Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 10, 1444 H
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Hands at Work


AN Omani man mending fishing net or a lady’s hand-sewing a ‘kuma’ cap are perfect photo opportunities. But an IT professional based in Muscat with an eye for detail has given a different meaning by catching them on frame.

A talented photographer Bavish Kizhakoodan Balan has come out with a new theme to capture ‘hands’ through his photographic works.

During a stroll at the recent Muscat Festival at Al Amerat, he was on the lookout for unique frames. This was when he hit upon the idea of hands with special reference to Omanis.

At first he photographed the hand of a fisherman who was casting his fishing net near the Muttrah fish market. Many of his friends liked the photograph which he posted on social media. It was then that he got a meaningful subject — ‘hands’ and decided to capture such images in action.

An IT support engineer at Mustafa Sultan Office Technology, he deftly uses his camera with a passion.

Despite his work on IT projects, Bavish realised his area of interest was behind the camera and surely not in front. At work, though he faces unimaginable challenges and pressure, it is freelance photography which provides him with perfect relaxation.

“My focus is on the eyes and they need to be extra sharp,” says Bavish. This, according to him is a standard rule of photography. Many professional photographers rely on this theory, including him. “I always look for a unique frame,” he says.

What made him to choose ‘hands’ as a theme?

I was always looking out for a unique frame. It is here that I follow the ‘standard rule’ of photography. During a stroll at the Heritage Village of Muscat Festival, he was on the lookout for something different. He chanced upon an old man making fishing net.

A surprise looking Bavish was wonder-struck at the fisherman’s magical hands and his intricate moves weaving the net. His hands were working something magical which made him to focus on his hand as a subject for his frames.

“Photography can release any pressure. This is the only reason I didn’t make photography a full-time profession. I like my profession. but I love photography too. Photography is a game with light and shadow, and I am a player,” he says matter of fact.

Bavish also loves nature and prefers ‘living objects’ for his frames.

“Otherwise, I believe it’s a dead frame,” according to him. “Living objects like man, animal, birds or plants anything which can breathe. I used to travel only for photography. Whenever I shoot nature I feel happier,” he explains.

Whenever he captures humans on his camera, he feels more challenging. The reason is because it is very hard to get human expressions on to a frame.

Bavish says working on the subject about ‘hands’ was challenging. This gave him more importance to ‘hands’ as he needed to focus on the object. He also tried to add a story in the frame, like his action or expressions.

Once during shooting an Omani lady who was making traditional Omani caps (kuma), he tried a few angles from top, bottom and sides. But he didn’t like any of the frames and if he cannot get any he tries to compose one.

So he approached the woman to hand over the cap and placed that cap in front of his lens. “That move made me very happy and what came out was a fantastic frame. I showed that photograph to her, for which she smiled and appreciated my work.”

Photography for Bavish is a passion. “Everyone has unique vision and we have to find that first. We must not compare ourselves with others but need to think independently and have a different vision.”

“I always say change the attitude and angle in order to frame a good photograph. To improve photography skills, it is very important to be part of a talented photography group and exploring new areas helps a lot.” he confesses.

He specially prefers to capture such images in black and white.

He has come a long way from his journey as a photographer since 2011 when he was the assistant photographer to K B Girish, his mentor, who was his main inspiration. Presently, he is a member of the Friday Shoot Out Muscat (FSO), one of the biggest photography groups in Oman.

Bavish currently uses a Canon 7D Mark 2 and remembers the days when he started with a regular Sony point and shoot camera and moving on to his first DSLR, a Canon 60D.

For the future, Bavish plans to launch a book of photography with ‘hands’ as the topic and also hold a solo exhibition. He hopes to get sponsors to realise his dreams and continue updating his Instagram handle @bavishphotography.

Pictures by Bavish Kizhakoodan Balan

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