മരണത്തിന്റെ ഛായാഗ്രഹണം

എം.നന്ദകുമാർ പാലക്കാട് ജില്ലയിൽ ജനനം. പാലക്കാട് എൻ.എസ്.എസ് എഞ്ചിനിയറിംഗ് കോളേജിൽ നിന്ന് ബി.ടെക്ക് ബിരുദം. Wipro net technologies, Cats-Net ISP (ടാൻസാനിയ) മുതലായ ഐ.ടി സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളിൽ ജോലി ചെയ്തു. ഇപ്പോൾ  Technichal Documentation Consultant ആയി ജോലി ചെയ്യുന്നു. വായില്ല്യാകുന്നിലപ്പൻ, നിലവിളിക്കുന്നിലേക്കുളള കയറ്റം (ഡി.സി ബുക്ക്‌സ്), പ്രണയം 1024 കുറുക്കുവഴികൾ (കറന്റ് ബുക്‌സ്)എന്നീ കൃതികൾ പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. ‘വാർത്താളി സൈബർ സ്‌പേസിൽ ഒരു പ്രണയ നാടകം’ എന്ന നീണ്ടകഥയെ ആധാരമാക്കി വിപിൻ വിജയ് സംവിധാനം ചെയ്ത ‘ചിത്രസൂത്രം’ എന്ന സിനിമ ദേശീയ അന്തർദ്ദേശീയ ചലച്ചിത്രമേളകളിൽ പുരസ്‌ക്കാരങ്ങൾ നേടി.

Roland Barthes / Image source internet / Author unknown
Roland Barthes / Image source internet / Author unknown

തത്വചിന്ത, ഭാഷാശാസ്ത്രം, ചിഹ്നശാസ്ത്രപഠനം എന്നിങ്ങനെ വിവിധ മേഖലകളിൽ മൗലികപ്രതിഭ കൊണ്ട് സർഗ്ഗാത്മകതയുടെ പുതുസരണികൾ തുറന്ന റൊളാന്റ് ബാർഥിന്റെ അവസാനകൃതി ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിയെക്കുറിച്ചായിരുന്നു Camera Lucida: A Note on Photography.

Camera Lucida Book Cover

ഛായാഗ്രഹണത്തിന്റെ സാങ്കേതികവശങ്ങൾ, ചരിത്രം, സാമൂഹികശാസ്ത്രം, സൈദ്ധാന്തിക നിരീക്ഷണങ്ങൾ എന്നതൊന്നുമല്ല ഈ ചെറുഗ്രന്ഥത്തിന്റെ ഉള്ളടക്കം. സൂചകങ്ങളെ വേർതിരിച്ച്, കാഴ്ചയുടെ അനന്തപാഠങ്ങൾ നിർമ്മിക്കാനോ ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിക്ക് ഒരു വ്യാകരണം ചമയ്ക്കാനോ ബാർഥ് മുതിരുന്നില്ല. വൈയക്തികവും പലപ്പോഴും വികാരതരളിതവുമായി 48 ഖണ്ഡങ്ങളിലൂടെ ഉരുത്തിരിയുന്ന ആഖ്യാനം ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിനെ മരണവുമായി ബന്ധിപ്പിക്കുന്നു.

മുൻകൃതികളുടെ മുഖമുദ്രയായിരുന്ന വിമർശനാത്മക വിശകലനരീതിയിൽ നിന്ന് ബാർഥ് വിട്ടുമാറുന്നു. ഇതിന് പല കാരണങ്ങളും പറയാം. അമ്മയുടെ മരണം ഏല്പിച്ച ദു:ഖാഘാതം, ദൈനംദിനജീവിതത്തെ ഞെരിക്കുന്ന മടുപ്പുകൾ, ചിഹ്‌നശാസ്ത്രം, മനോ:വിശകലനം തുടങ്ങിയ ചിന്താപദ്ധതികളിൽ വളരുന്ന അവിശ്വാസം… അതെല്ലാം ബാർഥിനെ അലട്ടിയിരുന്നു. വിമർശനാത്മക സമീപനങ്ങളിൽ അനിവാര്യമായും വന്നു ചേരുന്ന ജീവിതത്തിന്റെ പരിമിതപ്പെടുത്തൽ, അവസാനകാലത്ത് അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ഉത്കണ്ഠയായി. സ്വന്തം അനുഭൂതികൾ നല്കുന്ന ഉൾക്കാഴ്ചകളെ മാത്രം എഴുത്തിന്റെ പ്രാഥമിക ഉറവിടമായി ആശ്രയിച്ചാണ് ബാർഥ് Camera Lucida രചിച്ചത്.

Henriette Barthes holding her son Roland Barthes / Image source internet
Henriette Barthes holding her son Roland Barthes / Image source internet

‘വ്യാഖ്യാനത്തിന് വഴങ്ങാത്തത്’ എന്ന രീതിയിലാണ് ബാർഥ് ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിനെ സമീപിക്കുന്നത്. കാരണം, പ്രതിനിധാനം ചെയ്യുന്ന വിഷയത്തിൽ നിന്ന് വ്യതിരിക്തമായി, മറ്റെന്തെങ്കിലും അർത്ഥമോ ചിഹ്‌നമോ അതിൽ കണ്ടെത്താനാകുന്നില്ല. ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫുകളെ വർഗ്ഗീകരിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുമ്പോൾ രണ്ട് ഭാഷകളുടെ സംഘർഷം ഉടലെടുക്കുന്നു. നോക്കുന്നയാൾക്ക് ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിൽ താത്പര്യം ജനിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ഉളളടക്കത്തെ ബാർഥ് Studium എന്ന് വിളിക്കുന്നു. അതിന്റെ വിഷയം, സാംസ്‌കാരിക സന്ദർഭം, ചരിത്രത്തിന്റെ, കലയുടെ പോലും അംശങ്ങൾ ഇതെല്ലാം ഈ സംജ്ഞയിൽ ഉൾപ്പെടുത്താം. മറ്റ് മനുഷ്യർ, വസ്ത്രങ്ങൾ, പുസ്തകങ്ങൾ, വിനോദങ്ങൾ എന്നിവയിൽ ഒരാൾക്ക് തോന്നുന്ന ഒഴുക്കനും അവ്യക്തവുമായ താത്പര്യം പോലെ തന്നെയാണ് Studium നിലനില്ക്കുന്നത്.

