One man is bringing big smiles to a few hawkers of Kolu bommais on Mylapore’s Mada Streets. He is photographer G. V. Balasubramanian.
Balu, as friends call him loves street photography, a passion that has grown since his retirement from Indian Bank. So when he has time, Balu hits the streets of the city. Streets with character. And Mylapore is his muse in some ways.
The past fortnight, Balu spent an evening on North Mada Street, shooting pictures of the hawkers, something he has done on a few previous occasions.
“I don’t disturb them. They have stuff to sell for a living,” says Balu.
When he gets back home, besides musing on his day’s work, posting on social media and setting aside a few frames to be entries in professional contests ( his work has been appreciated formally ), he makes prints of the frames with the hawkers, goes back to the spot and gifts them.
‘At first these people are surprised. They smile shyly. And they ask me when I shot these pictures,” says Balu. This Navaratri season, he made two trips to Mylapore to hand over copies of prints.
“I could see happiness on their faces. Happiness is sharing not only in social media,” Balu said in a recent social media post showcasing a shot he took of a couple holding up the prints he gifted them. ( first photo, above)
Balu, who has loved photography since his college days got going with his camera after his retirement as a senior banker.
“I first enjoyed shooting on the street at the Mylapore Festival in 2014. I still remember the kokkalikattai artistes performing on the Mada street,” he recalls.
Thereafter, he joined like-minded groups on photo assignments, was on PhotoWalks and became a member of the famed Photographic Society of Madras, helping organise contests for the annual Madras Day season.
Mylapore’s streets always beckon him, he says. This is also an excuse to meet up with colleagues who pursue the same hobby.
And of late, he has begun to gift pictures to people whom he shoots on the streets. “If I cannot give it personally I courier the photo,” he says. “It costs me just a bit.”
- Photo credit: G V Balasubramanian