Sunday, October 25, 2009

Canon Photo Marathon 2009, Bangalore reportage

It was as though an army of 200 strong with their sten guns looking out for targets to shoot. We Canonians, participating in the Photo Marathon in Bangalore resembled like an armed batallion in our Canon uniforms. For the first time ever in India, Canon conducted Photo Marathon on 25th October 2009 simultaneously in three cities - Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon and it was an event filled with energy, excitement and enthusiasm. This writeup is just about that.

Before starting the actual reportage of the event, let me anwer the question OMGWTF-Photo Marathon? It's basically a photo contest wherein the photographers are given three themes, each theme in a gap of an hour and half. Photographers are free to go anywhere and shoot anything that matches the theme, return to the venue, choose ONE photograph, upload it into their respective folders, all within the given time frame of one and half hours. So it's a stress based photo contest - photographers have to worry about where to go in order to find that ONE winning photograph that suits the theme and also consider other hassles like traffic and waiting time for uploading photographs.

At 8:30 in the morning, we were present at Canon Image lounge. We were given stapled sheets containing instructions, plan for the day and indemnity letters. They also issued T-shirts and lunch coupons. At 9:15, the gorgeous emcee of the show Neha (I hope I heard her name right) started the show...the usual welcome note and plan for the day. The questions were answered by Manikantan and exactly at 9:30, Kriti announed the first theme - ON THE JOB. I had made few friends Manasvi, Hariharan, Prashanth and Lawrence just before the contest. We almost unanimously decided to head to K.R. Market. Hari and myself stopped for a moment near UB city to capture few road side workers, before we proceeded to K.R. Market.

We parked our vehicle on SP road and walked towards the main market building. The place was as usual bustling with all kinds of people - peddlers, buyers, drivers, cart-pullers, transporters and also lots of photographers. People happily posed for us while we did our jobs and at times some of them requested us to click more photographs of theirs. The vegetable and flower market had too many photographs in them, it just needed a good eye and a fast lens, for it was a little dark inside the market. I clicked people sorting out chillies and onions, haggling potato price, seated in front of a flower heap making garlands, selling drum sticks, reading news papers, watching TV, porters carrying huge baskets, children peeling onions and what not! I just loved the verve in the market environment, which is despised by many Bangloreans calling it a stinking and crowded place. We rushed back and submitted our image, well before 11.

Again there was a gathering, Neha interviewed few of the photographers asking them about their experience. She also called the youngest and the oldest photographers on stage and talked to them. Kriti announed the second theme by 11:30 - FREEDOM. My mind started seeing images of doves and pigeons, fluttering tri-colour, encaged birds being released, eagles floating in oblivion. Hari drove me to Richmond road flyover, he had something in his mind. I could see a pigeon there on a railing, I waitied for it to fly but it was probably the laziest piegeon on earth, it didn't budge a bit. We then head to Russell market area, to try out luck with bird sellers.

As soon as we got out of the parking lot, my eyes fell on the corner butcher shop. I found a brood of hens encaged, while a proud rooster atop the cage. For me it depicted both freedom and captivity and I clicked that. I had already got what I wanted, but I had to wait for Hari. I ambled around crowded streets of Shivajinagar clicking eagles in flight, tied sheep with the butcher's knife in it's fate and other things that gave a hint of freedom (or captivity). By 1:10, we reached the image lounge, quickly uploaded the shot and rushed to hotel next to Brigade towers. The food was pretty OK, but the place wasn't big enough to handle crowd of that magnitude.

At 2:30, the third theme was announced by Kriti - STANDING OUT. Our small clique started discussing ideas...a red rose among a bunch of yellow roses, UB city among other buildings, a red dress worn bloke among canon uniformed photographers, a flower in foreground with smooth bokeh in the background, living animal among the meat hangings in butcher shop...were few of the ideas we gathered. Prashanth put forth the idea of "Pottery Town", which is known for repetitive patterns and we nodded in agreement, Hari parted from us in the last moment.

Pottery town, indeed, was very photogenic. There were pots, hundis (piggybank), diyas (oil lamps) and tandoor pots of various sizes, shapes and colours, all at photographers disposal. Manasvi and myself took pretty much similar photographs of diyas and small pots; we reached an agreement that we don't post similar images. Lawrence got an onion standing-out among tomatoes, while Prashanth got a focussed Buddha face among blurred ones. We also tried out the floral arrangment we had talked about while forming ideas about the theme, but it looked too made-up. We returned well before 4 and took the elevator to the top floor of Brigade towers, Manasvi wanted to try out her UB city idea. But we didn't get an angle from which that shot could be composed, we came down and submitted our images, after which we had a cup of coffee, exchanged e-mails and dispersed.

It was sad that I was not aware of the fact that basic post-processing was allowed, unfortunately I had not carried my laptop. Overall the event was very well organized, given the fact that this was the first time. Thanks to Manikantan, Kriti and other Canon crew and Neha for emceeing the event. The results will be announed by 5th November 2009, am keeping my fingers crossed. Wish me good luck people!!! Best wishes to all the other participants!!!

Some of the selected photos I took could be found at: Canon Photo Marathon 2009, below are my entries for the contest.

ON THE JOB:


FREEDOM:



STANDING OUT:


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