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Click India!

Their mission is to capture India, on film. Meet the members of the Chennai International Camera Club

WATCH OUT! These expatriates have India as their target! Armed with an assorted array of cameras, from the basic aim-and-shoot varieties to the more sophisticated ones, these people are set on a fun mission: to capture on film the essence of Indian life. Get introduced to the Chennai International Camera Club (CICC), an informal club of expatriate photographers with a sprinkling of Indians. The CICC's formal agenda? To capture the ethos of contemporary India. They are here in Chennai because their jobs or those of their spouses have brought them here. But they seem to be loving it, especially the photo opportunities that India presents. Mike Eliseou, chairman, British Business and Social Club, Chennai, and a founder member of the CICC, for instance, carries several cameras with him wherever he goes.

Chennai, a must-visit place

Liddy Mayer from Australia finds India "such a colourful country, with scenes waiting to be shot." Federico Donega from Italy lists Chennai among the must-visit cities in the world for photographers, and Yves Basset from France can't sleep without clicking at least a couple of pictures a day.

Some of the spectacular scenes the group has focussed on include the fishermen setting out to the sea at the Marina before daybreak, the tussle for Metro Water on the streets, the cut-outs and billboards that loom large over Chennai's cityscape, or the old world charm offered by buzzing vegetable markets.

Sometimes, the CICC gets visiting photographers to address members. Last month, for instance, the club had Howard Webb, a Brit who specialises in portraits, sharing tips with the members. "It is a cosmopolitan club, where quite literally, you get to meet people from around the world," says Mike Eliseou. But the club's main focus is on its `capture India' agenda.

The group meets every month in members' homes or in a hotel, and votes on a theme for the forthcoming month. This month, they focussed on Ganesh Chathurthi scenes. "The Marina expedition was a lot of fun, and the breaking of dawn was really spectacular. We were there at the Marina at 4.30, I remember," recalls Liddy Mayer. It was the photo entries for the `Beautiful India' competition, organised by Global Adjustments, a relocation service, that gave birth to the idea of a camera club like this. So Roger and Angela Ford, Ranjani Manian, GA's Director, and Mike Eliseou decided to start a camera club of amateur photographers in Chennai on the lines of the Bromley Camera Club in Britain. Roger and Angela Ford, both Fellows of the Royal Photographic Society, have since then moved back to Britain, but they still retain online ties with the CICC.

In fact, the CICC now has an online tie-up with the century old Bromley Camera Club as well. Its members are not professional photographers, but a bunch of amateur photo enthusiasts — in fact, professionals face a stern `no entry' at the CICC. "We like to get together to learn more about photography and more important, to look at each other's photographs," says Ranjani Manian.

Interested persons may contact the club through e-mail (clickoncicc@hotmail.com, cicc2003@hotmail.com) or log on to the website: www.clickoncicc.com

HEMA VIJAY

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