The photo walks by Madras in Motion celebrates the city through pictures clicked by amateur photographers. Vipasha Sinha flips through their album
Fashion designer Ashok Arsh wanted to go beyond weekend photography, but did not know where to begin.
With his introduction to groups that go on photo walks, he began to make some headway. But soon, Ashok realised he had to go his own way. And he decided to take other beginners along with him.
In December 2012, Ashok and another photography enthusiast, Achuthanand Ravi, started a group called ‘Madras in Motion’, meant for beginners in photography.
“We started with just a few of us and now we have close to 1,500 members on our Facebook Page. It was just by word of mouth that aspiring photographers came to know about us and we became popular in a short span of time. Seventy percent of the members are college students and the rest are working professionals,” says Ashok.
Every Sunday morning, 80 to 100 photographers assemble at a venue decided upon earlier on the Facebook page.
“The photographers begin their walk at 5.30 a.m. and click away till 10 a.m., making the most of the morning light. Initially, we went over much-covered ground: the Broken Bridge, Mylapore tank, Marina and the rest of them. When we exhausted the list, we began to look for new places. That was the beginning of many surprising discoveries about the city,” says Ashok.
“These photographers uploaded the images on Madras in Motion page on Facebook and also on the common Flickr page.”
They see colour and character where others see only squalor: Four walks around Koyambedu yielded a rich haul of beautiful images.
They have managed great results from two other crowded neighbourhoods: N S C Bose Road and Sowcarpet.
“These places are fantastic for street photography and portraits as they are filled with colours and interesting people,” says Ashok.
“On the other hand, Mylapore and Triplicane are brilliant for temple photography. The greenery in the streets of Anna Nagar and Adyar make for good shots. And, of course, the beautiful beaches along the city’s coastline always spring surprises on you.”
Going through album, one gets an idea of the contrasting features of the city.
Against the surreal Broken Bridge, there is the commerce-driven Kasimedu fishing harbour.
Against the quiet lanes of Adyar, there is the bustling narrow streets of Sowcarpet.
Much as they love Chennai, photographers of Madras in Motion don’t confine themselves to the city.
They have organised day trips to nearby Puducherry and Kancheepuram.