These images range from actor Andrea on her terrace to 'photo' conversations between photographers.

Actor Andrea behind a glass panelSunder Ramu
Features Lockdown Friday, May 15, 2020 - 18:03

American photographer Alec Soth in a recent interview to The Guardian, spoke about a photograph that defined his lockdown experience. It was a simple photo of a letter captured through a fine mesh. The letter that he received recently from a prison inmate with whom he has been in touch since 2003, read, "It all boils down to limits.” There was more - “Whether enforced by nature – biologic or social, tangible or abstractions – we all confront the parameters of our cage eventually. What we do when we reach those bars helps define us.”

Calling the letter exchange to be the most meaningful experience to have happened to him, Alec Soth observed that it helped him reflect on the constraints of prison.

Photographers across the world are interpreting the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic in their own ways, and we asked a few photographers from different parts of Tamil Nadu to share their images and tell us a little about the story behind them.

Jaisingh Nageswaran, Madurai

“I always had a question - where is my home?” Jaisingh begins. Having constantly been on the move for about 15 years, Jaisingh is now at his ancestral house in Vadipatti in Madurai along with his kin.

In his ‘Life in the Times of Corona’ series, he has been capturing everyday events in his house, of his mother, father, nieces and nephews.

Jaisingh

“Even when I moved out to live in cities like Mumbai and Chennai, I never had a place I could call my own. I would live with friends and travel more often for work. The house in Vadipatti, moreover, reminded me of my grandmother’s lifelong rebellion against caste, our family’s strained yet deep-rooted relationship with the landscape,” he explains.

Jaisingh’s grandmother is Ponnuthai, a fiery Dalit woman who had to fight several battles to be able to run the school she founded - Ponnuthai Amma Gandhiji Primary School in Vadipatti.

Read: Ponnuthai's school turns 66: The story of the fiery TN Dalit woman who fought all odds

“Even while at Vadipatti, I would always suggest moving to a different place to my parents. I’ve always wanted to live in a world without caste. The sense of a home has always been a myth to me,” he tells us.

Lockdown, says Jaisingh, has helped him confront these questions. “It created a space for me to reflect on my own self, my photography and my perception of a home.” Jaisingh shares that all photos were organically shot using just his cell phone camera.

Sunder Ramu, Chennai

Stuck in Chennai, Bengaluru-based Sunder Ramu went up to his terrace and began clicking the birds initially when the lockdown was announced. “I was clicking photos of birds and one day, Andrea walked up to her terrace to do her yoga and it was by chance that we realised that we could see each other from our terraces,” he says.

The first picture he took of the well-known actor was of her waving from her terrace. It has since translated into a stunning photo series titled “Girl Next Door’.

Sunder Ramu

Blurred by a glass window, the photographs of Andrea look like paintings. And thus began a project that has taken the fashion photography world over by storm. “Getting calls from people in Spain, New York and everywhere else. It’s becoming a story of adapting and creating during the pandemic,” says Sunder.

Sunder has since captured Shriya Reddy, also his neighbour, and done an online shoot for Shriya Saran who is currently in Barcelona in Spain.

“I think the idea is to explore and to make a statement. I wanted to reinvent my own style in an industry that is basically saturated with the same-old techniques. I’m working harder now than before. All I’m saying is for people to wake up and learn new things,” he adds.

Sunder is currently busy lining up shoots with 12 other celebrities who are in cities across the world. These shoots will be set up via video calls.

Kirthana Devdas and Indira Kumar, Chennai

Chennai-based photographers Kirthana and Indira Kumar signed up for an online, collaborative photo project called Stayathome.Photography, an initiative by Berlin-based photographers Yana Wernicke and Jonas Feige.

The website showcases photographic conversations between photographers from different parts of the world, from Albania to Vietnam. Explaining the process, Kirthana says, “The website is set up in a way that each of us uploads a picture and then the other responds to it and this goes on."

Kirthana

Indira Kumar

In an interview with GUP Magazine, the initiators of this photo-conversation project have said, “As we watched the conversations on our website unfold, we got the sense that many of the uploaded photographs speak of things that might not or could not be expressed with words.”

In that sense, Kirthana and Indira Kumar’s photographs form an exquisite wordless dialogue. It is interesting to see how the two photographers have interpreted and responded to each other.

“The way it's growing is quite organic and we’re still early into the project but it’s something to look forward to, like the pleasure of receiving a postcard in your mail,” Kirthana says.

Indira Kumar

Kirthana

Indira Kumar

Kirthana

Indira Kumar

Kirthana

Indira Kumar