Published: 27th August 2017
All you click-tomaniacs! Here is a photowalk which comes with theme and a mentor
Nizhal Studio’s photowalks ensure mentorship at every step, says founder Sowmya Raghunath
You don’t even need a camera for the Travel with Nizhal photowalk — such is the pull of this event organised by Nizhal Studio, founded by Sowmya Raghunath. These walks are a recent extension of the photography workshops that her father, famed photographer Sai Raghunath has been conducting for years and is open to all. The themed-walks, the most recent of which was conducted in Mylapore, Chennai on the theme ‘Environmental Portraits’, have become a hit with the photography enthusiasts of Chennai. What started off as just 15 participants for their first walk, is now at 35.
“There was one medical student whose camera had gone for service but he still came because he loves photography so much,” recalls Sowmya. So, DSLR or no DSLR, this photowalk is for everyone. But wouldn’t this make photography extremely generic? After all, anyone with a smartphone seems to be a photographer nowadays. “Not at all. Photography is like art or sketching. It is free for everyone to explore, everyone is welcome to experiment,” says the 23-year-old, gleefully. Sowmya loves photography and has worked for several magazines. She believes that a photograph connects with every standard of audience.
When you set a theme at the photowalk, the photographs cease to be random, yet this leaves much scope for experiment
Months ago, the father-daughter duo had been a part of a few photowalks in Chennai. This prompted them to start their own about four to five months ago as a practical extension to their theory classes, which they have conducted at Loyola, MOP and other such colleges that offer a photography course. With her celebrated father, who won a national award for a photography contest themed ‘Hum Do, Hamare Do’ from the then Tamil Nadu Governor, Sundar Lal Khurana, serving as a mentor, they have set out to conduct photowalks in Besant Nagar, Koyambedu and even Tiruchy, and the enthusiasm just seems to be growing exponentially.
The key to this, Sowmya reveals, is customisation. She recalls one participant who suggested that instead of a general feedback, which the 52-year-old Sai Raghunath asks for at the end of the walk, he should offer individual feedback, which is how they roll now. “And participants connect with you more when they know their feedback is being valued,” says the MOP Vaishnav alum. Thus feedback is taken at the end of every walk. Not only mentorship, “participants are given individual importance and are motivated throughout,” she says, adding that their digital promotion post-walk is also contributing to their success. At the end of the walk, they give away one award and another photograph receives a special mention
Framed together: Participants at one of the photowalks
They have not only taken up the task of helping upcoming photographers, but are also doing their bit for the established ones. There are over two lakh wedding photographers in the state who have no certification, which makes it difficult for them to get government loans, Sowmya informs us. The duo organised a two-day Basics in Photography Workshop for about 65 such photographers at the Tamil Nadu Open University and gave out certificates from the university as well.