D. Krishnan, Photo Editor of The Hindu, said:
Called for a job interview by Mr. Kasturi in1978, I took along a bunch of photographs that I had shot to show him.
He picked one and asked: “What time did you take this photograph?”
Taken aback by the question, I tried to bluff my way through: “Around 11 a.m.”
He immediately shot back and said: “Recollect and guess again!” And then he proceeded to tell me what time it must have been: “Notice the shadow of the batsman and fielders. It must have been after 3 p.m. The position of the sun at Chepauk would create this shadow only after 3 p.m.!”
At that moment, I realised that even if I got the job, I would have to be very careful with the Editor.
A perfectionist, he never accepted any work that did not match his expectations. The editor’s room and the darkroom were at the extreme ends of the office, and I remember making innumerable trips up and down with test strips on black & white paper till he was satisfied with the tone and detail to make the final print.
We had to show him every colour transparency film we had shot and he would examine every frame with a magnifying glass and give his comments, even if that meant wading through 10 rolls of film at a time, each of 36 frames.
A far-sighted professional, he saw the coming dominance of the visual media back in the 1980s and wanted us to be prepared. At one point, he handed me and a reporter a video camera and asked us to make short news films.
His passion for photography grew after his retirement as he was able to devote more time to his favourite hobby. He set up a full-fledged studio at his home and started to experiment with different lighting equipment.
He was constantly in touch with most of our 75 photographers in the past three years, often phoning them and correcting their faults after seeing their photographs stored in The Hindu’s computerised photo bank. He even invited outstation photographers to his house to share with them tips and insights.
N. Sridharan, our chief photographer, recollects that Mr. Kasturi wanted photographers to think and plan their shoots as they were photojournalists and not mere daily-wagers who worked mechanically
He had always stressed the value of coordination among the reporter, the photographer, and the graphics and design departments for effective and optimal reproduction and quality.
He felt that a photographer did not need a seat in the office as his work was outside; if he was in the office, he was not working.
His command over colour and photographic reproduction was unmatched. He was constantly updating his knowledge through the Internet, passing on any interesting developments to the photographers.
Mr. Kasturi was a constant source of inspiration to The Hindu’s photographers. His demise has left a void for us, which can never be filled.