Veteran photographer K Bhaskar Rao introduces us to the other side of his lens and photograph


A photograph actually speak more than a thousand words, with veteran photographer K Bhaskar Rao on the other side of the lens. Capturing images since the past fifty years, and having recently been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for photography at Vizag Journalist Forum, June saw him bringing a few of them together for an exhibition aptly titled ‘Nostalgia’.

As we walked into the lounge of the Visakha museum, a range of photos greeted us. On display is the oldest photograph of the lighthouse dating back to the 1960s. It is the place where movies Marocharitra and Ek Duje Ke Liye were shot. An image of India’s first municipality at Andhra Pradesh (estd.1861) stands along with images that show the city’s transition over the years. All these images hold stories in them, capturing and freeze-framing moments in the journey of time.

”A real photographer’s job is to record things and show them to the next generation.”

His interest in photography began early and his career in the field took off when he joined the Indian Air Force as a photographer. A self-taught photographer who came into the line in 1958, a lot of K Bhaskar Rao’s technical learning happened during his stint there. Unassuming and simple, he went on to become a freelance press photographer and captured images for various publications. The veteran photographer points out that the role of press photographers is to record images and he has captured milestone moments like ones with Shri Rajiv Gandhi at a rally in Kurupam market area. This was Rajiv Gandhi’s last visit to the city in 1991, a moment that has now been captured for eternity.

“For a photographer, his own imagination is important.”

Having seen the industry transform from B&W to colour, he shares that back in the day, his was a one man show in Vizag. Developing and storing photograph, stories and technical aspects were stressed upon. As he followed them, today one can still see all these pictures from the past. Sharing that the exhibition is just one part of the collection, he adds that the scenario for photography has changed and there is a huge shift in attitude as well. Technologies have evolved too, however he reflects that high-end technology isn’t the only factor for good photography. A photographer’s imagination is more important, and one must be able to visualise the end result before going for a shot. “The knowledge of the subject is another vital factor”, he adds. If one is clicking pictures of sports, they should know the game, its rules and even the behaviour of the players. That combined with good camera technology gets you the best images.

“I can speak with my camera.”

Having passed on his skill and unique experiences to his son, K R Deepak, he is involved in teaching other budding photographers in the city. For this he conducts photo walks for people across age groups, and holds photography classes at Andhra University. He shares that the teaching scenario is good in the city, much better than where it was fifty years ago. Another trend he notes is the increase in educated people trending towards photography today, and how many doctors, engineers etc. are showing great prowess in this as well.

“I must be able to depict the feelings and emotions of a person in the photograph.”

With no pictures that he labels as his personal favourites, he adds that some images have been elusive and taken him days, often months, for the perfect shot. Like the sunrise at RK Beach over the dredger took him 37 years. He would sit there every day when the dredger was there as he wanted to have a picture of the sun rising over the ship. He even documented the submarine coming to shore and has images of the beach before and after its presence. His latest work showcases Khajuraho and he laments how few people know that sculptures there look different at different times of the day, owing to the sunlight. An ardent photographer for images of people, sports and birds, he shares that these are key areas for any photographer and if one can capture these three well, they can be successful.

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