Published: 01st July 2020
Why this techie's Hulk in Lockdown photo series will have you LOL-ing over Hulk Bhai's ironing, drying antics
Bengaluru-based software engineer Guru Charan, for whom photography is revitalising, has been shooting toys to deal with his creative block
While scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you might have come across a series of photographs depicting how our favourite green superhero, the Hulk, is dealing with the lockdown. If you haven't, head over to @geosmin_photography, the Instagram page of Bengaluru-based software engineer Guru Charan. His now-viral 'Hulk in Lockdown' photo series is extremely relatable and hilarious and you can just imagine Mark Ruffalo's Hulk doing all these things — ironing, cooking and of course, chilling with a movie. Now, you'd be out of your mind if you didn't want to know why! Guru explains, "During the lockdown, I was stuck in my hometown of Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. I had a few action figures with me." Of all the toys, the Hulk was the only one that could stand upright without toppling over.
The 33-year-old started shooting the green action figure just to beat his boredom. "At the time, I also received several WhatsApp forwards proclaiming doctors, nurses and municipal workers to be the true superheroes during the pandemic," he recalls. This prompted him to think of how our beloved TV superheroes would deal with the lockdown. After creating a storyboard, where Guru figured out what the Hulk would look like and what props he'd have to use, he began to shoot the action figure. "I took my baby boy's vest and altered it to create one for the Hulk. A piece cut from a lungi became the Hulk's lungi. I wanted to give him a traditional Indian look," says Guru. He has created several costumes from pieces of clothing lying around his ancestral home for the 15-inch-tall Hulk action figure. Aside from a toy fan and a small dog figurine that Guru sourced from a local toy shop, the rest of the props, he says, are just things that were lying around the house.
Photography is more than a mere hobby for Guru, who clicks portraits and captures the streets of Bengaluru on the weekends as a way to rejuvenate himself after a week of sitting in front of a computer. It has been over eight years since he started photographing people and at least four years since he started shooting actions figures and other toys — a scroll through his Instagram page will show you his other trysts with action figures, including that of Groot from The Guardian of the Galaxy, Spiderman, Batman and even Wall-E. "Whenever I faced a creative block while shooting people, I would come back home and shoot toys. I soon realised how similar it is to shooting people and only the scale changes. A miniature scene can look like the real thing and I tried to recreate what I saw on the streets, essentially humanising them," says Guru. So while Spiderman sleeps on his web, Batman proposes to Wonder Woman, Groot holds an umbrella in the rain and Hulk does household chores during the lockdown on Guru's Instagram page.
A fan of collecting action figures, Guru's fascination takes him to Comic Con, merchandise and toy stores across Bengaluru and even e-commerce websites. "Some of the scenes that I have created with toys wouldn't look as endearing if it were shot with a human subject," he confesses. Like any professional, Guru acknowledges his loyal crew, "My wife and mother had provided major insights while I shot the Hulk in Lockdown series."
Some other photos in the series: