Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We did it!

The prayer worked. No rains:)
The station master at Tyada too did his generous bit. He refused to give the train it's go signal till he saw that the tripods, camerabags and all of us boarded the train. He even waved us on from the bright blue station office.

Once in, our participants created a riot of excitement. At first the passengers looked at them in the FoE stetsonish hats with more than a little curiosity. Then, Dombai, a participant (a young girl from the Gond tribe) decided that she'd like to use my camera - a nikon D 40 and proceeded to hang it round her neck and rushed up a little girl who was looking shell shocked on her dad's lap because the train was thundering into a tunnel.

And like a true photographer - not only did she get a fab close up, she also proceeded to show the wary dad the picture on the display monitor - that broke the ice and like a forest fire his 1000 watt smile spread to the rest of the compartment and all our participants were inundated with requests of 'take my picture, take a family pic'. They were getting a hang of what it means to be on the other side.

There is a lot photo training is teaching us, the need to build brides, to talk, to engage with the people. It makes tasks so much easier, pleasanter, and sometimes gives us insights that we would otherwise never have had. An example - there was this old woman sitting in the corner. She watched us intently for some time and returned our smiles and then shyly indicated we look under her seat. The hen roosting there definitely made a picture for Pratap, and probably his day.

Elsewhere in the compartment there was the inevitable hanging out of the door and taking pictures of the train, its wheels, its passengers from all kinds of angles. The participants were making good on Rajendra Shaw's advice - "don't feel you have to stand only at a distance to take pictures - get bold, get closer to the subject'. They did. And horrified us no end :)

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