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People first

Srikanth Kolari believes in spending time with his subjects. Unlike trigger-happy lensmen, this biker-photographer stays in conflict zones and returns home with striking images.

entertainment Updated: Jul 30, 2010 22:01 IST
Aasheesh Sharma
Aasheesh Sharma
Hindustan Times

Rootless by choice and compassionate by nature, lensman Srikanth Kolari has never believed in taking shortcuts. When the 30-year-old photographer complains about the camera being an insensitive, loud and selfish device, his sincerity convinces you.

In Kolari’s hands, it becomes an object of empathy. If he has to capture the agony of a tortured people in Jammu and Kashmir, Kolari revs up his Royal Enfield motorcycle and drops anchor there. For months, he stayed in the Valley to discover how people live under the shadow of the army’s bayonet and militants’ grenades.

When Kolari wanted to figure whether normalcy had returned to the Southern Indian states tormented by Tsunami, he recced the coastal areas for months. “All my projects are long-term. Unless I get to know the people, I cannot click their pictures, it is as simple as that,” says the former lensman with the newsweekly Outlook.

Amid the rubble of tragedies natural and man-made, Kolari sometimes comes across towers of hope. His image of a group of boys in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district is one such. “Oblivious to the destruction around them, they are going fishing on a make-shift raft. Encounters such as these help one retain one’s sanity.”

Although he has also dabbled in industrial and wildlife photography, for the past few years, Kolari has consciously trained his viewfinder on socially relevant issues.

“Whether it is the coal mine workers in Jharkhand, fishermen in coastal india or the victims of militancy in Kashmir, their spirit to fight the odds works like an inspiration.”

First Published: Jul 30, 2010 21:58 IST