Life through a lens

Club culture

Life through a lens

Amit Kamat, Balaji Jayavelu, Deepak Kaikini and Vikas Kalagi are what you would call ‘chuddi buddies’. They have known each other since they were in second standard and have been through stories together; created memories and shared fond experiences. And though they are in diverse fields when it comes to their profession, their passion for photography binds them together (even tighter).

It all began nearly a year back, when the four decided to turn this passion into a club. This gave birth to ‘Shoot Bob Photography Expeditions’ and since then, they have been working seven days a week, juggling family life with their job and passion, to bring out the best in upcoming photographers and themselves.

“We slog to make it work. Five days a week we are at our jobs and on weekends, we spend time on this. But it doesn’t feel like we are over-working because photography is our passion,” says Balaji, an IT professional.

The four were in Sri Aurobindo Vidya Mandir together but it wasn’t until after graduation that they realised they have something in common. Says Vikas, a HR consultant, “We studied together but didn’t know about the other’s love for photography until later. When I started posting my pictures on social networking sites Amit contacted me and asked whether I’d like to take it more seriously. So, we learnt about it together.”

It’s the same with the others — “We began posting our pictures on the school WhatsApp group and got in touch with each other to take things more seriously,” explains Balaji.

Although only four members, they host frequent photo walks, photo tours and workshops for upcoming photographers. “Many people have a DSLR but it gathers dust in their cupboard because they don’t know how to use it. They just use it in auto mode so many don’t know how a camera actually works; they don’t know the settings. With our workshops and tours, we help those interested learn about the technical aspects of a camera, how to compose photos and the final editing process. Each step is necessary to know,” says Amit.

They recently came back from a tour of Dandeli, and before that, Dweepa. “We don’t believe in just taking people to a random location and making them click pictures. Instead, we do a lot of research about the place, and spend a few days there,” he adds. Getting to know the people of that region and the culture is important, they say.

On what made each of them get into photography, Deepak, an aeronautical engineer, says, “I have always liked exploring new places and meeting new people, and this is the best way to do that.” The other can’t agree more. “I used to use my mobile camera at first but then I thought I’d take it more seriously,” adds Vikas.

Balaji grew up with photography. “My father had a good camera and we’d take pictures at all family outings. When digital cameras came into the market, I bought a basic model and gave it a try. Of course, I loved it, and saved up to buy a better camera.”

Each of them has a field they excel in. While Amit and Vikas love portraits and street photography, Balaji prefers landscapes and nature captures. Deepak, who also likes street photography, goes his own way by getting to know the people in his picture and the culture of the environment he is clicking.

Whenever they can, they take off to different parts of India and take a group with them. Their main aim is to give those interested a chance at becoming professional photographers.

For details, visit their web page www.shootbob.com

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