എന്നാൽ, അലംഭാവം കലർന്ന ഈ നോട്ടത്തിനെ ഭേദിക്കുന്ന ഒരു വിശദാംശം ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിൽ ഉണ്ടാകും. അതാണ് ജൗിരൗോ. വ്യക്തിപരവും തീക്ഷ്ണവുമായ പ്രതികരണത്തിന് പ്രേരിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ആകസ്മികത. പോറൽ ഏൽപ്പിക്കുന്ന, രൂക്ഷമായ ഒരു വിശദാംശമാണ് Punctum. ആത്യന്തികമായി അത് മരണത്തിന്റെ അറിയിപ്പാകുന്നു.

അമ്മയുടെ വേർപാടിന് ശേഷം, പഴയ ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫുകളിൽ ബാർഥ് അവരെ തിരയുന്നു. അമ്മയെ പോലെ എന്ന് തോന്നിക്കുന്നുണ്ടെങ്കിലും, അവയിലെ മുഖങ്ങൾക്കൊന്നിനുംഗ്രന്ഥകാരന് അറിയുന്ന അമ്മയുടെ മുഖവുമായി തികഞ്ഞ പൊരുത്തമില്ല. ഒടുവിൽ ബാർഥ് ഒരു ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിൽ എത്തിപ്പെട്ടു.അമ്മ അഞ്ച് വയസ്സുളള പെൺകുട്ടിയായിരുന്നപ്പോൾ എടുത്ത ചിത്രം. അനന്യമായ ഒരു നിലനിൽപ്പിന്റെ മിന്നലാട്ടമായി ബാർഥ് അമ്മയെ വീണ്ടും കണ്ടെത്തുന്നു.(പുസ്തകത്തിൽ ആ ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫ് ചേർത്തിട്ടില്ല. കാരണം; ‘അത് എനിക്ക് വേണ്ടി മാത്രം നിലനില്ക്കുന്നു. നിങ്ങൾക്കത് തീരെ താത്പര്യമുണർത്താത്ത വെറും ചിത്രമാണ്.’) ആ ഛായാപടത്തിലൂടെ, അമ്മയുടെ മരണത്തിന്റെ വ്യാകുലതയിൽ നിന്ന് ഗ്രന്ഥകാരൻ സ്വന്തം മരണത്തിലേക്കാണ് എത്തിച്ചേരുന്നത്. അക്കാരണത്താൽ എല്ലാ ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫുകളും സ്മരണികകളാണ്. തന്റെ തന്നെ അന്ത്യത്തിന്റെ സൂചന പേറുന്നവ. അവയിലൂടെ ആഗ്രഹവും ദുഖവും കരുണയും വീണ്ടെടുക്കാനുളള ശ്രമം തുടരാം. അമ്മയുടെ അഭാവവുമായി പൊരുത്തപ്പെടാനുളള വിഷാദാത്മകമായ ആഖ്യാനത്തിലൂടെ നിലനിന്നിരുന്നു എന്നതിലാണ് ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിയുടെ സത്ത. വധശിക്ഷക്ക് വിധിക്കപ്പെട്ട കുറ്റവാളിയുടെ ചിത്രത്തിൽ നിന്ന് കാലത്തിൽ അടങ്ങിയ ഭയാനക വൈരുദ്ധ്യം ബാർഥിന്റെ കാഴ്ചയിലൂടെ വെളിപ്പെടുന്നു: അയാൾ മരിച്ചു അയാൾ മരിക്കാൻ പോവുകയാണ്.

Roland Barthes Autoscopia / Image source internet / Author unknown
Roland Barthes / Image source internet

ഓർമ്മകളെയും മരണഭയത്തെയും അരിച്ചെടുക്കാനുളള, ബാർഥ് തന്നെ സൂചിപ്പിക്കുന്ന പ്രൂസ്റ്റിയൻ പ്രയത്‌നത്തിന് എല്ലാ ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫുകളും വഴങ്ങണമെന്നില്ല. പോർട്രെയ്റ്റുകളിൽ മരണം പതിയിരിക്കുന്നുണ്ടാകാം. എന്നാൽ പ്രകൃതിദൃശ്യങ്ങളിലും മറ്റനേകം ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫുകളിലും ഈ വ്യഥക്ക് സാംഗത്യമെന്ത്?

ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫി കലയാണെന്ന വാദം, ദൃശ്യമാധ്യമ പഠനങ്ങളിൽ അതിന്റെ പ്രാമുഖ്യം അത്തരം കാര്യങ്ങളൊന്നും ബാർഥിന് താത്പര്യമുണർത്തുന്നില്ല. ഛായാഗ്രാഹകന്റെ കൗശലം, ആവിർഭാവത്തിന് ശേഷം പിന്നീട് ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ട നിറങ്ങൾ എന്നവയോട് വിരോധം പോലുമുണ്ട്. യാഥാർത്ഥ്യത്തിന്റെ പകർപ്പ് എന്നതിനേക്കാൾ കഴിഞ്ഞുപോയതിന്റെ ഒരു പ്രസരണമായി ബാർഥ് ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫിനെ വീക്ഷിക്കുന്നു. പെയിന്റിംഗിനേക്കാൾ കൂടുതലായി രസതന്ത്രജ്ഞന്റെ വിദ്യയോടാണ് അതിന് കൂടുതൽ അടുപ്പം. അതിനാൽ, കലയെന്നതിനേക്കാൾ ഛായാഗ്രഹണം ഒരു മായാജാലമാണ്. ഒരു ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫ് നന്നായി കാണണമെങ്കിൽ അതിൽ നിന്ന് കണ്ണുതെറ്റിക്കുകയോ കണ്ണുകൾ അടയ്ക്കുകേയാ ചെയ്യണമെന്ന വിചിത്രസൂക്തം ബാർഥ് നിർദ്ദേശിക്കുന്നു.

