KOCHI: While Jisha Shane, who is contesting from ward 16 of Kumarakom grama panchayat, walks around campaigning for votes, photographer Abey Itty Kurian is just as busy. The Kottayam Mooledom native religiously follows Jisha around, capturing heart-warming moments of her interactions with the voters, and not the least bit hesitant to jump into a canal or stream to get just the right angle. In a few days, Abey will have a special election portfolio ready for Jisha, who is contesting the ensuing panchayat polls as an independent candidate.
“So far, photoshoots have been carried out mostly just for functions like weddings and engagements. Portfolios are also usually associated with the modelling industry,” Abey pointed out. “However, with the poll campaigns going online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the candidates want to look their best to make a good impression on the voters. They still want the usual portrait pictures for boards and banners, but the demand for those has come down considerably,” he said.
Abey has already made portfolios for three candidates and has been getting more orders from candidates across the state. “Such photoshoots have become a trend across the state now,” he said. Shaji Drishya, a photographer from Kalpetta in Wayanad, pointed out that the shoots happen during the golden hours -- either early in the morning or after 5pm.
“Candidates want the photos to show that they are approachable. I have followed some of them around in various colonies, clicking photos as they talk to the voters and take stock of the problems in the area. In the past, the only pictures we used to take of candidates were for the posters. They believed in working their magic by personally meeting up and interacting with the voters. However, the pandemic has changed everything,” said Shaji, who has also been getting orders and enquiries by the dozens.
The ‘pre-poll photoshoot’ trend is said to have taken off after the posters shot by amateur photographers belonging to the LDF’s Youth Coordination Committee at Bedadka in Kasaragod went viral. Suresh Payam, a campaign committee member, said when the party asked them to make poll posters the panel decided to come up with something different.