Chennai-based photographer, designer has a unique take on art
CHENNAI: I was on the beach looking at a man standing by the coast and at the same time, I saw a huge tide rolling up about to hit the shore. There was something at that moment. The fact that two things were happening simultaneously at a different pace in the same moment seemed beautiful to me and I clicked pictures of them both to see how I could combine them.”
That’s how 28-year-old Prashanth Swaminathan realised he had the eye and skill to convert photographs into artistic renditions. Speaking to DT Next about his journey in turning pictures into art, he says, “It all started with photography. When I was in college, I would borrow my friend’s camera and explore the various niches of photography.
“It soon became a hobby and then my passion. After college, I got placed at a company in Hyderabad in the auditing department. I lasted four months. The monotony of only numbers frustrated me and I knew I wanted to pursue something where I could be creative. So, I quit.”
His impulsive decision to quit his job upset his parents so much that they briefly disowned him and even stopped talking to him. He says that he was in a zone where nothing could faze him. “Surprisingly, I felt no pressure seeing my peers secure jobs, pursue another degree or just see them do well. The comfort I got doing what I love sustained me,” he smiles.
In 2015, he attended the Koovagam, an eighteen-day festival that revolves around the transgender community, and clicked some pictures of the event. “In 2016, the National Photography Festival was announced. My friend and I decided to send a couple of our pictures to amuse ourselves. I sent the pictures I clicked at the festival and I won,” he chuckles.
He says that his family started talking to him after he won that award. But did not entirely approve of his choices. In 2016, he decided to do a small project and photograph the coastal villages in Tamil Nadu. That is when he learnt he could mix photography and art.
“I’m all about exploring new forms of art. My curiosity for art pushes me to new venues of forms of art. I would say, this idea occurred to me by accident and first and when I realised how beautiful it can be, I started looking at things differently. I’d try to see if two or more things could be combined together to make sense,” he remarks.
He says design for him is more like maths, but a subject where you can twist and break theorems as you wish. “Isn’t it exciting and fun to break a theory?” he chuckles.
Manipulating photographs into art is not new. So what’s special about Prashanth’s works? “I believe my works are more about the form itself. As I mentioned, I’m curious when it comes to art. I always try pushing my horizons and mixing up different niches, techniques or styles,” he comments.
But how long will he continue blending these two forms of art? “I get bored pretty soon. I don’t see that happening with this, but if it does come to it, I will try something with dead forms of art. Isn’t art all about revival,” he smiles.
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