Malvika and YMCA - an untold story

January 5, 2014

The night before, all preparations were made, camera - check, lenses - check, reflectors - check, strobes - check, batteries charged - check. The customary alarm on the iPhone was kept and the rest of the night was just a dream. 


My mom wakes me up at 9:15, turns out, had 8 missed calls from RD, RD calls my wife (who's bunking with my in-laws), my wife calls my mom and my mom rushes into my room and wakes me up. I jolt out of the bed, see the missed calls, think to myself, what am I going to come up with now, RD had probably heard all my excuses and more. I thought just the truth would do I guess, the fact that my phone was on silent. Well, it worked and he bought it. 10 minutes later, he was at my house and me, I was trying to keep my calm, still trying to open my eyes as I sat in RD's car (even after a shower, it happens). Our shoot was meant to start at 9:00 and we left home at 9:30. Malvika was waiting at the other end. A couple of apologetic phone calls, by RD ofcourse, calmed her nerves down (I do things and RD makes up for it - well it works). 


The mandate was to reach the YMCA, where Malvika and her folks and Buster lived for over 20 years, and shoot them in their natural habitat, before it gets torn down - for all sorts of reasons, the legendary master plan of the Hyderebad Municipal Corporation, building a new structure for YMCA etc.


We managed to reach in good time, just before the time when any photographer knows not to shoot outdoors, sun and its harshness (if only we had the golden hour all day long). 


Met Malvika and got our brief. Was simple, “this YMCA is being torn down, we have lived here for over 20 years and I want these memories to last - forever”. We then set out to capture everything that was dear to Malvika, her family, Buster, her friend Ali and of course the YMCA. 


Between important telephone calls, we managed a few shots with her folks. Her mom, demure and collected – one look at her and by default you would want to introduce yourself and just soak in her aura, be around her. Her dad, a daunting, yet humble, composed and collected, a figure of solidarity, a biker of his time (the mom claims he still rides his 20 year old bullet, a claim that is yet to be proven, need to see it to believe it). Malvika and her dad, often had their father daughter talks whilst walking on the asphalted basket ball court. Had to make them walk across the court twice to get that perfect short of the pseudo conversation they were made to have.


By this time, sun was playing hard ball, shadows were all over the place, camera settings were being changed more often the Paris Hilton changes her hand bag. We managed to use a reflector and get the perfectly contrasted shots of Malvika and then it was a WRAP.


Amazing people, brilliant location and heaps of fun. Reminds us, over and over again, why we enjoy photographing people so much. Photography rules and we are lucky enough to know a thing or two that puts a smile (or a tear) on people's faces and make them say this:


“Mom had tears in her eyes.


Dad was in awe of how his two ladies and him looked in all of the family pictures. "Chest broad" :))


Daughter continues to feel awed looking at the depth behind every emotion and click. Daughter is grateful to RB and AB for the captures.


God bless you.”


For the photography enthusisasts: 

Gear Used: 

Camera: Nikon D800 & D800E

Lenses: Tamron 27-70 f2.8, Tamron 70-200 f2.8




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Ricken is an entrepreneur, ran a successful apparel business, has had his Masters from one of the top universities in London (his claim, Arash has his serious doubts though!!!!). However, as most of the clichés go, photography was his true calling. He put in a lot of time and effort in growing his organic apparel business, however, the days when he got back from his shoots, were the days, in his words as he puts it, that were "most productive and fulfilling". No more rambling. He is the rock behind ARotography, the steady yet deceptively hilarious force that keeps ARotography going. Although should not mention here, Arotoraphy and all that jazz, photoraphy and the words here should highlight how good they are and why they would be your best bet on your D day, truth canont be hidden. If Ricken says he does not have the dates to oblige you with for your photoshoot, it mostly probably is because he might just be scheduled to ride up to Ladakh and not because he is so swamped with work that he cannot accomodate you. Do ask him this when in the off chance you he does not oblige with you.  Ricken rides a Harley Davidson. 

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