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The cloud chasers

Stuck in a downpour? If you’re a social media addict, you probably have your phone out to get a clutch of Instagram-worthy pictures. Curious about how photographers view the world through their lenses, SHONALI MUTHALALY and PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY ask a cross-section of them for their favourite pictures of Chennai on a rainy day. The central idea? It’s not all exasperating commutes, flooded roads and soggy shoes. Even in a traffic-clogged city, there’s plenty of romance when it rains

Photo: Arun Titan

Photo: Arun Titan  

Arun Titan

I love mazhai (rains) and the Marina. I’m a pucca Chennai boy, and I go to the beach as often as I can. I love documenting the beach when it rains. In 2012, I chanced upon hundreds of women in red saris carrying umbrellas. They were going to the Samayapuram Mariamman temple, and were at the beach for some puja. I saw this group heading to the beach, near the Light House and quickly took a set of photographs.

Although I have shot thousands of photos on the beach, I distinctly remember those that touched me. This one in particular was special because of the colours, and, of course, the setting. That is why I remember this back story. I even remember the time. I shot it between 11 a.m. and noon, when dark clouds hovered over the beach.

Arun Titan’s interest in photography started with capturing street life across India. A Chennai-based Visual Communication & Fine Arts graduate, he began his career as a cartoon animator at Zoho corp in 2008. A few years later, he was selected for the 8th Angkor Photo Workshop, Siem Reap, Cambodia, as one among 30 Asian participants, after which he decided to make photography a career. He experiments with various genres such as documentaries, advertisements and wedding and fashion photography at his eponymous studio.

Website: http://www.aruntitan.com



Vilvesh Swaminathan’s photograph

Vilvesh Swaminathan’s photograph  

Vilvesh Swaminathan

This was clicked a year ago in MGR Nagar, near my house. It was raining and some people were running for cover, but this little girl returning from school was thrilled. You can see her grandmother in the background carrying her bag and lunch basket as the 10-year-old enjoys herself. Balancing an umbrella and the camera, I managed to take this picture using a 100mm lens. I like rain because it creates so many shoot-worthy moments. Some people run away, some stumble, some wade through water grudgingly, some soak it all in. I make sure I am out walking and snapping these moments.

A graphic designer with R R Donnelley, Vilvesh, 30, took up photography as a hobby four years ago.

He’s part of Chennai Weekend Clickers, a photography community from the city. He loves to travel and shoot, and is inspired by the works of James Nachtwey, Steve McCurry and Sebastiao Salgado.



Photo: Dharma Chandru

Photo: Dharma Chandru  

Dharma Chandru

Remember Cyclone Nilam? It hurtled through the city in 2012. Because of the cyclone, a giant cargo ship ran aground at the Marina. Huge crowds of people flocked to the beach to see it, and I was one among them.

When I reached, I found something more interesting — the shore was filled with water and resembled a pool. I had never seen anything like it before and wanted to shoot there. So, I took snapshots with my mobile phone and decided my angles and went back the next day. That’s when I noticed these boys making a boat out of thermocol and rafting in it. It was around 3 in the afternoon, and the children were engrossed in what they were doing. Their playfulness is what grabbed my attention. Not wanting to disturb them or make them camera-conscious I sat in my car by the cycling track and shot this using a 500 mm lens that’s usually used for sports photography.

This 31-year-old has been a photographer for 19 years now. He enjoys shooting all genres but specialises in landscape, sports and food photography. He’s self-taught, and was the official photographer at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and ICC T20 World Cup 2016 and the IPL. He plans to make people aware about climate change through his photographs.



Amar Ramesh’s photograph

Amar Ramesh’s photograph  

Amar Ramesh

I took this picture on my first Discover Tamil Nadu trip last year. My team and I decided to make this an annual project. We just drive around randomly exploring the State: the idea is to see new places and meet new people.

I love travel, but when you think about travelling, you tend to think of Europe or Singapore.

There are so many fascinating, unexplored places around us that not many people know about. We want to not just photograph them, but also write and talk about them.

Last year’s trip was in September. We drove for about 15 days — from Chennai through Chidambaram, Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Karaikudi and Rameshwaram, right up to Kanyakumari. I took this picture in Karaikudi when we were visiting a local temple around noon. It suddenly started to rain, and I noticed two kids running around enjoying the weather.

Rain reminds me of my childhood: we would run out and jump into puddles. It brings back memories, the feeling of joy, and the smell of wet earth. This picture is special because of the careless joy of these kids. There is no better time for photography than the monsoon — all you have to do is step out, and magic awaits.

Amar Ramesh is a photographer with a love for travel and heritage. One of his key long-term projects is discovering and documenting his home state of Tamil Nadu. He also runs a photography collective called Studio A specialising in weddings, events, architecture and fashion.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 1:51:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/The-cloud-chasers/article16091750.ece

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