“Before I retired, I had a film camera which I barely used.” It took 67-year-old Babu much later to realise he couldn’t run away from using a camera.
Babu's wife came to Singapore from India to help their daughter care for her two children, and after he retired in 2007, he decided to join her. While here, he has immersed himself in keeping active, joining the Residents’ Committee (RC) in 2008 and volunteering regularly by helping them in their programmes.
“During that time, I noticed many people taking pictures but only one person was taking good pictures.” He then decided to buy a compact digital camera and started taking action shots. “I was told by people that the pictures I took were very good and they shared them on their Facebook pages and even credited me,” said the enthusiastic Babu.
In 2011, he upgraded his camera to a “bridge camera”, a camera which is between the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera and the point-and-shoot camera, and started to venture into taking street photography. “I would have to do this photography close up with my previous camera,” he explained. However, it still didn’t fit his needs totally so he upgraded again to a DSLR (interchangeable lens camera) in 2013.
“It was during that time when I received a lot of requests asking me to take pictures of people’s programmes/events such at the community centres, RCs and social events.” However, he makes it a point not to charge anyone for his services. “Without charging I feel I am free to do other things and take whatever pictures I want. Less tension and better for my health!”
He improved his picture taking as time passed. “When people started appreciating my pictures, it motivated me to do better. Taking pictures also gives me a lot of pleasure. Even if the photo is bad I still feel it has value and I would post all of the photos on my Facebook page.” He hopes to continue taking photos for “as long as I can hold the camera”.
So how many photos has Babu shot? He estimates that there are about 60,000 photos taken from his compact camera to DSLR, which can be viewed on his Facebook page. Despite doing it for so long, he still feels he needs to improve. “I don’t think I am very good. I still go onto YouTube and learn how to take good photos from the experts.”