“Places I like”, a photo exhibition that captures the various facets of Bangalore is currently ongoing at Max Mueller Bhavan. It is an outcome of a 3-week workshop conducted in the city by German photographer Stefan Koppelkamm. The objective of the workshop is to define the personal criteria that determine the “quality of life” in a city with focus on ‘routine’ and ‘normal’ rather than the unusual. Many city-based amateur and professional photographers are participating in this exhibition.
“When I first got down at Bangalore’s Kalasipalyam bus stand, it was very unlike the image of the city that I had fixed in my mind”, remarked Jyothy Karat, one of the participants, who moved here from Calicut two years ago. A documentary photographer and writer, Jyothy, found that Bangalore is not all about IT parks and shopping malls.
The busy commercial hub, the sea of humanity, the hole-in-the-wall shops and the mobile businesses under the shelter of the flyover, the temples and mosques – the entire buzz was very different, and refreshing. For her, this was the obvious subject to shoot. “I have tried to zoom out and capture the entirety of the melting pot that is the market area” explains Jyothy.
Raahil Arora, an IT professional, was drawn towards contrast of noise and buzz of KR Market and peace and tranquility inside the Bangalore Fort. “You are amidst a thickly populated market area and suddenly you see a fort standing as a sentinel of history with its own tale to tell.” He instantly wanted to capture this contrast as his theme. “When I entered the fort, I was alone for almost half an hour, totally cut off from the chaos out there”, he said. The usage of colour for energy of life outside and monochrome for the Fort images highlights the contrast remarkably.
Avenue Road and the entire old Bangalore is a photographer’s delight. The thriving economy in the smallest of spaces, the temples, the cart vendors, the juxtaposition of lean, new buildings next to their elegant and ancient counterparts, the many hues and textures of life in this short two kilometres stretch is very engrossing. Mallikarjun Katakol, a professional photographer has captured this vividly in a series of photographs which clearly shows his love for the place as it is right now.
The exhibition also had places from erstwhile cantonment area. While Rajeev Malagi revealed the vibrancy of Russell Market, Aniruddha Ghosh captured the warm and friendly ambience of the historic Parade Café (as Koshy’s is also known). Aniruddha Ghosh has been in the advertising field for nearly 15 years. Though his foray into photography is relatively new, the photos are very professional and capture the cordial ambience of this place.
KR market, the Majestic area and Shivajinagar are obvious choices for a photo shoot.
However, there are some unusual choices too. A township that displays the row house concept, old world nostalgia nestled in the bungalows of Malleswaram and Cooke Town, ancient temples, portraits of everyday life, a café in Indiranagar and even a mundane BDA complex are all a part of this wide-ranging photographic canvas that makes our city what it is.
In her attempt to showcase the ‘commonness’ around us, Deepti Jois chose the HSR layout BDA complex as her subject. Surely the BDA wouldn’t have dreamt that their building would be part of a photography exhibition! In her defence, she says, “The erstwhile BDA complexes have been sidelined with so many malls that have sprung up in the city. I have tried to showcase the HSR layout BDA complex which is just like any other BDA complex and yet different from the others.” Her artfully captured photography makes one want to visit the place and see it once more.
I was pleasantly surprised that even in the morning on a weekday, there were visitors who took in the various sights of Bangalore. Usha, one of the many who had come to view the exhibition found it very interesting. However, Gautam, another visitor, remarked that while the exhibition was absorbing, it could have depicted the changes that the city is undergoing in a more powerful way.
The exhibition includes over 150 images, and it takes an hour and a half to view them all. It is open from 9 am to 6 pm until Saturday, the 29th of August.
Within the confines of one vast hall, one can travel across the city – Cooke town to HSR Layout, Russell market to Avenue Road – without haggling with the auto driver or braving the traffic jams. Bangalore looks great in these photographs. And pictures don’t lie, do they?