Bangalore Pottery Town

Last week a group of us went to Pottery Town for a photography course. The last time I really took photos manually was with my old Contax. Since the days of film are long gone, that camera sits back in Canada in a storage locker. Up until last Christmas I had resorted to ‘point and shoot’ cameras, but here in India where I take so many photos, I wanted more options and the ability to take manual photos again.

For Christmas last year Michael got me my Nikon 5000 and although I like the feel of it, I’ve been rather lazy, using mostly the automatic setting – basically ‘point and shoot.’ So when I heard about this photography course to Pottery Town, I jumped at it. Then I sat down and quickly reviewed aperture, shutter and other manual settings.

The course was just what I needed and Pottery Town was such a great little place to take photos. At any time of the year the potters can be found molding their wares but right now it is particularly exciting. Elephant-headed Ganesh statues of all sizes and colors are sculpted in time for Ganesh Chaturthi, the 10-day festival that begins this week.

Every family will buy a Ganesh statue, worship it for the ten days and then at the end they immerse it in a body of water – a lake or the ocean.

We walked around the small village, trying out different settings, trying to get some depth and movement in the photos. All year round the potters make clay cups for drinking, clay pots, masks, and for Diwali – diyas, which are small candle holders. Their wares are on their balconies, in front of homes and on the sidewalks waiting to be sold.

This young man goes to college until 2:00pm and then comes homes and churns out about 500 small diyas a day. He was nice enough to let us take photos of him at work and then even let us get our hands dirty and  have a try – it’s not as easy as it looks!

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