സ്‌നേഹത്തിന്റെയും വേദനയുടെയും ഈ പ്രേതകഥ അവസാനിക്കുമ്പോൾ അങ്ങേയറ്റം ഏകാകിയായി ബാർഥ് നിൽക്കുന്നു. അമ്മയുടെ ഓർമ്മയും പേറി. വരാനുളള സ്വന്തം മരണത്തിന്റെ അടയാളങ്ങളായ ഫോട്ടോഗ്രഫുകൾക്ക് നടുവിൽ. സൗന്ദര്യാനുഭൂതിക്കും അർത്ഥകല്പനകൾക്കും അപ്പുറത്ത്, നമ്മുടെ നോട്ടത്തെ പിടിച്ച് നിർത്തുന്ന തീക്ഷണമായ ഒരു ജൗിരൗോ. അതിനാലാകാം ഛായാഗ്രാഹകർ, സാംസ്‌കാരിക ചിന്തകർ എന്നിവരെക്കാൾ കൂടുതലായി എഴുത്തുകാരും മറ്റ് കലാകാരന്മാരും ഈ കൃതിയിൽ നിന്ന് ഊർജ്ജം വലിച്ചെടുക്കുന്നത്.

Camera Lucida എഴുതിത്തീർന്ന് ഏതാനും ദിവസങ്ങൾക്കകം ബാർഥ് ഒരു റോഡപകടത്തിൽ പെട്ടു. പാരീസിലെ തിരക്കേറിയ തെരുവ് മുറിച്ച് കടക്കാനുളള ശ്രമത്തിൽ, ഒരു അലക്ക്കമ്പനിയുടെ വാഹനം അദ്ദേഹത്തെ ഇടിച്ചു വീഴ്ത്തി. ആശുപത്രിയിൽ പ്രവേശിപ്പിച്ചെങ്കിലും ബാർഥ് ഒരു മാസത്തിനകം മരിച്ചു. അന്ത്യദിനങ്ങളിൽ, ജീവിക്കാനുളള ഇച്ഛ നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ട ഒരാളായിട്ടാണ്, ചുറ്റുമുളളവർക്ക് ബാർഥ് കാണപ്പെട്ടത്. അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ എഴുത്ത് മേശയിൽ സെ്റ്റൻഡാലിനെക്കുറിച്ച് തുടങ്ങിവെച്ച ഒരു പഠനം കിടപ്പുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ആ ലേഖനത്തിന് ബാർഥ് നല്കിയ ശീർഷകം: ‘സ്‌നേഹിക്കുന്നവയെക്കുറിച്ച് പറയുന്നതിൽ ഓരാൾ എല്ലായ്‌പോഴും പരാജയപ്പെടുന്നു.’

തുടരും…

ഈ പെയ്ജിൽ പ്രകാശിപിക്കപെടുന്ന ചിത്രങ്ങളും, ലേഖനവും അവയവയുടെ രചയിതാവിന്റെ മുൻ‌കൂർ അനുവാദം കൂടാതെ പരസ്യമായി മറ്റാരാലും പ്രകാശിപിക്കാവുന്നതല്ല. ഇവയെല്ലാം. കൂടുതല്‍ വിവരങ്ങള്ക്ക് admin@etpindia.org / 94879 56405

“Poems and Visuals”

"Poems and Visuals" / Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
“Poems and Visuals” / Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives

” யாம இரவின் நெடுங்கடை நின்று
தே முதிர் சிமையக் குன்றம் பாடும்
நுண் கோல் அகவுநர் வேண்டின் வெண் கோட்டு
அண்ணல் யானை ஈயும் வண் மகிழ்
வெளியன் வேண்மான் ஆஅய் எயினன்
அளி இயல் வாழ்க்கைப் பாழிப் பறந்தலை
இழை அணி யானை இயல் தேர் மிஞிலியொடு
நண் பகல் உற்ற செருவில் புண்கூர்ந்து
ஒள் வாள் மயங்கு அமர் வீழ்ந்தெனப் புள் ஒருங்கு
அம் கண் விசும்பின் விளங்கு ஞாயிற்று
ஒண் கதிர் தெறாமை சிறகு அரில் கோலி
நிழல் செய்து உழறல் காணேன் யான் எனப்
படு களம் காண்டல் செல்லான் சினஞ் சிறந்து
உருவினை நன்னன் அருளான் கரப்பப்
பெரு விதுப்புற்ற பல் வேள் மகளிர்
குரூஉப்பூம் பைந்தார் அருக்கிய பூசல்
வசை விடக் கடக்கும் வயங்கு பெருந்தானை
அகுதை கிளை தந்தாங்கு மிகு பெயல்
உப்புச் சிறை நில்லா வெள்ளம் போல
நாணு வரை நில்லாக் காமம் நண்ணி
நல்கினள் வாழியர் வந்தே ஓரி
பல் பழப் பலவின் பயங்கெழு கொல்லிக்
கார் மலர் கடுப்ப நாறும்
ஏர் நுண் ஓதி மாஅயோளே.”

