The park is full of them. Amateur photographers, lovers, plant waterers, walkers… the stone paved walkways and cracked benches are filled with dilettantes.
The camera phone appears to have opened the artistic third eye of almost everyone who can afford to own one. In the park, foliage is a favoured subject. I can understand that, the only other subject available in such abundance is necking lovers and surreptitiously taking pictures of them can only land one in hospital or a ditch. So every day, as I huff and puff my way through one more lap around the central green I see someone taking a picture of a leaf. Yes, just the one. Close up. Portrait. From a distance they look like plant therapists (or plant sniffers… does such a fetish exist?), examining their subject from all angles, murmuring to themselves. And then they look around, ensuring there’s no one there to catch them. Taking a picture. Of a leaf. Ha. But they forgot about me. I stealthily creep up on them and just as they click I emit a dry snort. The shoulders jerk, the hands tremble and the head snaps back. Deer caught in headlight eyes meet my amused gaze and a wan smile is offered.
Necking lovers seem to have discovered the delights of the camera phone too (though not in a way that could make them famous on hotdesiaunties.net) But years of having one’s picture taken at Shakti Studio on Luz Corner seems to have influenced our shutter bugs. So we have the surly faced artiste and a slightly nervous looking subject. The artiste insists subject find a suitable background to pose against. Since they’re in a park the usual choice is a group of trees (The bamboo shoots I find add a touch of Oriental exotic to the finished piece) or a bench surrounded by trees. Subject positions him/herself amidst shrubbery and stretches mouth in to a smile, eyes darting around in search of Gomathi Mami who would like nothing more than to tell their Amma what her precious off spring is up to in the name of Maths coaching class. Of course, this hurts the sensitivities of the artiste’s tender soul and forces him/her to goad the loved one in to doing better. “To the left, head down, open your eyes a little wider, don’t show all your teeth when you smile, push the hair away from your eyes, look happier, no no not so many teeth, pah! You’re so useless. Chee this picture is uvack, I will take another one. This time, hold that flower in your hand.”
And then there are the sad sacks. They like to secretly take pictures of Cuticura-dusted-tire-ridden Mamis too engrossed in conversations about Salman Khan’s prowess in bed to notice. If it’s a Friday and the Mami’s are walking around Kapaleeshwarar (no doubt still thinking about Salman) these photographers turn to the next best subject they have.
Of course, yours truly fancies herself a dab hand at photography too. I’m just smart enough to restrict my photographic adventures to our backyard..