Picture perfect

Wheel and spokes stand out in a medley of shadows — the winning entry from Vijay S.K. The other top winner was Kavitha Amarnath (colour).

Wheel and spokes stand out in a medley of shadows — the winning entry from Vijay S.K. The other top winner was Kavitha Amarnath (colour).  

THEY SNEAKED around with cameras, popping in and out of raging traffic, gingerly polishing lenses and lugging camera bags in search of a picture perfect scene. They travelled through lanes with more character than space and highways with more potholes than road to frame the proverbial picture capable of speaking a thousand words. Their main mission? To capture a significant moment on film to enable it to live forever. And, win a photography award while they were at it.

The photography contest organised by the Jaigopal Garodia Photo Journalism Academy in association with the Madras Photographic Society drew shutterbugs in droves from around the State. The inter-collegiate photo contest invited entries in two categories — colour prints and black and white prints. But what really made it interesting was the fact that the organisers resisted the temptation to dole out the usual round of `Unity-In-Diversity' and `I-love-my-country' themes that most school and college competitions can't seem to do without nowadays. Instead, they declared the subject `Open' and left the rest to the vivid imagination of the participants.

Though the colour photograph entries were more than double the black and whites, it's the black and white prints that make the biggest impact. Besides proving that there are an inexhaustible variety of shades between light and darkness, the photographers skilfully used this now-outdated palette to dramatically re-create the world without colour. And somehow, even drained of all colour and illuminated by only inspired sunbeams, the pictures manage to take on a life of their own.

The colour photographs, however, aren't far behind in creativity. While shooting in colour might seem easier than working in monochrome, photographers have to really use their third eye to ensure that they stand out in a world crammed with multi-hued photographs. The participants in this competition for instance did more than just cheerfully photograph the obligatory `colourful bazaar scene' or snap a couple of vividly feathered birds. Their pictures cover a range of subjects ranging from a look at child labour to a dramatic picture of a temple bedecked in lights illuminating the tank beneath it.

If the organisers gave the participants the usual `there are no losers in this competition' talk they wouldn't have been wrong. Even if just six people are now excitedly waving about the prize money, the rest still have something that's worth a lot more than a consolation prize - unique glimpses of their cities that they alone saw, pictures they created and memories that won't fade with time. Provided, of course, they use a good photo album to preserve them!

By Shonali Muthalaly

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