What happens when you bring together over a dozen children from underprivileged homes, a team of photographers and a video crew? An explosion of color, chaos and creativity :-D
Children - urban and rural - who had never had the opportunity to even touch a digital camera, were suddenly let loose to capture the world as they see it in digital images.
Government schoolchildren in Hyderabad and Sheopur ranging in age between 8 and 13, guided by the team of photographers, were suddenly transported to another world. One where with a mere click of a camera they were given the freedom to express their interpretation of the world around them. Their imagination took flight, their sphere of knowledge suddenly included terms such as framing, color and composition, and like a group of whirling dervishes they took off. And we had to keep up with them while documenting their experiences on video.
How do you frame a child on video who’s chasing a butterfly digitally? How do you focus on a child in moving images who’s already clicked and vanished? Try panning the camera on a child who’s clicking stills on the fly – in the opposite direction! Try zooming in on a child who’s suddenly noticed a pigeon in the rafters of a church, leaving you with a big closeup of the back of a head.
These are the children that our video crew has chased through the narrow lanes around the Charminar, the imposing staircases at the Indian School of Business, the exquisite architecture of the Chowmahalla Palace, the colorful stalls at Shilparamam – all in Hyderabad. We then followed that up by trying to keep up with feet on virtual castors as they raced through the Sheopur Fort, darted through the melee of a rural mela, froze their impressions of home and family in a moment in time and clicked away with reverence in a Shiva temple.
Result? Closeups of eyes sparkling with wonder, faces radiant with excitement, and a bunch of NG takes with speed lines to show that there once was a subject in the frame!
Undeterred, our video crew continues to chase these budding photographers who click with increasing confidence, producing images that would put a lot of aspiring adult photographers to shame. Uninhibited and unbiased, they continue to manifest their perceptions of the world in strong digital images. Motivating us to try and keep up, in order to capture that one ‘Eureka!’ moment that makes it all worthwhile.
We hope to provide further updates after resting our tired feet and recharging our batteries. And of course, another tape change.
Author: Mita Bose, a Filmmaker, who's shooting a 15-minute film on Freedom of Expression for Naandi.