Smartphones in ‘smart cities’ have made photographers redundant

- September 15, 2022

Professional photographers at Delhi's historical monuments used to make a comfortable living a decade ago. However, with smartphones in practically every hand, they have had to seek greener pastures. Patriot visited monuments in Delhi to find if there was any photographer available – with predictable results

All photos: Faisal Malik

With eyes filled with dreams and faith, many people come to metro cities in search of opportunities. Delhi is one of the most sought-after cities, where millions of people flock to fulfill their dreams.

One such person is Satish Kumar, who came to Delhi in 2018 from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in search of a job and became a self-employed photographer.

Kumar learned the basics of photography in a wedding studio, then went to find his own path in digital photography. He started capturing photos of visitors at the India Gate who wanted to take home those moments.

Kumar says, “There was a time when we were earning well. There were around 400 photographers in Delhi spread out at different monuments, such as Red Fort, Agrasen Ki Baoli, India Gate and other places. Nowadays, there are very few photographers who wish to continue this profession as technology has played havoc on our careers.”

He continues, “These days, people visiting India Gate take selfies as everyone has a smartphone. You will hardly find any photographer sitting around any of these monuments.”

Kumar adds, “Most youngsters don’t want to continue this profession as we are currently struggling to make ends meet.”

As Kumar stated, there was no photographer to be seen on the site. Similar was the scenario at Agrasen Ki Baoli, which is rumoured to be haunted; no photographers, just visitors with their phones could be spotted as far as eye could see.

Red Fort is also one of the major tourist attractions in Delhi, where people from all over the world pay a visitors. It combines Persian palace architecture with Indian tradition. It was designed by the architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the iconic Taj Mahal. This historic monument was completed on 12 May 1638 when Shah Jahan decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. History lovers are always keen to take memories of those moments home but not even a single photographer can be seen there.

It is clear that shutterbugs are slowly fading away from the monuments, no heavy cameras are in sight, just selfie sticks and smartphones. That’s how technological advancement kills   careers and crushes the dreams of ordinary people.