Features

Photograph by Ravi Hongal

After christening his three sons after camera brands Canon, Nikon, and Epson, a 49-year-old Belagavi based professional photographer Ravi Hongal now has his own ‘camera-shaped house’. Pegged at a cost of Rs 71 lakh, ‘Click’ is a house in Shastri Nagar in Belagavi, and has become the new favourite haunt for photographers and selfie lovers. Its proud owner, Ravi Hongal says it took two and a half years to turn his ‘dream home’ into reality.

Ravi’s interest in photography began after watching his photographer brother Prakash during his early teens. Soon after completing his SSLC in the late 80s, Ravi decided to make photography his profession. “I started with outdoor shoots. I owned a Zenit camera and later bought a Pentax. I used to cover celebrations such as weddings and other functions. I then saved up enough to start a studio which I named ‘Siddharth,” Ravi tells The News Minute.

Soon after, he married Kripa Rani and renamed his studio ‘Rani’ after his wife. Ravi says his wife is the constant support to his photography ventures, and didn’t seem to mind when he proposed to name their elder son Canon Ravi Hongal, now 20 years old.

“When I told my family that I wanted to name my first-born after a camera, they were clearly not pleased with the decision. However, my wife shared my enthusiasm with my love for camera and photography, and eventually convinced the rest of the family members to accept our decision. Then we decided to go ahead with the name. It was a unique name but nothing to be embarrassed about. After all, it is the camera that gives us bread and butter,” Ravi Hongal says.

Motivated by the family’s acceptance to the elder son’s name, the couple kept up with the trend, naming their next son ‘Nikon’ – now 18 years old; and their third son Epson, now 13 years old, after the famous printer brand.

“I am used to people asking me about the unique names. However, whenever I tell them the reason, they are impressed. Though many times our children are mistaken for being Christians,” he says.

Ravi adds that his sons too like their names. “When they were small they did not understand and they questioned me when they reached High School. But they know how much I love my cameras and they too did not mind my decision and are proud of their names,” he adds.

A few years back when Ravi decided to construct a house, he told his wife that he wanted it to look like a camera. He approached his brother-in-law Yallani R Jadhav, who is also the CEO of Key Concepts Interiors, a construction firm based out of Bengaluru.

Jadhav tells TNM, that Ravi’s concept was a challenging one. However, knowing that Ravi would not settle for anything less, he and his team used Ravi’s vision and integrated the various elements of the camera in the house.

“When you see from outside, you can see a huge camera lens. This is actually a huge circular window on the kitchen countertop,” Jadhav says.

He adds that one of the balconies has the railing shaped in the form of a reel. The flash we see outside is actually the window of a bedroom. Every window grill has logos of various camera companies. Including details like the memory card, the roll film adds to the aesthetics of the house from the outside. Meanwhile, even the interiors of the house are themed after the camera. The false ceilings in the house are shaped to resemble the parts of the camera, he adds.

Ravi says that he wanted the three floors of his house to represent his three sons. “The first floor has elements of the Epson printer, the second has the body of the Nikon camera and the third floor has the flash of the Canon camera,” he adds.

Ravi’s interest in photography has been picked up by his wife Kripa, who is now a photographer herself. His second son Nikon says that he also aspires to become a photographer after his education.

Ravi says that although he realised that the image of his house may catch a passerby’s attention due to the unique design, he never expected the pictures of his house to go viral. “We had planned a grand opening on April 26 on ‘Akshaya Tritiya’ but due to COVID-19, the celebrations were canceled and we invited close family who resided in the city. But the house became an attraction. We can see many people stopping for selfies. I never expected it to reach all over India. When you truly follow your passion, it gives its reward,” he says.

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Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)

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