06 October 2008

Venturing into Street Photography, Madivala Market, bangalore

" A Vegetable Carrier-Madivala Market"
A couple of weeks back, I ventured out with couple of folks towards the old Madivala Vegetable and fish market. I wanted to explore the street life across these markets and had been hearing a lot from others.
It was quite an early morning start and we reached the market as the sun came out fully. The market still under a slosh of washed out cloudy ambience and a little drizzle was opening up to its prospects. Though it was quite lively with the amount of jostling happening but it was more of stalls, canopies and marts getting setup. Most of the people cleaning up their respective places and acting as interior decorators for their on road marts, though cleaning up is an individualistic affair. There were lot of tent houses which never needed to relocate and open into a new place as the place was taken up for almost ever. As the market saw more unloading of vegetable, fruits, fishes and every single thing which could be needed for a house hold, more and more noise rose into the atmosphere. The drizzle had already drained down and the clear weather was a welcome sign.

There was matki and plastic bag shop which was among the first one to open up and waited for its first early bird to come in as the day set it. The colours of the flowers shop were as bright as they were fresh and their amazing assortment of fragrances of Dalia, roses, and other flowers were just a free treat admist the casual Bangalore traffic. I was amazed to see the hustle bustle pick up extremely fast the time went by. We as a group also started moving around and started clicking the photos covering various subjects. It was my first experience of getting onto the street and clicking people and has been always quite sceptical about it. I had waited for sometime for a group shoot to get arranged and this was the time when I could too venture out for a new experience.
I have to say that people’s experience was mixed bag. Most of the people just took notice of this group of lens men and then carried on working with their chores and some of them shied away or gave a candid smile seeing them being shot. Some of the them were not very enthusiastic about some people just strolling around and clicking photos and were suspicious about our identity but as a group we were pretty comfortable to explain the cause for which we all were around. I went ahead and clicked a fruit seller when couple of people around the corner, came to me and started inquiring. It was my first trip and an encounter straight off with them. I explained a little about our interest and our photography and that we share pics among each other. This made them even more sceptical and then one of those dark eyed, bald person, in an attire of a security guard from a near-by building, told the other fellow in native Tamil that these guys take these photos and then showcase that India is a poor country. I was struck inside out and since I could understand and speak to them in Tamil, I explained them that we all are too from India and click these for the sake of the photography. Its not to make mockery of our resources but to capture the hard struck but beautiful faces on the street, who work hard for days and nights to meet both ends and still they never forget to laugh, still sharing a word with the fellow shopkeeper next to them, is a daily chore and the only religion which is followed here is Hardwork. Soon, they were happy to understand the motive behind and posed for me. This gave me the learning that it’s equally important to capture a candid shot as well
as striking a chord with your subjects so that it builds a bond between you and them.

Soon we moved ahead and I came across Abdul Chacha. An old, lament person, sitting in a small tented canopy which sold beetel and Pan Leaves. He was enjoying his morning puff of Bidi and was not perturbed by the clicking happening around and had a beautiful lightening in his eyes. As I sat around and got my angle to capture a shot of him, he carried on with his puff and gave a little smile. I was quick to have a moment enclosed and then which reviewing the photo on my 3 inch LCD, went ahead and sat with him. He took a look at the pic and then as he smiled, he rumbled due to the cough, I am sure which would have been settling inside since years of smoking tobacco and traffic smoke. A display of image was more than enough for him to feel happy about the experience. I went on to speak to him and he shared some aspects of his life too. He used to be a driver at Calcutta, a taxi driver which he did for some years, before he moved into Delhi as a result of family crisis. After staying for sometime, he took up being a coolie at the railway station and then continued working there when the hardship of that profession took best out of his physical capabilities. He moved into the Bangalore, his native place to settle down and sell leaves and occasionally changing product lines to make his daily living. I was quite touched and even more by the spirit in which he told his story.

Here are these sweet kids with such an innocent smiles to their faces that shows the true face and spirit of the people. Also a amma, making its trade as others setup their shops for the day.

This is another photo of fish selling family where this kid was so happy when his uncle called him from inside for the photo. I was told that all the fishes come in from Mysore and specific varities from Kolkatta and he was too proud to show me his possessions and his shop.

As we moved on, we clicked and clicked and encompassed lot of emotions over the streets. I can conclude by saying that street life is a different ball game when looked from a photography point of view as the emotions and stories of people can move your soul and show you the struggle and larger than life, which may not be a clear inference while clicking birds and flowers. An experience worth it, I am sure and looking forward for the same soon again.


  1. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Lovely snaps. I wish that they were larger. They are too good to be confined within those tiny boxes.

  2. Truly mesmerizing…….. have passed through this junction many times, but never ever I noticed what you have…..
    A crafty art of photography that you have mastered, keep it going buddy…..!
    Expect more from you.......

  3. We human beings are good in exposing our feeling in different expressions. Did you notice in all of the pics, people have expressed themselves differently - Anxiety, Curiosity, never-mind attitude etc. But since you have shown them their pics (for many that would have been the first pic), you have made it a day for them. Its we who learn more from them than they learning from us.Hats off - for your venture and for your empathy. God bless you!!


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