Sunday, February 27, 2011

My 3 Rules of Photography

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I celebrated moving to the wrong side of 30 by picking up a new hobby- Photography. So this Saturday, I decided to venture out with my camera in search of faces which would become the talk of the town through my pictures.

It was all meticulously planned. I would drive to Connaught Place, park my car there, take a metro to Chandni Chowk and look for my subjects.

I put on my photographer’s vest-  after all, you’ve got to look like one to be one-  and walked out of the metro station into the busy streets of old Delhi. I felt like the protagonist of a well made art movie as I went about looking for the right faces to click. I could see people looking at me with awe written all over their faces.

The first to catch my eye was this old man. Sitting in a saffron garb, salt and pepper hair , wrinkled face and a lost expression. The perfect subject. I took out my camera, removed the lens cap and focused on the old man when suddenly, he turned crazy.

Photo kheechega? Abhi teri film nikaloon kya? he snarled.

I gave it back to him- Meri marzi! Jo chahe karoon

Nikal le yahan se nahi to abhi teri poori film bana daloonga! 
I knew it was time for me to scoot.

Not to be completely outdone, I stood there for a few seconds randomly clicking everything around except for the mad old man ; all the time looking at him from the corner of my eye, just in case he attacked.

I took out my little pad and noted the first practical rule of photography:

Always take the subjects’ permission before you click them.

It is important for me to let everyone know what this guy looked like. Here’s the  picture I managed :
The Old Man in the Saffron Garb. Almost.

Swallowing my pride, I moved on. After all, a photographer should be ready for such impediments. Barely a few meters away, I found my next subject- A woman selling spices.

She was dressed in bright clothes and the spices that lay ahead were as colorful. I could visualize the picture; fraught with bright colors , lovely composition , my ticket to the hall of fame.

Amma, ek photo kheech loon? Paper mein chapegi! I improvised on rule 1.

500 rupay de 


500 rupay de agar photo kheechni hai to!

Madhuri Dixit ho kya? , I felt good about the witty repartee.

A few people had gathered by then. They saw my plight and came to my rescue.  One of them even tried to convince the woman but she didn’t budge.

Poochna kya hai? Kheech liya karo bas! , suggested a helpful bystander.

I considered the option for a while. Fifty meters away, the old man in the saffron garb was staring at me. I dropped the idea.

So I took out my little rule book and added the second rule:

No one likes to be clicked these days. At least not for free.

Two bad experiences in a row made me rethink my strategy. So I needed to oblige people to click them eh? How about clicking something else instead? Something I loved anyway!

And that very moment I knew it. It couldn’t be anything but food. What better to club two things I am most passionate about – food and photography- right? WRONG. The gourmand inside me overpowered the budding photographer and I ended up eating most of what Chandni Chowk had to offer without actually taking a single picture.

So here goes the third rule:

Food and Photography can not go together. Food will always win.

Finally, I decided to click things that wouldn’t object being clicked and things that I couldn’t eat. So the rest of the day was spent clicking pictures of buildings and forts. I also considered clicking pictures of couples indulging in PDARAHP (Public Display of Affection in Remote And Historical Places) but decided against it after remembering rule 1. More on that later.


  1. no wonder none of us ever clicked anything delicious!

  2. HA! I like the three rules!
    I also love that you referred to that woman as 'amma'. You can take the boy out of Chennai...

    BTW, the dangerous old man looks suspiciously like the Onida devil.


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