Spells, wands, owls for pets, trips to Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade—the reasons we all secretly waited for a letter from Hogwarts on our 11th birthday are never-ending. And chief among them was the chance to play Quidditch, the wizarding world’s most popular sport. While many of us wished that it was in fact a real game, a few die-hard fans went ahead and made it happen. The Muggles at Middlebury College in Vermont adapted the game in 2005 and created a real-life version of it. Of course, they don’t wear capes or fly, but they do run with a broomstick between their legs and throw a volleyball or dodgeball at each other. They score by throwing the balls through hoops, just like in regular Quidditch and they win by catching the snitch—a player with a tennis ball covered in a yellow sock tucked into the back of his pants, unlike in JK Rowling’s version where the snitch is an annoyingly small and fast ball. Today, real-life Quidditch has earned over 4,000 players with over 300 teams across the world.
While not everyone appreciated the ‘mugglisation’ of the game, that’s a story for another day. Halfway across the world, here in India, a freelance photographer and teacher, Anshu Agarwal, decided to recreate the sport with the help of his students, a camera and astounding Photoshop skills.
The 25-year-old Harry Potter fan shot a series that depicts a few children of Kalap in interior Garhwal, Uttarakhand, play the game of Quidditch. The idea came to him from an assignment he gave the children. “As an exercise to teach the children English I show them Harry Potter movies on Sundays. They are smitten by them too and once expressed how they wished to be witches and wizards themselves. Since I was already into levitation photography, I thought of making an effort to materialise their fantasy,” he says.
He set up a foot-high wooden bench, arranged broomsticks, and a volleyball that was used as the quaffle. “Many children of the village clustered around different locations of the village for four consecutive Sundays as I captured the thrilled kids hopping on their broomsticks. The images were stacked together and edited on Photoshop,” he said.
“To me photography is a bridge between my perception of the world around me and what it actually is. While I’m behind my camera I feel a dire need to take control over the subject and the surroundings. Perhaps that explains why I am most keen in creating something larger-than-life,” he added. Happy with the reception of his work, he now plans to create more Harry Potter-themed photographs using the light painting technique.
The photo series has been published on his page Anshoots Photography.