The digital revolution has its pros and cons; on one hand it has amplified the chance of getting a picture in a stampede-like situation and on the other, it has created the stampede-like situation. With the advent of digital technology, the number of publications and media houses has grown, in turn multiplying the number of cameramen and photographers present at an event. Yet it has also increased the number of picture possibilities which in the celluloid days were limited to 36 frames in a film roll. Good or bad there is no going back.
Ignoring my aching jaw, I scrolled through my images to see if I had got the picture, of India's former telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raja, accused in the 2G spectrum scam. It must have been an elbow of one of the many cameramen or photographers present who were struggling to get the same picture that struck me. I didn’t mind the pain as even my elbow hurt a bit. I was sure I wasn't the only one with a sore jaw, of late we photographers were accustomed to it.
Court assignments as we call them, isn’t an assignment a photographer is keen on doing. But it has become mandatory as the picture compliments the newspaper headlines - lately they were related to the 2G Spectrum scam, a $39.16 billion scam that shook the nation. One after another the suspects have been zeroed in as the Indian judiciary tightens the noose on everyone involved. Every now and then someone is produced in court and we photographers find ourselves in the similar stampede-like situations.
Since December Reuters has covered a number of these types of events- be it a courthouse or the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters.
I remember one occasion when Raja was to be brought to the Patiala House court. I didn’t count but at least one photographer and at least three TV cameramen were present from each electronic media house. Unplanned events like this one become very chaotic, as hordes of photographers jump into a narrow area to get first a good picture, second a usable one - the latter is mandatory. As Raja climbed down from a government vehicle he was surrounded by photographers. I struggled as I made my way with my wide-angle lens and landed in front of him. I was lucky to reach there as my counterparts from other organizations were shooting blindly, I didn’t take my hand off the shutter release, and shot hundreds of frames, 6 or 8 of them were usable and one I consider good.