Kishor Krishnamoorthi on capturing the essence of the city through its faces

If you spot a couple of 20-somethings handling a camera, setting up lights, backgrounds and in effect, a studio on the road, clicking a few pictures and walking away; you’ve probably caught Kishor Krishnamoorthi and his team, Vishnu Mohan (Oi), Suri Vasireddy, Harikanth Gunnamagari, Srinivas Kaushik on their photographic venture — to capture the myriad faces of the city. Kishor calls it ‘Portraits of a city’; “maybe this could also become Portraits of a country one day,” he sighs.

Twenty two-year-old Kishor Krishnamoorthi has a degree in Economics and Politics from Essex University in the UK, he has since then served as a student body president for the college for over a year before taking up oil trading in London. Kishor was the President of Photographic Society at Essex and was also the official photographer for the Student’s Union at his University; then why didn’t he ever study photography as a subject? “I love Economics and I never thought I could make money from photography and I liked photography too much to make it my job. I thought that once I started depending on photography for money, I would lose interest,” he says. During his teens, Kishor took his father’s old Russian-made camera and discovered and learnt the concepts of exposure focus and shutter speed by himself. “It was thin enough to fit into my pocket, so I used to take it to school everyday; eventually everyone in school thought that I had permission to take pictures,” he laughs.

On a trip to India, Kishor’s friends from his days at HPS managed to convince him to take up photography professionally. He mulled over it and decided to wrap up what he had in the UK and moved back to India to become a wedding and fashion photographer. Kishor now earns his bread and butter through fashion and wedding photography and goes about doing his own little ‘projects’. In December last year, when Sheila Dixit claimed that Rs. 600 was sufficient to feed a family of five for a month, Kishor took it upon him to see if it would work and photographed what one could eat with Rs. 600.

Portraits of a city

‘Portraits of a city’ stems from another project; “A photographer in London went about taking pictures of people in London to capture the essence of the city through its people. I was intrigued because I believe that any city is made by the people. I wanted to do the same thing for Hyderabad, it is my city and I want to showcase what it means to me,” he says. Kishor however wanted to add a twist by taking the studio to the subject because he feels that a studio removes distractions of the background and brings the focus on the person.

“Unlike traditional street photography where you can simply go around taking pictures, here we have to confront the subject, seek their permission and take the photo,” says Kishor.

Kishor and co. worried about many things, but once they started the project, they realised that people are a lot more open to getting their pictures taken.

Subject and story

Kishor believes that a subject doesn’t have to be young and beautiful, for a portrait to make a mark. He speaks of character which brings out the essence of the city. Kishor and co. are meticulous in their work, as they take down the names and numbers of all the people they photograph.