For many Bengaluru-based photographers, this city has been a muse. Many set their portraits against the hustle-bustle of the city and some capture the beauty and ethos of the city through its architecture and people.
Metrolife spoke to a few shutterbugs in the city and asked them to share their favourite snapshot of the city, how the city inspires them and more. August 19 marks World Photography Day.
Hub of activity
Sudeep Bhattacharya is a photographer and filmmaker who largely works in advertising. He also shoots weddings and portraits. His Instagram page (@sudeepbhattacharya), however, mostly features portraiture, various streets and urban scapes. “I travel frequently and photography is a way for me to explore the city as well as archive my experiences,” he says.
Every place, he says, influences you on a subconscious level. He makes it a point not to plan his shoot and instead capture his feelings at that particular moment and place. This can be seen in the diversity of his work, from measured compositions that places emphasis on lines, light shadow and colours to more wild and abstract ones.
Shooting Bengaluru: While he loves the quaint beauty of the old parts of the city, for his work, he prefers the newer parts where there is a lot more action. “The city continues to surprise me because it is a hub of activity. Mosque Road during Ramzan is so different from Chickpet, which is worlds apart from Koramangala or Electronic city,” he shares.
However, at the same time he feels that the city is losing a lot of its identity. “Many of the landmarks and what made it typically Bangalore has become homogenised thanks to its rapid growth. Compared to many cities not much thought has put into aesthetics. So it has become a generic urban city except for the handful landmarks like the Vidhan soudha or the KR market,” he adds.
The biggest challenge he faces is that of the language barrier. “I am very used to looking at a place from the lens of being an alien and it gives it a new perspective. But, after having lives here for over a decade, it is weird to have to approach from a space of familiarity and unfamiliarity,” he explains.
Stories of the city
Riddhi Debh is a travel photographer who has used her photos as a way to chronicle her adventures across 23 countries and 24 states in India. She runs two Instagram profiles; (@Rids_Goes_Places) that aims to take her audience to beatiful places through landscapes, nature and architecture whole (@Ridslovesstreets) captures intimate and realistic stories of people and streets. “Telling stories about travelling is not only about beautiful landscapes; it is about the stories that are unfolding everyday on the streets of the cities, the spirits of people, and the dichotomy that exists in our society,” she shares.
Shooting Bengaluru: The changes that have come about in Bangalore in the last two decades, she says, is her source of inspiration. “I love capturing the juxtaposition of the old and the new in this city,” she says.
Bengaluru does not have a huge reference in street-led photography, as compared to Kolkata or Mumbai. “Anything that I explore here could be unreferenced, and hence not looked at as mainstream. But this also allows me to tell newer stories, and create my own narrative,” she adds.
Thrill of unpredictability
Arun Hegde (@hegdearun), an aerospace engineer turned photographer, started his journey back in 2011 by exploring what his phone camera could do. A hobby became a full time profession in 2018. He shoots portraits, snippets from his travel and landscapes and weddings.
Shooting Bengaluru: “This city is incredible in terms of its multi-culture, people and the many spaces that offer backdrops for shooting people. The flower markets at Madiwala and KR market are incredible in this sense,” he shares.
Shooting in crowded places poses a few challenges. Carrying equipment, unpredictability of the light in outdoor spaces as well as hygiene can be an issue. But, all this only adds to the thrill for him. “People are usually friendly. Only a few tend to interfere but it rarely becomes an issue. Just speak to people with a smile,” he says.
Vivek Mathew (www.vivekmathew.com) is a fine arts photographer who mostly focuses on people and architecture. Two of his series have been centred around the city. ‘Fluid Stillness’ captures the many lakes of Bengaluru, while ‘Bygone Vignettes’ captured the architecture of the city that has been run down and ignored.
Shooting Bengaluru: For Vivek, the location is inconsequential. “I focus on lights and shadows. I carry a camera everywhere I go and click when the opportunity presents itself,” he says. Having an open mind, he adds, is integral to his process. “If I go with a set idea, not only will I end up disappointed, I will end up losing out on many things I could have captured if I wasn’t too focused on this idea,” he says. “I like the old markets where the traditional parts are still alive,” he says.
Of growing up
Archita Murthy (TheBlahMurthy on Flickr) is an English professor at St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) who, inspired by Auditya Venkatesh’s work, decided to pick up the camera herself. “At the time, his ‘Audi Photography’ page hadn’t been set up and I used to sit with his personal profile for hours together. A chair, a lamp, a street—the everyday was what he photographed mostly. It was at this moment that I started looking at photographs differently and paying more attention to them. I realised that photographs didn’t have to be just about the sunsets, weddings, or college fests,” she shares.
Shooting Bengaluru: The city has been home for almost three decades for Archita. “In spite of all the heart-breaking changes the city has undergone, my heart only expands to accommodate this growing home of mine,” she says. Through her clicks of the city, she captures the spaces she inhabits, where she leaves traces of her touch, smell, and sight.
“Of the million things that I blame adulting for, there are also a few things I’m grateful to because of it. It’s teaching me, slowly, how to find my space in this city, how to find a corner, and enjoy my company. The city gives me my space to put into practice what adulting is trying to teach me. I look at photographs that I’ve taken at Koshy’s, The Permit Room, Rangashankara, Veena Stores and what I see are those fleeting moments of the growing up that I’ve done here,” she says.
For her, capturing the city comes easy because it’s personal. “Years from now when I look at my photographs, each one will help me piece my story of growing up, of adulting, and hence there’s some kind of stubbornness to document these moments and these spaces,” she adds.