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‘Children will try to outsmart you in varied ways’
Anukriti Sharma | Tuesday, 11 April 2017 AT 09:23 PM IST
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Photographer Neelesh Kale talks about engaging kids and his attempt to bring awareness about children’s photography

Who doesn’t love kids? They can lift up anyone’s mood with just one smile or an innocent act, even through photographs. Pune-based photographer Neelesh Kale went through the experience of photographing 190 kids from different age groups and one can see the result of his experiment through an exhibition called, Taare Zameen Par. The show offers stunning photographs of children caught in different moods, with different expressions, and they are bound to evoke a range of emotions.

There is one more thing that is unique to the exhibition— Kale has used images that are composite art which means no two images are the same, in terms of poses or backgrounds.

The exhibition serves a dual purpose — it showcases innocence through art, and seconldy, it promotes local young talent. A competition has been blended into this exhibition and a sponsored panel will select the best photograph. Kale, who has previously worked in Australia and has previously captured different objects — from children to heritage architecture, celebrity portraiture to dance movement and much more — says,“We are trying to increase awareness about children’s photography — why is it important to document the various stages of your child’s life systematically and creatively and so on. In addition, we are also promoting young talent. Currently, we will let Marathe Jewellers, S-mall and McDonald’s choose seven of their favourite kids each. Along with organising gifts from the sponsors for the participants, Starkids, my venture, will also share contacts of Mumbai-based advertising agencies, production houses and model coordinators (unfortunately most of the work is in Mumbai) with them. We will leave it to the parents to pursue this if they are interested.”

Photographing children is a tough task as a child can become restless or playful in a span of just a few seconds. But Kale used interesting tricks to engage his subjects. He shares, “When kids are in front of me, I usually lift my left eyebrow and ask them to mimic that which most of the kids can’t do. But their expressions at the moment are worth capturing. So this one time I asked one kid to mimic me and the kid did it perfectly and later lifted both his eyebrows and asked me to mimic him, which of course I couldn’t do. So they will try to outsmart you in varied ways but you need to learn how to engage them in conversation. If it is a half an hour or hour-long shoot, you will only have 10 minutes to capture the child’s expression and make the best out of it.”

Besides this project, Kale is also interested in heritage architecture photography. He is working on two of his dream projects­— Aapli maanse (an exhibition of famous personalities from Pune) and a coffee table book on the grandeur of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a heritage monument in Mumbai, which will be a part of his next exhibition.

You can enjoy the kids photography exhibition titled Taare Zameen Par at the Raja Ravi Varma Art Gallery, Ghole Road from April 14-16 between 10 am-7 pm

The author can be followed on Twitter @sh_anukriti

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