Lessons in the language of photography

01 Oct Lessons in the language of photography

For two days in the beginning of September, Agastya’s Creativity Campus was taken over by 38 budding photographers, who made it the subject of their artistic expression. The group of enthusiastic 8th standard girls from KGBV School, were ably guided through the basics of photography by eminent photojournalists Dipti Desai and Padma Shri Sudharak Olwe. 
As a part of the very first lesson, children were asked to get a feel of their surroundings and various objects in it, taking into consideration attributes like texture and color. They then progressed to framing these objects (quite literally) to understand eye-lines and angles, before being handed cameras to capture them. The flora and fauna and unique architecture of the Kuppam Campus offered them ample room to choose subjects that captured their attention. 

For some of them, it was the first time holding a camera. But if you happened to look at their pictures without this piece of information, you might be fooled into thinking they were taken by someone with several years of experience. 
The children were taken through each step of the process of taking a picture, right from choosing their subjects to composing them using the knowledge they had gained from Mr. Olwe and Ms. Desai. The result was 38 stunning photo series, each of them a mix of diverse genres — from portraits to landscapes and nature. 

Apart from the hands-on activities, the participants were also shown several photographs and photo series by Olwe, Desai and photographers Vasant Nayak, Shay Taylor and Senthil Kumar, which educated them on a range of social issues and inspired them to talk about such issues in their surroundings, like pollution and cleanliness. The most important learning from the workshop, was perhaps the push to use photography as a medium of self-expression. Both Mr. Olwe and Ms. Desai emphasised that taking pictures was all about achieving your own creative satisfaction and not others’ appreciation. 

The two-day event, organised in partnership with Murthy Nayak Foundation, was an enriching experience for the mentors as well. Mr. Olwe called it a wonderful experience and lauded the children for being very involved and grasping the language of photography with such ease in a short period of time. “Though shy at first, the children eventually spoke up when they were encouraged with support and this really boosted their confidence to talk and interact,” Mr. Olwe said. “Everyone at the workshop contributed in their unique ways and it really elevated the workshop and the spirit of the students,” he added and expressed his desire to return for another workshop very soon.