Kongs of Shillong (An uncaptured story behind my lens)

by Vipin C Vijayan June. 26, 2020 1096 views
A Kong selling Naga chilly at the streets of Police Bazar

A Kong selling Naga chilly at the streets of Police Bazar

"Photo diary of a reluctant photographer, who's getting paid for his words…"

It has been some while since I have kept that as my bio on Instagram, and as the days are passing by, my reluctancy is still staying at its peak.

Like the current crisis forcing us to stay at home, my reluctancy way back had forced my camera to live its life inside a bag, giving very rare occasions for it to come out of it.

A Kong inside her shop at  Nongthymmai

A Kong inside her shop at Nongthymmai

Excluding a couple of times when I offered help to a group of my friends who were into wedding photography, I have never actually got paid to take photographs.

Photography isn't something that I started off for the sake of money. In spite of not expecting any returns, I've always invested in it. The additional lenses that I bought, at two important periods of my journey as a photographer, would tell the same.

A Kong sharing a laugh at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

A Kong sharing a laugh at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

Kong exclusively selling tomatoes at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

Kong exclusively selling tomatoes at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

Those two lenses- a telephoto (70-300mm) and a prime lens (50mm) were bought at times when I felt like being bored with the pictures that I was taking and wanted to re-structure my vision.

Kong Thei, runs a canteen at IGNOU Shillong

Kong Thei, runs a canteen at IGNOU Shillong

The telephoto lens opened before me, the wide genre of wildlife photography and I did immerse myself in it for some period of time. Whereas, the decision to buy a 50mm lens, which is equivalent to the human eye, was inspired by my interest in capturing the changed faces I started seeing before my eyes. (*No intention to be a racist here).

A Kong walking through the meat shops at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

A Kong walking through the meat shops at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

Living a long stretch of time within a culture and location I was born into, I was actually bored with whatever my eyes were seeing, and without things around you having those captivating characteristics, how can one think of photographing them?

Yes, that's my ideology behind taking photographs, which has been tested and stayed with me over time.

A Kong selling fish at Jail Road, Polo

A Kong selling fish at Jail Road, Polo

A Kong exclusively selling spices at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

A Kong exclusively selling spices at Ïewduh (Bara Bazar)

Portrait of a Khasi Lady

Portrait of a Khasi Lady

PS:

These are some photographs of Kongs(Equivalent of ‘miss’ or elder sister in Khasi language), I managed to take over the course of two-years of my Northeastern life. Each photograph was taken after their individual consent and I had also given some of them the printed copies as well.

Their insecurities of having a stranger take their pictures, were witnessed being replaced by the happiness in seeing their own expressions preserved in time.

[Oh shit, I had lost the moment that should have actually been in their hands. 😌]

Photographed at various locations of Shillong, Meghalaya

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