Chennai is said to be the cultural capital of India and is certainly the most perfect place for Street Photography in Tamil Nadu. The city was formerly known as Madras and is inhabited by more than 8 million people. Being the soul of southern India, there are quite a few spots where you can catch the unique character of this amazing city as a Street Photographer. Even though Chennai is growing fast and absorbing modern life, the city could by now keep a lot of its culture and tradition. Street Photography in Chennai depicts the vivid culture and vibrant life of a city between tradition and contemporary lifestyle.
Street Photography in Chennai: The best places to hit the streets
The most interesting spots for street photography in Chennai are simply everywhere. Go and hit the streets. The whole city offers amazing insight, views and a lot of nice opportunities. Walk alongside the beach and enjoy life. Dive into the rich atmosphere of this place! But be aware – people love to pose in Chennai. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to take authentic, natural Street Photographies.
Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar is the cleanest beach
South of Marina Beach, Elliot’s Beach is smaller als Marina Beach and located in the neighborhood Besant Nagar. The beaches are quite similar in some aspects, but Elliot’s Beach became famous for being the cleanest beach in Chennai. That is you perfect spot for Street Photography! Along the main street you will find many different restaurants and shops. Further south from Elliot’s Beach there are fishing villages which develop off the beach into an amazing assembly of temples, churches and other monuments. If you are interested in depicting the traditional street life in Chennai, this is your place for Street Photography.
Marina Beach: vibrant, lively, leisure – perfect for Street Photography
More than 13 km of beach attract many people – but not for sun tanning. This is a wide urban beach which looks during noon time like a deserted island and becomes quite crowded after 3pm. This beach is the main escape space for local people. After work they come here, still wearing their suits and ties. You find altogether more than 500 shops alongside Marina Beach, and there are numerous carnival style rides and horse rides. Take your time to explore Marina Beach, and explore it with your camera. Marina Beach is the No. 1 spot for local Street Photographers!
Street Photography at Parry’s Corner
Parry’s Corner is basically a shopping district. Feel yourself being taken back in time and enjoy the more traditional vibes here. This part of the city changed least over the last years, so you still find specific kinds of goods sold here, less modern, more down to reality. And of course you will have a chance to meet many local Street Photographers here. They love the place which is known for its authentic flair. So just explore the maze of retail shops and feel like timetravelling with your Street Photography camera back to Madras!
Various ways of Street Photography in T. Nagar
Thyagaraya Nagar is said to be the biggest shopping district you find in all of India. There is virtually everything sold here, beginning with saree and other clothes all the way to gold and jewelry. Take care to not miss on the side streets! There is no quiet time here, T. Nagar is always busy. If you are out for street market scenes for your Street Photography, you will certainly find them in the side streets. Go under the bridges for bazaar scenes. Most opportunities for Street Photography you might find alongside Unman Road, Burkit Road and in Panagal Park.
3,000 shops up at Koyambedu Market
Koyambedu Market is really big, and most people know it as the flower market. Two blocks are completely devoted to vegetables, another whole block goes for fruits, and yet another for flowers. The complex is gigantic. India and especially Chennai is rich in colors, and the flowers, vegetables and fruits explode in all shades you can imagine. But Street Photography at Koyambedu Market can go monochrome as well. Koyambedu Market is really active, there are always many people about. If you want to see workers inside and outside, catch people in their working environment, you should come in the morning. Koyambedu Market starts selling at 3 am, at 9 am or 10 am it already slows down a bit.
Ranganathan Street gives you the opportunity to depict the middle class
Yet another shopping area, yet another crowded place. But here it is „real life“: housewives are walking about, checking out the jewelry available on the roadside. Children want their juice and almond milk bought. You find traditionally clad people, and it is really, really colorful here. Perfect for Street Photography, the place is simply authentic. Get the ultimate thrill at Mambalam railway station at the end of Ranganathan Street: the place explodes with people who try getting into a train and off the trains the same time. Street Photography in Chennai does not go without crowds and rushing people.
The best Photo galleries for Street Photography in Chennai
Not easy to find, but there are certainly exhibitions worthwhile visiting. They are held by single local photographers, by associations for photography and others. And of course there are the galleries …
Photographic Society of Madras
The Photographic Society of Madras is no gallery, but some kind of club for photographers of all kinds. And they have exhibitions every now and then. Check it out online! Of course there is more than the online photo gallery of Photo Madras. Dates and topics for the exhibitions you find on their webpage.
