Photographer documents Coimbatore’s humble hobby fishers


Wedding photographer S Buvanesh has been documenting Coimbatore’s hobby fishers throughout lockdown

The man is seated below a lone neem tree that hangs on precariously to the bund of Coimbatore’s Selvampathy lake. Dressed in a checked blue lungi, he’s holding a fishing rod common out of a stick. He might spend hours at that spot for that elusive plump fish that will probably be his lunch or dinner, relying on when he catches it. Something about his endurance, the calm of the surroundings, and the pristine lake, drew wedding ceremony photographer S Buvanesh. He has been visiting the lake for the previous few months throughout lockdown to doc such “humble urban hobby fishers”.

From the photograph sequence on Coimbatore’s Selvampathy lake
 
| Photo Credit:
S Buvanesh

“Fishing is usually seen as an expensive hobby,” says the 29-year-old from Ooty, who shifted base to Coimbatore for work. “But the men I am documenting are often from ordinary backgrounds; a lot of them are construction workers who live nearby and cannot afford the fancy equipment needed for hobby fishing,” he provides.

They, nonetheless, have discovered different means. “On most events, they use sticks to fish with a small ball of satthu maavu (millet well being combine) that serves as a bait. Interestingly, it doesn’t dissolve in water,” explains Buvanesh, who has additionally encountered little boys fishing with only a size of twine. “But their methods work; they mostly always go back home with a good catch that boasts varieties such as catla and rohu,” he provides.

From the photo series on Coimbatore’s Selvampathy lake

From the photograph sequence on Coimbatore’s Selvampathy lake  
| Photo Credit:
S Buvanesh

Coimbatore is residence to 31 tanks within the Noyyal River basin. Selvampathy is amongst them. “It is cleaner when compared to the others, and much smaller too,” factors out Buvanesh, which is probably why locals see it match for fishing. The males come for fishing at daybreak. “They drop off the catch at home and then head for work,” says Buvanesh. This ensures them a meal of fish curry for lunch or dinner.

From the photo series on Coimbatore’s Selvampathy lake

From the photograph sequence on Coimbatore’s Selvampathy lake  
| Photo Credit:
S Buvanesh

Over the course of the photograph sequence, he made pals with them and received to see up shut the ethics the lads follow. “They stay away from fishlings,” he factors out. “They have designated spots around the lake and ensure they do not disturb the sanctity of the place by littering. I’ve also come across hobby fishermen who point at empty alcohol bottles around the bund and express regret over how some people use the place to drink.”

The sequence additionally proved to be a help system for Buvanesh throughout lockdown. “When some relaxations were announced, I first headed to the lake. After spending several weeks photographing it, I realised I derived peace in its company,” he says. So did the hobby fishers. Buvanesh noticed how they have been cosily nestled at their ordinary spots, dreamily eyeing the water.

Wedding photographer S Buvanesh

He hopes to place collectively a photograph documentary on Coimbatore’s wetlands and folks’s relationship with them. “The Selvampathy series is part of it,” he explains. The lake is about for a facelift below the Smart City venture. “Soon, there will be fences and pavements around it. I wonder what the people who fish there will do then,” he provides.

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