Jodeghat (Kumaram Bheem Asifabad): Last year's COVID-19 lockdown has changed the lives of many even in the tribal tracts of old Adilabad district. Among those 'many' is Athram Mamatha, an intermediate student of Sirpur (U) model school in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district.

Coming from Raj Gond tribal, she has become a professional photographer, possibly the first aboriginal woman to wield a still camera in Telangana.

Mamatha is the only woman among the 200 participants of the two-day photography workshop at the historic Jodeghat in Kerameri Mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district which started on Sunday. She has come to learn the finer aspects of photography, the rudimentary having been learnt from her father Athram Madhav Rao and her mentor Shinde Rajender, both involved in organizing the workshop.

Adivasi photographers posing for a grup photo at the Kumram Bheem memorial at Jodeghat

"I handled a camera for the first time when I was forced to sit at home during the lockdown," recalled Mamatha. "Seeing me toying with his photography instrument, my dad began teaching me the basics," she added.

During the over one year of her journey through the world of photography, the gutsy Adivasi student has covered events like weddings on her own besides managing affairs at her father's photo studio at Jainoor Mandal head quarter. Her diligence gave her the required success in the business which has boosted her confidence.

"I want to learn more about photography and videography so that she can stand on her own feet."There is no guarantee that education will get me good employment," Mamatha gave her reason for sticking with the profession, the craving for which had started as a matter of idle curiosity.

"I like to see objects moving closer to me when I am zooming in on it. It gives a totally different perspective," she observed when asked what she liked more about photography.

S. Harpal Singh

S. Harpal Singh has been working as a reporter for 32 years in Telangana, the last 20 working in Adilabad district. He has been covering tribal and environmental issues. After a 16 year stint at The Hindu, he retired as Senior Assistant Editor, in June 2020.

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