Dr. Arun’s Photography & Vintage Camera Museum
Dr. Arun’s Photography & Vintage Camera Museumis located at East Coast Road in Kovalam in the south of Chennai. Besides an amazing collection of historical cameras, the museum exhibits a lot of old photographies. Even Street Photography depicting daily scenes in the area as early as the 1930s can be found here. And of course you will be able to make contact with local and traveling Street Photographers, find out about Street Photography courses in Chennai and more. Street Photography workshops are not held here, but the museum offers workshops to explore the historical cameras.
Apparao Art Gallery
The gallery was founded in 1984 by Sharan Apparao. It is one of the oldest private art galleries in Chennai and the most popular one for budding artists in this city. Exhibitions change on a regular base, so just check it out – you might get an astonishing insight into the fast-growing scene of Street Photography in Chennai.
Street Photography Workshops and courses in Chennai
Chennai is big, Chennai is chaotic, and Chennai is a melting pot of modern and traditional, Christian, Hindu and Islam, Indian and other cultures. Do not think you will find your ways easily in this city. And do not expect to find your workshops, courses and photo walks easily. Virtually everybody in India is online nowadays, and virtually everybody has his or her own ideas on SEO. So it can be quite challenging to find information on courses and workshops as well as local photographers, galleries and exhibitions. One page quite interesting is the Photo Blog Madras Nalla Madras. Here you might find exhibitions, events and more.
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Local Street Photographers? Hell, yes!
There are not only travelers doing their duty in terms of street photography, but you will also find local street photographers in Chennai. One of them Gurnathan Ramakrishnan. He recommends Parry’s Corner as well as Marina Beach – and he does tours together with other street photographers. He is part of the CWC group, the Chennai Weekend Clickers. Contact with Gurnathan Ramakrishnan can be made via Instagram, but he also keeps a profile at Flickr.
Another Chennai based and real local street photographer who might take you out on photo walks and photo tours is Mahesh Balasubramarian. He is internationally recognized and shows many of his amazing works on his webpageas well as in other places. Mahesh Balasubramarian won several prizes and can be booked in advance for tours. Really charming: check out his series of pictures taken at Marina Beach and get yourself into just the right mood to explore Chennai!
Street Photography workshops with the Photographic Society of Madras
There is no regular course or school, but time to time the Photographic Society of Madras offers workshops and courses. Even in street photography. The best way to check out is if you visit their webpage at Photo Madras. Photo tours and photo walks are announced well in time.
Street Photography courses for the Chennai Photo Biennale
Chennai Photo Biennale is a loosely tied association of more or less professional and amateur photographers. There are workshops and courses which are announced well before the date on the webpage of Chennai Photo Biennale. They do not only do street photography, but all the various aspects of photography.
Madras Photo Bloggers sometimes offer Street Photography workshops
India is modern, India is developing rapidly, and India’s street photographers organize themselves mainly online. The Madras Photo Bloggers do not only give plenty of good advice and many tips for about any situation of street photography, but also offer Street Photography workshops and photo tours on a more or less regular base. Check out their blog– it is chaotic, it is colorful, it is much like Chennai. And it can be your ticket to an authentic photo walk with local street photographers in Chennai.
Ambitions4 Photography Academy
This is a commercial photo academy offering diplomas in photography for going-to-be professional photographers. So far not interesting for you. But. But the academy has some workshops in its Portofolio concerned with one or the other aspect of photography interesting for you as a street photographer as well. So maybe you want to have a look at Ambitions4 Photography Academy.
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Zero-in Academy is yet another school for going-to-be professional photographers and is located in Chennai. The academy offers courses for wedding photography, food and product photography, family portraits and various other fields of photography. Especially interesting is the search function on their webpage: you can find the best Street Photography courses in Chennaiand photo walks and workshops as well.
Street Photography workshops at Lalit Kala Akademi
The Lalit Kala Akademi is the a national art academy with a regional center in Chennai. Anything related to arts and Street Photography courses in Chennai you will find here. Workshops and courses are really high-level. (No webpage, address: Regional Centre, 4, Greats Road, Chennai)