Jodeghat (KB Asifabad): While it is a welcome sign that a good number of unemployed Adivasi youth in the old Adilabad district are showing keen interest in entering professions like photography, they are facing constraints of poverty. About 90 percent of an estimated 100 youngsters who have taken up professional photography as a means of livelihood work either by borrowing cameras or work with an established photographer on daily wages.

This was revealed at the start of the two-day photography workshop which began at the historic Jodeghat village in Kerameri Mandal of Kumuram Bheem Asifabad district on Sunday. The workshop has been organized by the Sigma Academy of Photography, Hyderabad, in collaboration with the Department of Language and Culture, Salarjung Museum and Union Ministry of Culture and the Jodeghat Camera Club.

About 200 professionals from various places in Adilabad, KB Asifabad, Mancherial, and Nirmal districts attended the event free of cost. At least half the participants belonged to the Raj Gond, Pardhan, and Kolam tribes and many of them had come from remote villages.

The peculiar aspect of professional photographers not owning a camera came to light when a group photo session was underway in front of the statue of the legendary martyr Kumram Bheem. Only a handful of the nearly 40 youngsters who lined up in a crescent for the photo session were carrying cameras while the rest were empty-handed.

The Kumram Bheem memorial at Jodeghat

"If only the government could give us still and video cameras," wondered Mandadi Deepak from Danuguda in Narnoor mandal of Adilabad district, a photographer who specializes in outdoor photography. "I shoot with a camera provided by other photographers in the agency areas who engage my services on a daily wage basis," he revealed of his kind of work.

"The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Utnoor can provide the much-needed help to these photographers," suggested Athram Madhav Rao, general secretary of the Jodeghat Camera Club. "Financial assistance from the ITDA will attract more youth towards this profession and consequently ease the unemployment problem to some extent.

"Yes, photography offers good scope as a means of livelihood," concurred Pendur Ravinder from Talamadugu, also in the Adilabad district. "There is a lot of work especially during the eight-month-long wedding season," he added.

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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