I decided it was time to interview some photographers and find out what drives them to take pictures, Supriya Sunneva Kolandavelu, who brings to her work such a fresh and generous eye, talks about her own photographic journey.
What or who got you in to taking photographs and did you ever study it ?
My wonderful friend Craig Thomas, who is himself a self taught photographer, is a big inspiration for me. I borrowed a camera from a friend and later met up with Craig after getting Skype counselling on how to work with a camera. Craig was fast and eager to get me on track. He shared with me his wisdom about photography as well as taking me on several 'at home with Craig and on the road' workshops where he taught me what he could get into my stubborn mind. From there I was able to practice photography on a professional level. I have always had the eye but perhaps lacked the instrument to practice it until the last two years.
What sparks your imagination and inspires you ?
I think influences are all around me. I do believe that not only do I detect happiness through my own happy heart, but also evoke situations around me in which mirror my present mode, being happy. The same goes for sadness. When I feel sad and uncomfortable, I will in the same way provoke situations around me, so that I can have the space to express that feeling. I think that in order to express sadness, and relate in that way to other people's sadness, I have to allow the sadness to take me over. If I want to provoke happiness, I will have to provoke it within myself first.
What are you working on now ? I have a vision for creating projects that are produced by the public. I like co-operation rather then competition.I want to bring art home and encourage everyone to invest their time in healing themselves and their environment. I think sites like kickstarter or indigogo.com provide interesting possibilites in terms of getting a budget for a project, along with other sites where people exchange their skills for supporting their (and others) projects.
What have you learnt with your photography over the last few years ?
Being young and quite new in this area, the last couple of years have shaped me in many ways that are still appearing. Being behind the camera teaches one to remove oneself a little more, and to watch without interacting. That in itself has been a great lesson for me.
What matters most to you, how a photo looks or how it how it makes you feel ?
I get caught up in the moment, forgetting time and everything around me. When I realiced that the most beautiful things I have witnessed have happened when I was fully present I started wondering where these wonderful things came from. Nothing else was occupying my mind, for the moment to be good I have to be in it. I have to forget everything else but this moment, and notice it for what it is. If I can see it, it can be beautiful.
Can photography heal ?
I believe human feelings are connected up like a wire. I believe we have within us the healing power in which we tend to seek elsewhere, as all art comes from within.
How well can photography depict the truth and/or expand our knowledge of a world we do not know and have not seen ?
A great artist requires a great spectator. Wisdom comes from going away from oneself, only to come back to see what was always there but lacked an eye to look through.
Finally, please complete this sentence 'I love taking photographs because... I love taking photographs because it provokes a stillness within me and with an attentive mind, listening to my soul.