In the world of sports, the legacy that a team creates over time is unquestionably its greatest treasure chest. Future generations do get to hear a team’s extraordinary feats through several mediums but nothing touches the chord of the heart the way a photograph does. From chasing stars to ensuring they capture the exact moment for present and future generations, the job of a photographer is one that entails passion, talent and presence of mind.
Speaking to prokabaddi.com during the Ahmedabad leg, Rakesh Chauhan, one of the official photographers of Season 5, got candid and shared the nuances and challenges that come with kabaddi photography. Here are some excerpts.
How has the experience been thus far?
The experience has been wonderful so far. This is my fifth season. Every season is different from the other. Until last year, there were eight teams but now there are 12.
Out of the several challenges you may face while covering the league, which one do you think is the biggest?
I love challenges but there are not many this time around. Sometimes, we have to follow the rules like not to cover the TV cameras or not to speak to the players. We have to follow every player with their actions, how they raid and stuff like that. There are a lot of challenges and that’s the reason I chose this profession.
Kabaddi is a fast-paced game. How do you keep up with it?
I have to act according to the players and the team. If I’m shooting T20 cricket, then I just have to sit in one place, use a bigger lens and shoot whatever happens. But, kabaddi is completely different and there is a small mat. The raids keep happening, so we have to run just like the players from one side to the other. It’s sometimes a challenge but we get a lot of beautiful pictures. I have covered a lot of sports events but Pro Kabaddi is a completely different experience.
How is the game of kabaddi different from any other sport you have covered?
In kabaddi, I cannot sit in one place and cover the match like the other sports. Here, I have to move from one place to another and follow the rules which we have as photographers. It’s a completely different sport anyway, so it cannot be compared with any other sport.
On average, how many pictures do you take every day and what is the routine like?
We start as soon as the match starts. We cannot wait for too long because a lot of people wait for our images. As soon as the action ends, we download the pictures, do the editing and send it across.
This time, it’s a three-month long season. How difficult does it get for a photographer to sustain through?
It’s a bit tiring, actually. But I boost myself, click the pictures, download them and wait for another action.
Given a chance, would you like to trade your profession for an opportunity to play on the mat?
No, I would like to continue being the official photographer because I love to see the action and how the players are playing and how the referees give their decision. So, I really love to be on this side.