HYDERABAD: Click a photo, upload it, share on Facebook. With advent of digital photography, the photographer in each one of us has found a ready canvas. With World Photography Day celebrated on August 19, it seems photography has moved beyond the framework of a profession.
Mobile cameras and inexpensive digital cameras, coupled with quick uploading on social networking sites, photography is now an affordable medium of expression.
Photographer Arvind Chenji recalls that before the era of digi-cams he had to carry at least 100-200 rolls if he went out to shoot. Whereas now, it is much easier and cheaper without having to worry about rolls. “Earlier, a good photograph was one where the image had clarity.
Professionals cannot define it by those standards anymore as there is tough competition,” says Chenji. Though professionals now have a higher benchmark to good photography, he believes despite easy access, not everyone is a professional.
Flickr is a popular platform for sharing photographs and discussing techniques.
Like-minded people getting together for photo-walks has sparked off many an amateur photographers’ club. “I and other founders of the club got to know each other through Flickr and decided to start an amateur photographers club in Hyderabad. We have now 1,150 members and it has become way easier for us to join a common group, share photos and chalk out our weekend photo walks through the forum,” says Sandeep Kumar, a founder of Hyderabad Weekend Shoots.
These clubs provide a common ground for people across professions and age divide.
“We have people using cellphone cameras as well. We have close to 30 per cent members using very basic models,” adds Sandeep.
The ubiquitous device has become a tool for capturing moments and cataloguing journeys, trips and experiences, says Bablu, a camera showroom owner in the city.
“The fastest moving models are the 10 MP Coolpix range which is affordable and can be handled by all. Families go in for easy-to-use devices whereas those who are serious about photography go for digital SLRs,” he says.
“Few days back, I saw a boy in a restaurant washing plates in one hand and capturing it on his mobile phone in the other,” narrates Sunil Krishnan, creative director of Quilt 365.
When he started his career in Contract Advertising Pvt Ltd in 1990, professionals came with a thorough knowledge of technical aspects of photography. One can now manage without much theory and technicalities, points out Sunil Krishnan who sees this as part of evolutionary process rather than a deterioration.
Evolution of digital photography has increased creativity in use of colours and in turn influenced filmmakers to use varied colours, he opines.
From the past two decades, the NGO Deccan Development Society, has been training rural women the technique of photography and film-making and found photography to be a strong medium of storytelling.
PV Satheesh, one of the founders, quotes one of the women in a village who found photography closer to her than films. “The film keeps running and does not give time to think. You can look at a photograph for long and understand it or ask for explanation,” Satheesh rephrases the woman’s comment.
Based on his experience, he feels these women in the villages have been able to use photography as a tool of communication without formal visual literacy.
However, the professional photographers rue the fact that digitized pictures lack the depth and mood captured by the 120 mm or 35 mm devices. Photoshop is another truant which makes distinguishing a good phtographer from a crafty one difficult.
While the digital revolution is here to stay, few can deny the ease with which a moment of life can transferred from the Blackberry on to Facebook to be ‘liked.’ Images sure have moved out of the proscenium, away from the gaze of an observer to that of one privy to our daily lives.