Jalna (Maha): The raging coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions in place since March have hit the professional photographers hard as they have been struggling to make ends meet due to lack of social events.

Fear about the virus and state’s curbs on gathering of people have snatched the livelihood of such photographers, who used to earn through events like marriages, political rallies, religious functions before the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Maharashtra’s Jalna district, over 250 such professional photographers have fallen on hard times.

“It is becoming difficult to manage the expenses of our families,” president of Jalna District Photographers’ Association, Anil Vyawahare, said.

“Ban on gatherings means lack of livelihood for us,” he said.

According to another photographer, the outbreak has dealt a severe blow to the business that was already facing tough times due to smartphone photography.

“People use smartphones to take snaps of individuals and other things. Hence, our profession now mostly depends on social gatherings. But due to the pandemic, we have lost even that,” photographer Sharad Khanapure said.

According to the photographers, the outbreak started when the three-month long wedding season generally begins in April.

According to astrologers, during the three months, there were 20 ‘muhurt’ (auspicious dates) for marriages.

However, due to the restrictions, this wedding season went blank for the professional photographers, they aid.

“On every muhurt, about 100-200 marriages take place across the district and photographers are generally very busy during this season. But the pandemic forced us to remain at home this year,” photographer Mazhar Saudagar said.

The businesses linked to the marriage photography have also been affected.

Photographers use around three drones, several still cameras, video cameras and other equipment during big weddings. However, due to the pandemic, the suppliers of this equipment have also been affected.

“Majority of photographers are reeling under debt and it is getting difficult for them now. Therefore, we want the government to provide relief,” Vyawahare said. (PTI)