Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday 16th of March: Day 6 The fun begins.

5am walk up call, actually jet lag opened my eyes at 3am but I stayed in bed typing my diary until 5 and the Vino John and I went out in the unusually quiet and dark Bangalore streets to the famous Lalburgh Park in northern Bangalore.
Surprisingly there were people up –local street cleaners tidy up from the previous days messes, students heading off to school and shift workers heading to their jobs. Over at Lalburgh Park it was full of people exercising, it was a bit of a shock to see so many people out in the pre-dawn light striding about and jogging along dressed in their usual working clothes. Indians seems to be almost as fanatical about personal fitness as the Chinese. There were hordes of them swinging their arms around, doing amazing yoga moves and power walking; mind you most were over 35 as I saw few children or teenagers exercising.
The light was amazing so soft and golden, so Vino John and I shot up a storm, well I did, Vino John was relaxing watching people go by and snapping off pics of me lying on the oldest rock in Asia to get a different angle. Met the sun worshippers who meet there every day to perform intricate yoga moves and worship the sun when it peeks above the eastern horizon. A  nice bunch of guys and girls ranging in ages from early twenties to 80 years of age – man I hope I can move as they do when I’m that old. Wandered about a bit marvelling at the beautiful light in the park before we headed back home where on the way I also took the opportunity to shoot drive-byes on the golden light. Bangalore wakes up quickly and the motorbikes, auto three wheelers, buses and cars all come out in force about 0830 choking the roads. We to leave the park by 0800 as that’s when the close the gates and start charging everyone a fee to be there plus a fee for their cameras etc another money making venture I guess – shame really a nice park too.
Anyway went home and prepped for the afternoon lecture at NICC.
They sent us a driver I am sure he was a kamikaze expert the way he drove almost had two nose to tails when he wasn’t watching the road ahead, he picked us up and we headed back out the 7 kms  to the NICC campus where sadly the power had failed, so I started my lecture outside in the blazing midday sun as a hands on portraits shooting session to get the students used to ordering people around, many are embarrassed to talk to people and take pictures so it was a good exercise for them, but I soon figured out that it is a combined class of designers and photographers  of which some don’t want to be involved and others as usual try to dominate your time. After an hour the power was back on so we retreated to coolness of the classroom and I talked about the great picture hunt, then after two hours of reviews of the students work which most was actually really good and creative before the faculty dragged me away upstairs where I was invited to offer my advice on a number of projects they were contemplating. I took the opportunity to explain my ideas for their projects and how I thought they should be handled, man where they happy they had found me. We had a great time and I enjoyed the experience, now they want me to a: coach the class on Sunday at the annual Holi festival- the colour throwing one, so I’m gonna go out and get some throw away clothes and plastic bags for the cameras as I know I will be a prime target there, b: conduct a two day class on travel photography to Mysore with the students on the 24th / 25th and then on 8/9th April conduct sessions at their annual design show and exhibition in Bangalore. So it all seems to be slowly fitting in with my concept of the reportage theme. They love the idea and we will work together to make it an annual event here. This is where I will get the other photos for my outreach exhibition from – the students work – cool.
When we finally got home later that night Auntie Fatima had cooked another good chapatti meal, when an old friend of Vino’s, the Chief Photographer at the Deccan Herald named Samson called in to discuss the workshops etc and the future over a few beers. People here are waking up to the idea that teaching photography is a good career to assume when they retire from the newspapers so schools are springing up all over the place but as usual they may be able to shoot well but often they cannot speak or teach well so they are reaching out to people like me to fill in the gaps
Looking around I have decided one project is going to be on Moore Road Frazer Town, the small district I am staying in. It should be an interesting experience so I better start planning my work.

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