– அகநானூறு 208, பரணர், குறிஞ்சித் திணை – தலைவன் தன் நெஞ்சிடம் சொன்னது (Agananooru 208, Baranar, Kurinji (hill) landscape)

Sangam period is the period in the history of ancient southern India (known as the Tamilakam, comprising of modern period Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Karnataka) spanning from c. 300 BCE and 300 CE.There is a wealth of sources detailing the history, socio-political environment and cultural practices of ancient Tamilakam, including volumes of literature and epigraphy. The collection of literature contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous. Sangam literature is primarily secular, dealing with everyday themes in a Tamilakam context. Tamil sangam poems reflect the concept of ‘love’ using nature and landscapes express human love.

Agananuru is a classical Tamil poetic work, the seventh book in the secular anthology of Sangam literature (600 BCE – 300 CE), namely Ettuthokai. The secular anthology is entirely unique in Indian literature, which are almost religious during the era. It contains 400 Akam (subjective) poems dealing with matters of love and separation. The classification of Agananooru ties the emotions involved in agam poetry to a specific landscape. These landscapes are called thinai (திணை). These landscape classification described are: kurinji (குறிஞ்சி), mountainous regions; mullai (முல்லை), forests; marutham (மருதம்), agricultural land; neithal (நெய்தல்) coastal regions; paalai (பாலை) deserts. In addition to the landscape based thinais, kaikkiLai and perunthinai are used for unsolicited love and unsuited love respectively.

English translation for the above text that describes Kurinji – the hill landscape of Sangam period with his lover.
” May she live long,
……….my lover who broke the limits of her shyness
……….like a salt dam that does not withstand flood waters
……….after heavy rains, who came and gave herself to me,
……….the dark girl with beautiful, soft hair with fragrances
……….of monsoon flowers of Kolli hills, rich, dense with
……….jackfruit trees, belonging to king Ōri,
like faultless, victorious Akuthai who came to the aid
of the devastated Vēlir women who crushed their fresh
garlands with different colored flowers and cried.”

Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this page is copyrighted property of the author (photographer) and is a part of PROJECT 365 PUBLIC PHOTO ARCHIVES. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and/or EtP (PROJECT 365 public photo archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing for non-commercial public use and research. For more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / project365@etpindia.org

MUKHAMUKHAM – Tripunithura and Tiruvannamalai

Thrippunithura or Tripunithura is a suburb of the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala, India and a part of the Kochi metropolitan area. Thrippunithura was the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin. Project 365 MUKHAMUKHAM event was organised at Kalikotta, Tripunithuraon 26th and 27th December 2014 during Ekharya Performance Festival. Photographer and Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad presented his selected works from 1975 – 2014 with the audience on the first day. Abul’s series titled, ‘landmark of my memories’ – showcased the architecture of 70s and 80s Kerala. Senti-mental series, the kaleidoscopic view of life and personal history showed an impossible fusing of photos and graphics. Abul had worked on this series for almost five years (2005 – 2010). One of the recent series ‘Beatles in Rishikesh’, a simple black and white photographs portraying the abandoned Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram where Beatles had visited during the 1960s. The trajectory of Abul’s works was indeed mind blowing. Almost hundred photo enthusiasts enjoyed the works. The second Project 365 photographs were shown to the audience.

Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Theatre artist and photographer Ramesh Varma introducing photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Director Ashok introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Ekharya Performance Festival Director Dr. Abhilash Pillai introducing Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi introducing EtP and Project 365 / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
2nd day Project 365 projection / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

On 4th and 5th January 2015, Mukhamukham Meet project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad and Photographer Thierry Cardon event was organised at Kalai Illam, Tiruvannamalai. Thierry Cardon, photographer from France has visited Tiruvannamalai as part of Project 365. He decided to share few of his original cyanatype prints with the Project 365 photographers and local audience. Abul showed his early work on the first day and on 5th Jan, he share his ongoing long-term work with the Thirunangai titled ‘War Marriage Widows’. Some of the locally based Thirunangai’s also enjoyed the photographs. Anbalaki, one of the Thirunangai spoke with the audience and narrated the Koovagam festival and associated epical history.

Project Manager Tulsi welcoming hte audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Project Manager Tulsi welcoming the audience / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Two photographers Thierry Cardon and Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon showing his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhlmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann at the Kalai Illam / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Chrisitian Uhlmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artists Christian Uhllmann and Gayatri Gamuz / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photographer Thierry Cardon presenting his works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Chrisitian Uhlmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist-sculptor Christian Uhllmann and Photographer Abul Kalam Azad / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist - sculptor Christian Uhlmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya and Artist – sculptor Christian Uhllmann /Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying 'SEMA' / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Artist Wendel Field enjoying ‘SEMA’ / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul's works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Poet Ananda Surya talking on Abul’s works / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives

<to be continued>

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

Deepam, the festival of light

Karthikai Deepam, festival of lights is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by Tamil people. Deepam is observed in every home and every temple, and falls in the month of Kārttikai (mid-November to mid-December) as per Tamil Calender. This occurs on the day when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai (Pleiades) and pournami (full moon). This constellation appears as a group of six stars in the firmament in the shape of a pendant from the ear. Many legends and lyrical poetry have grown round this star. The six stars are considered in Indian mythology as the six celestial nymphs who reared the six babies in the saravana tank which later were joined together to form the six faced Muruga. He is therefore called Karthikeya, the one brought up by the Karthigai nymphs. Houses and streets are lit up with rows of oil lamps (Deepam) in the evening of the festival day. One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the month of Karthigai, as per South Indian calendar. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils, including now the areas of modern Kerala too. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs. Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around. The fire (deepam) is called Mahadeepam.

