Walk into certain monumental or historical places in the city and you are most likely to be welcomed by a sign board which reads “photography is strictly prohibited”. But if Chandrasekhar Singh has his way, all this could well change sooner than you think. This city-based photographer, who won the National Geographic’s best photography award a few years ago, has filed a petition on Change.org requesting the Department of Tourism not to restrict photography at monuments and historical places.
Chandrasekhar feels that banning photography at such places is completely restricting their creative sensibilities as an artist. “It’s the basic freedom any artist deserves.”
“As an artist, I want to express myself freely but being bound by these external factors only limits it and thus I’m unable to capture the real essence of the monument,” he laments.
Another issues he highlights is how he has been time and again shooed away when spotted with a camera at almost all the city’s monuments including Taramati Baradari and Chowmahalla Palace. “Even after numerous complaints by me and several photographers in the city the issue has remained unresolved. Every time we go to take photographs, the caretakers or watchmen treat us like we have come to take away the monument,” he says, adding that bribery is another issue here. “We end up playing hefty bribes to take photographs. There are times we have paid close to `3000 to get access,” he says. The fact that these photographs also help in documenting the historical places should be a strong reason for the Department to review their stand, he adds.
Anuradha Reddy, Intach Hyderabad’s co-convenor, has also experienced the same herself during a recent run that took place at Taramati Baradari. Saying that there is no official ruling that prohibits photography there, she adds that it could possibly just be the local authorities at such monuments who wish to make a quick buck on the side. “Why photography is restricted in Taramati Baradari is a mystery — it’s a public monument and there’s nothing that can be damaged. If it's a commercial shoot, only then people have to take permission. But otherwise, for still photography they just charge a small amount for tourists,” she says.