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  Age on Sunday   03 Feb 2019  Aquaman of photography

Aquaman of photography

THE ASIAN AGE. | VANDANA MOHANDAS
Published : Feb 3, 2019, 8:33 am IST
Updated : Feb 3, 2019, 8:33 am IST

Photographer Ansari Punalur’s work documents the relationship between human beings and water.

Photography, for Ansari, is all about documenting life in its full vigour, beauty and harsh reality.
 Photography, for Ansari, is all about documenting life in its full vigour, beauty and harsh reality.

Water is a recurring element in the photographs he clicks, yet Ansari Punalur says it isn’t a conscious addition. “It just happens. My only focus while setting a frame is that it should be brimming with life,” says the youngster who is the man behind many award-winning photographs.

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Ansari was just 15 when he fell in love with photography. “My neighbour had a small Konica auto-focus film camera. Seeing him clicking photos, my interest grew. I used to borrow a similar camera from a friend and take the Sengottai-Tenkasi passenger train every week just to take photos,” he recalls. As the passion grew stronger, he decided to get updated in the art and joined a studio in his hometown where he started off as a light boy and got ‘promoted’ to a still photographer.

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That was when his favourite click — his first one using an SLR camera  happened. “I had borrowed the camera from the studio and was roaming around for the perfect frame when I passed by a mist-filled rubber plantation. It was a beautiful sight and I clicked it. That photo was published the next day in a local daily with my credit. Till date, that remains my most cherished photograph, my magnum opus!”

 

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Another photo he holds close to his heart is of a mother and child playing in the river, the yellow tone of the setting sun turning background for the frame. In 2007, his photograph of a beggar and a cow sharing food from a single plate fetched him many honours, including a Lalit Kala Akademi Award for the best photographer, a two-day workshop led by Santhosh Sivan and a job opportunity as a photographer for a popular TV show. After serving around four years at the TV channel, Ansari decided to become a freelancer. As he puts it, “A travel photographer by passion and a wedding photographer for a living.”

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During his sojourns, he has documented lives, with and without water. “I have seen both the sides — drought and flood. This year, I saw my friends’ submerged homes in the flood-ravaged Kerala and people wailing for a drop of water in drought-hit Tamil Nadu and Palakkad, he adds.

 

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Photography, for Ansari, is all about documenting life in its full vigour, beauty and harsh reality.

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Tags: santhosh sivan