This ancient Dravidian practice has been documented extensively in verse and visuals. The gods and goddesses, the rituals and chariots, the crowd and girivalam, every aspect of this festival has already been documented. Team 365 has another important vision, to preserve the visuals of the changing culture and lifestyle. Many may have noticed the ever changing scenario every deepam, the absence of the Mattu chanda (cow market), the advent of machine made drinks / coffees, ever growing new buildings and shops…. the visually exciting days and nights of Tiruvannamalai Deepam festival has a different dimension to be portrayed. Photography in essence is a play between light and shade (absence of light). This deep connection, the changing people, scenario and the colors of Deepam is what team 365 decided to capture. The team would be per-dominantly using iphone photography with instagram applications. Few photographs from the instagram Deepam series:

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Shiv Kiran / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Jiby Charles / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives
Photography (C) Biju Ibrahim / Project 365 public photo archives

roject 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi  / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

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‘The colors of Deepam’ by leading Project 365 photographer Dinesh Khanna

Karthigai festival in Tiruvannamalai hills is very famous. On Karthigai day, a huge fire lamp is lit up on the hill, visible for several kilometers around the hill. The fire (dheepam) is called Mahadeepam. As part of Project 365, Photographer Dinesh Khanna will be creating visuals of Tiruvannamalai Deepam Festival. A five member team, comprising of Project 365 photographers Arnav Rastogi, Bhagyashri Patki, Biju Ibrahim, Leo James and Shiv Kiran will be working with Dinesh Khanna and document the Deepam Festival.

Photographer Dinesh Khanna
Photographer Dinesh Khanna

Dinesh Khanna is one of the leading photographers of Project 365. He is based in Delhi. There are infinite ways of seeing. But when you see the world through Dinesh Khanna’s eyes, you are overcome with an innate sense of awe, besides many other emotions. The reason perhaps is the fact that he shoots from the heart. And it’s his incredible way of juxtaposing what he sees and what he feels that creates images that stay with you forever.

Even though his father was a professional photographer, Dinesh took his time to meander through his advertising career and eventually gave in to his true calling. His dad often urged him to use the camera, travel more often and take pictures of whatever he found interesting. He even grew up learning to make his own prints in the darkroom they had at home. But the rebel in him chose not to follow the conventional ‘son-takes-over-from-father’ routine simply because he felt it was against his principles to adhere to what the caste system followed, something he strongly did not believe in.

However, photography was not just in his blood, it was the one great love and passion of life he could no longer ignore. At first, Dinesh took up a lot of commercial work, which displayed his immense talent and creativity. Gradually, he began traveling more, exploring more, photographing everything that ‘engaged’ him and in the process, enjoying every moment of what he was doing. From Street photography, to portraits to interiors of homes and hotels, travel pictures, photo stories, editorial and food photography, Dinesh’s work spans a varied mix, with many a common aspect… a love for life, a love for colours and a love for people being a few.

His photographs radiate a powerful and positive resonance which is why we want to stop and stare. Not just to admire the sheer beauty of the image, but also to appreciate seeing things the way he sees them. It’s what you call ‘insight’ in advertising terms. For example his iphoto series on ‘kissakhursika’, is a series on chairs. A simple everyday object that we may not even give a second glance to. But the way Dinesh has interpreted this very khursi, as he takes us on a visual journey portraying the significance of the chairs common people sit on (be it watchmen or barbers or children) and the ironic symbolism of a ‘khursi’ in the political context is so basic yet so bold and captivating.

Dinesh’s ‘Incredible India’ series that was created to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Taj Mahal earned him much fame. So did his solo exhibitions and pictorial books ‘Bazaar’ and ‘Living Faith’ which were born from his many travels and beautifully captured images from various melas, markets and sacred sites in small towns and rural areas.

His works also include stunning portraits of “Artists, Musicians, and Writers” “Mothers & Daughters” and a series on common man at work called “Earning Dignity” which all capture expressions and emotions in a stark yet subtle manner. His photos have also been published in monthly columns like ‘Double Take’ and ‘Urban Trivia’ for First City magazine, which display India’s ironic ‘Tryst with Urbanity’ and also ‘Cellphone Diaries’ for Better Photography.

Dinesh is also the co-founder and managing trustee of the Nazar Foundation in Delhi, a non profit trust that promotes the art of photography through various workshops, interactions and exhibitions. Doing this is his way of sharing his passion with budding and even experienced photographers. This organization also sponsors the biennial ‘Delhi Photo Festival’ which is an incredible platform for photographers to showcase their works.

Dinesh Khanna has displayed his work at several solo and group exhibitions, nationally and internationally at The Habitat Center, India International Center, Palette Gallery, Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi, Oxford Gallery, Kolkata, NCPA, Mumbai, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, The Asia Society, San Francisco, Mondavi Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, Whitechapel Gallery, London and at FotomuseumSwitzerland.
A few of his photographs were also recently featured in an exhibition of paintings titled Soul of Asia Art – an exhibition curated by Sushma Bahl as part of the 44th International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2013.

Based in New Delhi, Dinesh is currently working on his next pictorial book ‘Benaras: Everyday in Eternity’ apart from various other assignments. Whether he is taking pictures of martinis, majestic hotel suites, of a teenager on a terrace or bangles in a bazaar, his work exudes emotions that every viewer can relate to at a very simple level. And we look forward to more.

Dinesh will be reaching Tiruvannamalai on 30th November 2014. During his stay, he will also be presenting his works with our rural audience (the dates will be announced at a later stage). Thank you Dinesh Khanna, for being part of project 365 and visiting this ancient town.

WELCOME.

