In just a little over a year after it was established, Faces of Bengaluru (FoB) has garnered attention and received praise for its effort in highlighting unheard stories all over the city. Focusing on people who make a difference, the stories are nothing short of inspiring, motivational, and heartwarming. It’s not just about success stories, but the struggle and accomplishments, highs and lows. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why so many people can resonate with the stories that FoB share.
We have the pleasure to interview Vikas Badiger, the founder of Faces of Bengaluru. Getting a glimpse of someone who hears the stories firsthand and sees the behind-the-scenes moments, it’s interesting to see the story from his side; how it all started, the challenges, and his hopes for Faces of Bengaluru.
Can you tell us a little bit about Faces of Bengaluru? How it first started, and what inspired you to start this project?
Faces of Bengaluru is a humanities page which features people and places from the city of Bengaluru.
As a person, I was always fond of stories and as I was a photographer from quite sometime now, I wanted to do something with a combination of both. I already knew a few people who were doing things which actually changed a lot of lives but went unnoticed because of the negative media taking over social media. I have taken a lot from the stories I’ve heard and with an intention to showcase it and to also drive positive media on FB, I started out FoB.
FoB’s mission is ‘to capture every face of Bangalore and bring their stories to you.’ Why do you think it’s important?
We have this vague thought that, we find ourselves in someone else’s story. Small parts of what they do, we do too. So imagine, if people can relate to the stories and talk about themselves too. How much of a difference that can make to them.
How do you choose who to feature on FoB, and what do you focus on when interviewing these people?
We choose people who have been making a difference and making this world a better place to live in, in their own way. I think we get so busy with our everyday lives, we forget to stop and thank the people who leave their regular jobs to try and change things. Yes, we don’t ask them to, and yet, they do it.
We focus more on them, in person. What events made them be the person they are today. There are ups, there are downs, there are heartbreaks, there are accomplishments. I think, looking back, all of those matter.
There are similar projects across the country which seek to tell stories of people from a certain place. What makes FoB unique and different from these other projects?
There are a number of amazing stories that go untold between the chaos of the city. People who do this don’t do it for the attention or money, they do it because for them, that’s the right thing to do. This is our small effort to thank them and maybe, inspire people.
How are the responses to FoB so far?
The responses have been getting better every day. I receive messages, one of them read “I never read anything on FB apart from FoB”. Well, that is what we wanted to change. As and when we have more stories adding to it, there will be an increase in viewers. At least that is what I hope 🙂
What’s one story that is remarkable for you, and why?
The story of Mr. Na Someswara. He runs a show on DD Chandana channel called ‘Thatt Antha Heli’. It is a daily quiz show, which he has been running for 16 years apart from his daily job.
It is remarkable because he has been imparting knowledge to many many viewers. In the age of Netflix and Snapchat, he influences the youngsters to watch the show just so that they can learn new things. This he has been doing with ‘almost zero budget’.
What are the challenges in running this project, and how do you tackle them?
With FB’s algorithm enabling us to reach only 6% to 7% of our audience, it has been tough to reach out to a wider audience with our stories. However, content will always make the difference. We are hoping to make better content, better stories to reach more audience.
Going forward, what’s in store for FoB?
Honestly, no idea. When we started it out, it was just an idea. Now, it’s slowly growing, we are trying to reach as many people as possible with our stories.
On a personal level, what does FoB mean to you? Does it have an impact on your life?
FoB is a major part of my life, I was in Italy when I got this idea and came back to India specifically to start FoB. If anything, I would rather sit and listen to people’s stories the whole day.
It has a huge impact, not just because it was started by me, just because of how much of a positive vibe we can get through someone’s story. A small piece of me is a part of every story I have done and will do.
What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer?
I am also an aspiring photographer, I don’t think I will stop learning it. So no advice as such, because we are inter-dependent and we are inspired by each other. All I would ask them is, to know what their art and create their niche. The day they know why they want to do photography (apart from making money), there will a vibe that would have been added to every image that they make, after that. I hope they find it soon.