Inter-House Debate Competition

Our school organized an inter-house debate competition for different grades. I am not a debater but thanks to my interest in photography, I am an observer of nature, people, buildings, and in general everything around me. I try to capture the unusual things I see and portray a story through them. I was asked to photograph this event by the organizers. This was a significant challenge as during a debate, the action is in speech, which can be difficult to capture in a visual image.  

The competition was held in two different locations. The first location was the auditorium with artificial lighting and the other was in the open with natural lighting. I chose to photograph outside because of the lighting and the setting- it was on the bleachers and surrounded by nature. During the event, I realized that I would have to adjust camera settings very quickly as I moved around the speakers. I did not have the time to think and make a choice of settings while framing each composition else the “decisive moment” would be lost. I was also distracted by the amazing orators, I was tempted to keep the camera aside and listen to the conversation. This is something a photographer is NOT supposed to do.

My key takeaway from this experience is that I still need to work on how to capture and convey debate through a picture. I normally try to tell a story through my photographs. This allows for a lot of creativity in my usual activities of picturing nature or portrait photography. However, in this case, The story is already unfolding. My challenge is to capture it.

I still have to work on the technical aspects of photography. Camera settings have to become second nature, I am still very far from this. Finally, I have to focus on photography and be a neutral bystander rather than getting involved in the event.