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi Nadar / EtP. Profile by Ami Jangal / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

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Mukhamukham – Bangalore

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photograph on the screen ‘Life in cycles’ by Biju Ibrahim / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

The next stop for traveling Mukhamukham, was the much favored garden city, Bangalore. THALAM, a partner of PROJECT 365 was organising the event at their space at Domlur on 15th November 2014. By that time, the project 365 team had different experience having met with diversified audience. The audience weekly presentations at Kalai Illam, were a mix of local rural audience, informed artists as well a few international visitors who were passing by this ancient town. Children from neighboring villages enthusiastically ask for and participate in the event. MUKHAMUKHAM – Tiruvannamalai by Vamsi books had a gathering of about hundred local audience, many of whom had seen photographic art presentation for the first time. Also, seeing photographs of their town, and oftentimes their own photographs was received enthusiastically. This is an important dimension of Project 365 and one of the project photographers Senthil Kumaran Rajendran mentioned during his presentation, “Photographs will be taken. Printed and then exhibited in urban galleries / art spaces or shown to the potential collectors, and sold or stored for selling…. photographs of rural India, often become exaggerated exotic presentation, created specifically to cater the needs of urban International buyers and audience…. Photographers never get an opportunity to show our photographs with our own people… the land in which the photographs were taken… the one who is photographed never knows what the photographer does with the photographs… But in project 365, photographs of a town are collectively taken, shared with the residents of the town, and more than that, the prints will eventually be exhibited and preserved by the public…That is the profoundness of this project that encouraged me to join this initiative. I am proud to be part of this vision.”

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Selvaprakash Lakshmanan / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Pee Vee, Project 365 Photographer and co-founder of Thalam / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Shibu Arakkal, Photographer Biju Ibrahim also seen / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

The audience for MUKHAMUKHAM – Thrissur were art students, who had remained silent for the presentation to be completed and soon after which, long discussions were held one on one. Armed with this diversified exposure, the team was looking up for the upcoming event with the urban audience. Pee Vee, co-founder Thalam and Project 365 photographer had taken complete charge of the event, which also gave the team an opportunity to explore other galleries and art spaces. The intimate space of Thalam shared by forty photo enthusiasts was indeed ideal to fully present the vision of Project 365. Noted designer and Photographer Ramu Aravindan, one of the leading photographers of the project was present. Photographers Shibu Arakkal, Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim, Iqbal MK, Bhagyashri Patki, Vinay DV, Pee Vee, Jiby Charles and Shiv Kiran presented their works and their journey as a photographer. The audience stayed back long after the event was over and engaged in lively conversation with the photographers. The team received enough energy to move on with the next MUKHAMUKHAM event to be held at Andhra Pradesh, thus covering the four modern states of tri-sangam period Tamilakam. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad said, “A photographer is always behind the lens, and rarely do they get the opportunity to present and speak about their works, their life and journey as a photographer. Mukhamukham is a platform for the upcoming photographers to share their emotions and dreams, learn together and grow. Developing the culture of appreciating the life and works of a photographer is important aspect of this event. I am happy with the overwhelming response MUKHAMUKHAM event has been receiving. Many are approaching us to present MUKHAMUKHAM at their institution / space. We will somehow manage our time between proceeding with our shooting work in Tiruvannamalai and traveling to different parts of our country.”

Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Vinay DV / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Biju Ibrahim / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
The audience – Photographers Ramu Aravindan (second row left) Bhagyashri Patki, Iqbal MK, and Project 365 Manager Tulsi swarna lakshmi) / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Jiby Charles / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographer Iqbal MK / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM - Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Traveling MUKHAMUKHAM – Bangalore / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

Mukhamukham covered by Bangalore mirror http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/others/Coming-face-to-face-with-near-extinct-techniques/articleshow/45153216.cms

Photo enthusiasts interacting with Photographer Ramu Aravindan / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts interacting with Photographer Ramu Aravindan / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts buying Project 365 merchandise / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Photo enthusiasts buying Project 365 merchandise / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP archives
Project 365 photographers Selvaprakash Lakshmanan (left) and Jiby Charles (right) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Selvaprakash Lakshmanan (left) and Jiby Charles (right) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Shibu Arakkal, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim and Shiv Kiran / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives
Project 365 photographers Shibu Arakkal, Arnav Rastogi, Biju Ibrahim and Shiv Kiran / Photography (C) Pee Vee / EtP Archives

If you are interested to host MUKHAMUKHAM at your institution /  art spaces / organisation, do contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi, Manager Project 365

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

Project 365 partners
Project 365 partners

MUKHAMUKHAM – Thrissur

“I already like the town”, said Project 365 photographer Shiv Kiran, as soon as we stepped down from the train. The other team members Arnav Rastogi and Bhagyashri Patki nodded their heads in affirmation. It was as if all the tiredness of the long journey from Tiruvannamalai to Thrissur had vanished by the mere sight of this ancient town. The following day 12th November 2014, Project 365 presentation was to be held at Government Fine arts college, Thrissur. This event is all the more important for EtP, as the next phase of the project 365 is planned to documenting Muziris, the ancient seaport and urban center that existed from around 1st century AD.

Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi

Thrissur, popularly known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala has many other important facades. Synonymous with the world famous and spectacular Pooram Festival, Thrissur is the abode of several prominent cultural centres including the Kerala Kalamandalam, Sahitya Academy and Sangeetha Nataka Academy. Thrissur has an extraordinarily rich past as well as a vibrant present. From ancient times, this district with its cultural heritage and archaeological wealth has played a significant role in the political history of South India. Many rulers and dynasties beginning with the Zamorins of Kozhikode, Tipu Sultan of Mysore and Europeans including the Dutch and the British have had a hand in moulding the destiny of this region. Raja Rama Varma popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran is the architect of the present Thrissur town. Thrissur has a large number of well-known temples including the Vadakkumnathan temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna temple and Paramekkavu temple, as well as two famous churches, the Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral and Our Lady of Dolours Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica.

Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Vadakumnathan temple / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi

We checked into YMCA where our stay had been organised by the college. The other two project 365 photographers Biju Ibrahim and Iqbal MK were to join us the next day (12th November). Project 365 Director Photographer Abul Kalam Azad had given us interesting places to visit in Thrissur and the Vadakumnathan topped the list. So we decided to go there. What was inside took our breath away. This temple is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala and has monumental towers on all four sides and also a Kuttambalam. Mural paintings depicting various episodes from Mahabharata can be seen inside the temple. The shrines and the Kuttambalam display vignettes carved in wood. The temple, along with the mural paintings, has been declared as a National Monument by India under Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.  According to popular local lore, this is the first temple built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu. This place of worship is now a living museum of our ancient culture. In our culture, art is a public property, owned and protected by people. The consciousness of the artists is collective. There are no signatures that claims any ownership.

Photography (C) Shiv Kiran
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Shiv Kiran
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Shiv Kiran
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Shiv Kiran

Project 365 aims at collectively creating a locally placed permanent space for photo art that portrays contemporary culture and lifestyle with its profound mystical roots. In present context, these kind of initiatives are rare and without any protocol to follow, Project 365 is evolving its own values, practices and ethics. Prof. Kavitha Balakrishnan, Fine Arts college, rightly said, “It is a collective responsibility”.

Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi
Thrissur Government Fine Arts College / Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi

On 12th November, at 2.00 pm, MUKHAMUKHAM event started. The ambiance of the fine arts college was another dimension that added much value to the MUKHAMUKHAM presentation. The presence of sculptures all around added to the rawness of the old building. Prof. Lekha, Principal of the college inaugurated the event with a welcome speech. Prof. Kavitha Balakrishnan introduced the team. Ms. Tulsi swarna lakshmi, Manager, Project 365 introduced the project with the audience. About hundred and twenty students participated in the event.

Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi

14th November 2014

Bangalore

Travelling MUKHAMUKHAM – Face to Face with Project 365 photographers

Travelling ‘Mukhamukham’

*Coming next November 12th at Government College of Fine Arts, Thrissur

Mukhamukham

On Nov 9th 2014, Mukhamukham event was organised at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai. Project 365 photographers Arnav Rastogi, Shiv Kiran, Seema Krishnakumar and Bhagyashri presented their works with the National and International audience who had gathered for the presentation. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad was present for the event.

Mukhamukham - Tiruvannamalai / Design (C) Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham – Tiruvannamalai / Design (C) Abul Kalam Azad / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham at German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

On November 8th, Vamsi Books, a partner of Project 365 organised Mukhamukham at Lebanon Bungalow, Tiruvannamalai. Bawa Chellathurai, noted Tamil story writer welcomed the gathering. Ms. Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi, Trustee EtP introduced Project 365 with the audience. Project 365 photographers Ami Gupta, Bhagyashri Patki, Arnav Rastogi, Seema Krishnakumar, Shiv Kiran, Jiby Charles, J Jayaraman and Senthil Kumaran presented their early and ongoing works with the Tiruvannamalai audience. The visual feast was enjoyed by about hundred local art enthusiasts. Mrs. Shylaja Chellathurai, Publisher, Vamsi Books delivered the vote of thanks. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad was present for the event.

Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives
Mukhamukham Tiruvannamalai / Phootgraphy (C) Bhagyashri Patki / EtP Archives

‘Photography in everyday life’ is the motto behind this travelling Mukhamukham. In the age of glossy high definition commercial photographs, the non-graphic realistic presentation of everyday life of an ancient town engages the interest of the audience. It is almost three months since Project 365 began and many people express interest to know and meet the photographers who are dedicating their years of service this cultural initiative. EtP has been organising weekly meet the photographer events at Kalai Illam which was received very well. As a continuation of this, travelling Mukhamukham, face to face with project 365 photographers has been organised in different parts of South India.

Schedule:

8th November 2014. Vamsi Books, Tiruvannamalai

9th November 2014, German Bakery, Tiruvannamalai

12th November 2014, Government College of Fine Arts, Thrissur

15th November 2014, Thalam, Bangalore

25th November 2014, Loyola college, Chennai

26th and 27th December 2014, International Theater Festival, Cochin

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com/ FACEBOOK – Project 365

Taking photo-art to rural india

Art events in contemporary India often get diluted into art houses and galleries that are situated in urban settings. The larger rural audience is often excluded from contemporary art initiatives. Even the most modern and democratic medium like photography, which has the inherent quality to express art to public in a simple, honest, everyday manner, is being capitalized. A prolonged effort is required to re-inculcate the interest of rural public in contemporary art. Taking art to rural India and rejuvenating traditional analog medium is the vision behind EtP’s Project 365.

EtP is set-up in the outskirts of Tiruvannamalai town, amidst rural settings. EtP has established Kalai Illam, a village space for art and organises several events targeted to attract the rural population. Week end ‘meet the artist’ gatherings, establishing photo-art clubs and organizing outreach photo presentations / art activities in schools and colleges; initiating poster campaigns; conducting photography and art workshops / seminars; ‘photography and beyond’ – year-long exhibition series, etc. are few of the activities under taken as part of Project 365. Due to this regular interaction, the public is getting interested in contemporary photography and art practices. Slowly and steadily, the number of people enjoying the exhibitions and participating in the week-end interactions is increasing.

