding a diminutive Vidhana Soudha on his or her palm, the edifice with a floral trimming and there’s also one with the structure popping out of the Karnataka map.

Most tourists have their own ideas about the angle, background, and special effects. Since the customer is always right, the photographers are game. “We give the photographs by the end of the day but most of the time depending on the kind of work the photo requires, we take a day or two. In that case, we just post it to them,” says Charles, one of the photographers.

However, with camera phones and digital cameras becoming common gadgets among tourists, the photographers are surely having a tough time. With just 25 to 30 photographers left now, it has become very challenging to get customers. “There was a time when business was pretty decent, especially during summer, with tourists from the North coming in hordes. We used to make Rs 400 to Rs 500 a day but now it has dwindled to half,” says Ramanna, who has been in the business for 16 years.

 Some of the reasons given by them are that there are fewer tourists coming down and those who do come, end up bringing their own cameras. “There’s also the unpredictable rain that keeps people at bay,” grumbles K Murugan, another photographer. The photographers oblige if they’re asked to click with the other’s camera.
Today, most of their customers are either construction workers or people from the outskirts of Bangalore.

These photographers religiously work from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm everyday and somehow manage to earn a living out of it.

However, there is another bad news for them with the metro construction beginning soon. “We have heard that they are going to close the road for almost two years. In that case most of the photographers out here are going to be unemployed soon,” adds Ramanna. With no other alternative in mind for the future, they look out for the next visitor to Vidhana Soudha who could probably be their next customer.

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