BANGALORE : Shutterbug K Venkatesh’s latest show features elderly women of the Halakki Vokkaligaru community wearing their traditional beaded jewellery.
Venkatesh, a news photographer with a Telugu daily, says that the increasing number of hoardings in the city advertising gold jewellery drove him to look elsewhere to feature ‘cheaper, more colourful options’ that are often sidelined.“I’m not saying don’t buy gold. But as someone who also occasionally takes up fashion assignments, I feel that this vibrant jewellery can be used by youngsters to accessorise their daily wear,” he says, and expresses amazement at how the older women of the community manage to carry the necklaces that look bulky.
And this beaded jewellery isn’t hard to find. He says, “You can pick it up from the street side, even within the city. And they cost just `10 or 20,” says he.
Talking of how he came in contact with these people, he says, “I had heard of the community through my work.” Five years ago, the photographer also did a series on the Lambanis. But it took him six months of running around for permission to get in touch with the Halakki Vokkaligas. After that, it was just two to three days shooting around Honnavar, Karwar and a few other places in the Uttara Kannada district. He says that these tribals are rather shy so most of his pictures are candid. “Though I’ve experimented with different backdrops — their houses, the greenery — and even used a fisheye lens for some, I didn’t want the focus to shift from the jewellery,” he says.