19th October 2014, meet-the-artist event was organised. The special guest for the event was Sri. R. R. Srinivasan, photographer and activist. He presented his body of photographic works. R.R. Srinivasan has been actively involved in film appreciation movement in Tamil Nadu through film society movement and alternative film journals. He emerged from Kanchanai film society in Thirunelveli. Kanchanai film society has played a key role in bringing serious cinema to a non-metropolitan audience. He guest lecturers on film, literature and photography in universities and colleges. He has directed and produced several documentary movies on social issues including 28 documentary films on folk art tradition of Tamil Nadu. He has done several television interviews on artists and writers. His photographs have been exhibited n different parts of Tamil Nadu. He has published a photo book on Narikoravas, nomadic tribes of India. RR is one of the leading photographers in Project 365

'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
'Meet the artist' / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan and American artist Wendel Field / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
‘Meet the artist’ / Photographer and activist R R Srinivasan and American artist Wendel Field / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

Meet the artist event has been regularly organised at Kalai Illam. On 12th October 2014, Project 365 photographer Bhagyashri Patki presented her works followed by a video documentary on Indian photographers Sunil Janah, Sohrab Hura and Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado.On 5th October 2014, Photographer Shiv Kiran presented his works followed by video documentary French Photographer Henry Cartier-Bresson who had visited Tiruvannamalai during the 1950s.

Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki presenting her works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki presenting her works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
The audience / Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki presenting her works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
The audience / Meet Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki  / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran presenting his works / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives
Project 365 Photographer Shiv Kiran / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP archives

This rural space is growing to be a place where artists, art lovers, art enthusiasts and public gather and celebrate art. Project 365 Director Abul Kalam Azad says, “We come from a lineage that properly knows that art is a symbol of our culture, and, therefore, has to be owned and protected by people. Join us in this effort to take art to Rural India”.

Thank you.

Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi

Project 365 Manager

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis and the cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.”

Disclaimer: Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text (C) Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365

Mystical verses, contemporary images

“Every photograph I take is an experience” says Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki. For Bhagyashri, her work speaks of spontaneity. It is a complete process of self-exploration, and an expression of her true nature.

Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives
Project 365 Photographer Bhagyashri Patki / Image (C) Arnav Rastogi / EtP Archives

After graduating in Computer Applications and having worked as a web designer, she studied photography at the Sri Aurobindo Center of Arts and Communication. In her study she was largely exposed to Photojournalism as well as documentary and conceptual photography. Soon, she worked on various projects that allowed her to explore her creativity. Her series on ‘Ladakh – The land of prayers’ has been published in the Sunday Guardian and another series ‘Photography’ was published in The Caravan Magazine. Currently, Bhagyashri is part of a team of photographers called Fseven Photographers, who take up commercial work including product, food, industrial and other photography. Her personal projects include a series called ‘Delhi above the noise’ which captures the many moods of this city from an elevation, among other vantage points. Bhagyashri has her own way of seeing things and her personal perspective is displayed in her work. Her photographs are all about what she feels and how something captivates or moves her. At Tiruvannamalai, she will depict the ancient hymns, ancient Tamil literature and devotional poems of the legendary culture through contemporary visuals. She will study the writings of ‘Thevaram and Thiruvacakam’ and express the life of the Nayanar Saints with abstract visuals. She will be using both digital and the analogue medium while experimenting with multiple exposures.

Bhagyashri says, “Consciously or subconsciously, we all want to attain liberation. We may all have a different idea altogether about the the means / paths to be free. In ancient times, the lives of people were simple and so were their desires. Its’ almost two months since I have come to Tiruvannamalai. The simplicity and the tranquil lifestyle seems to be influencing me in profound ways. I believe every place has its soul and few of my past projects have also been an exploration about the same. Here while my journey has just began, I am certain of undergoing my own spiritual journey breaking down the walls and being my true self. The first phase of my project is to create visuals representing the lives of the 63 Nayanmars (holy devotees), who dedicated their lives and few of which lives after lives in reverence to lord Shiva – the ultimate moksha for them was to serve the lord and be his companion.”

The Periya puranam (Tamil: பெரிய‌ புராண‌ம்), that is, the great purana or epic, sometimes called Tiruttontarpuranam (“Tiru-Thondar-Puranam”, the Purana of the Holy Devotees) is a Tamil poetic account depicting the legendary lives of the sixty-three Nayanars, the canonical poets of Tamil Shaivam. It was compiled during the 12th century by Sekkizhar, who (Tamil: சேக்கிழார்) was a poet and scholar of Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta, a Saiva saint contemporary with the reign of Kulothunga Chola. He compiled and wrote the Periya Puranam, 4253 verses long, recounting the life stories of the sixty-three Shaiva Nayanars, the poets of Shiva who composed the liturgical poems of the Tirumarai. Sekkizhar’s work itself became part of the sacred canon.

“He is beyond the world’s thought
His tresses are decorated with the moon and rivers
Immeasurable brilliance;
Shiva, the Dancer in the Hall
Praise and worship his feet
That blossom as Grace.” – Shekkizhar

Lives of Nayanars / Image (C) Bhagyashri  Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Mystical verses, contemporary images / Image (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives

Sekkizhar (Tamil: சேக்கிழார்) was a poet and scholar of Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta, a Saiva saint contemporary with the reign of Kulothunga Chola. He compiled and wrote the Periya Puranam, 4253 verses long, recounting the life stories of the sixty-three Shaiva Nayanars, the poets of Shiva who composed the liturgical poems of the Tirumarai. Sekkizhar’s work itself became part of the sacred canon.

Lives of Nayanars / Image (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives

Mystical verses, contemporary images / Image (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives

Caption: As his heart was moved by love,
Marar of Iiayankudi settlement
Went with a basket on his head
To the fields where the fowls slept..
– Sekkizar

Lives of Nayanars / Image (C) Bhagyashri  Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Mystical verses, contemporary images / Image (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives

(to be continued…)

(to be continued…)

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis and the cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.”

Disclaimer: Image (C) Bhagyashri Parki / Project 365 PUBLIC archives.

All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Blog maintained by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Profile of Bhagyashri Patki by Ami Gupta / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365