Photowalks highlight beauty of unrehearsed street scenes

A day out roaming the streets, one can see, hear and find a thousand tales usually best previewed when the scenes are captured through a lens. Like-minded photographers from around the city flocks to these areas, gather stories with their lenses promulgating the idea of ‘click, share and learn’.
This is the main thought behind every ‘Photowalk.’ Amateurs and professionals whose hobby is capturing photos interact and mingle making the event a learning day where they collect tips and tricks of photography. On this event, they capture candid images of their surroundings in the naturally lit broad daylight.
The photographers take their shots with three themes in mind – streets, portrait and daily life. Souqs, markets, public spaces and alike have all become a haven for these. In these spaces, they capture candid shots of the real life. The images they preserve add colour and life to the mundanity of everyday life.
For the perfect shot, it is important to capture the subject in motion with his background telling the story. It is important to get the shot without distracting the subject. It is a difficult task but the end result is a picture that truly speaks a thousand words.
“Candid or street photography requires perseverance, right light and perfect timing. It is all about that right action and the background supporting it. It’s a game of patience while hunting for the perfect frame,” Midhun Mukund, Founder of the group Photowalk Muscat, said.
The 10th Annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo walk saw the fruits and vegetable market in Mawaleh, Muscat as their centre of attention with photographers clicking away with the mission of capturing the perfect candid shot.
With people in the momentum of showing of and selling their fresh produce, the scenario presented a ripe opportunity to capture the perfect shot.
“As a market is filled with random movements, it gives a photographer a chance to choose their style and bring out the act while they click. There are colours and emotions, expressions and motion, which are meticulously brought into focus. Subjects, animate or inanimate, catches photographers’ creative mind first and then their lens zooms in,” Midhun shared.
Mawaleh, during this particular photowalk, was filled with fresh fruits and vegetables of all colours and sizes. These were sourced and grown locally and their high demand and quality was what made the crowd come to this place to buy the products.
Other than the fresh produce, photographers also gravitated towards the helpers who were stacking and carrying the stocks as commonly seen from the images taken at the photo walk.
“I have been to many countries and clicking at market places gives me immense pleasure, but the area we have to explore at Mawaleh is not only huge but diverse as well,” Midhun said.
The walking tour lasted for two hours giving the photographers ample time to capture thousands of frames worth of images. Markets have a reputation as unexciting photographic venue but the photographers took it upon themselves as a creative challenge to produce a shot of the finest quality.
“Street [photography] can be anything but never beyond 6 pm” mentions Midhun.
“It isn’t easy as a photographer has to wait and search for what he/she is looking for in her frame. It first has to be framed in his or her mind and then the shutter goes on,” he continues.
Portraits was the choice of the photographers for this year’s photo walk. The subject on frame, their facial features, definers and expressions reflects a real person. This genre of photography focuses on ones’ facial and body language giving distinct flavour of the person. Their background tells the rest of the story.
“Clicking portrait is my hobby and here at the vegetable market I can get true faces, the face behind the hard work. Their wrinkles, the sweat, their action as sellers and those customers; all their actions and the intensity of their looks attract my Canon lens. I am still learning,” says Neetu, to whom photography is her one and only hobby.
There were a lot to take in and process in Mawaleh market. The photographers also paid attention to the trucks and cars loading and offloading more produce. The participating photographers took it upon themselves to follow their movements not only with their professional gears but even with their smartphones.
“It is not strictly professional cameras and the high end accessories that can capture the best shots. These days, it can be accomplished even just by using smart phones,” Midhun said.
There were around 60 creative photography enthusiasts who joined the event. They were supervised by more professional photographers who guided them about how to deal with the crowds, the best camera settings and how to get consent.
The group operates under the strict policy of ‘click portrait only after the subject’s permission’ which was put in place to ensure the privacy and safety of the people at the market and the photographers themselves.

What is ‘Photowalk Muscat’?
Photowalk Muscat is comprised of professional and amateur photographers bonded together by their common interest for photography. Their Facebook account currently have 600 active members and their gatherings and discussions focus on how they help each other improve their skills. Their photographs have a wide range of themes like daily life, landscape, the streets, portraits and wildlife
As a space for learning and sharing, the group organises photo walks not only within Oman but also abroad. The first Saturday of October marks the annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk.
For more information about them, check out their Facebook page facebook.com/groups/PhotowalkMuscat/ or follow their Instagram: photowalkconnect

Swati Basu Das
axisswati@gmail.com