Naveen Gowtham is a passionate Travel Photographer from Chennai, India. He is an engineering graduate and photography is a living habitual for him. In his words about people and Travel photography “For me, people are everything here. I am traveling all around, for not only visiting places but also to know the people. I would like to document the places am visiting, through the faces of the people over there. There are different places, many seasons, a variety of people, lots of cultures, plenty of habits and languages, yet we all unite with a single similarity. That’s Love. I am here with my camera to celebrate every moment of it. Each human being is a universe and each of their eyes is an Ocean. We can perceive a lot from them. I wish to do that continuously.”
Thanks, Naveen for accepting our invite. Please read on.
Could you please introduce yourself?
I am Naveen Gowtham, a Self-taught photographer. Born and brought up in an agricultural family of a small village namely, Ottakudi in Thiruvarur District, Tamilnadu, India. An Engineering graduate has worked in both streaming and non-streaming fields. The variety of travel and work experiences helps me to understand people sooner and better. I am a normal person like everyone else and having a lot of dreams to follow, and my soul fervently clings to the camera since photography is my passion. More than a passion, it’s my living habitual I can say.
Could you please share your childhood memories towards arts?
On my school days, Drawing and painting were the only known art to me. I acclimatized to focus all my interests there in to draw in my Science practical record notebooks, not only mine; many of my friends too. Sometimes my dad used to buy me coloring books where I conversant with coloring them which stirred me to paint a little. Dad is my all-time inspiration. He is a master in Line art. But he never showed up outside. Whenever he draws a portrait, I was there with my drawing kit and scribble over the picture and place a mustache over it, and even took credit for them by signing under as “art by Naveen”. Elegant of the portrait might get vanished, but still, he used to encourage me.
My Dad is a big fan of Kamalhasan (Indian Actor), on those days dad used to replicate the actor’s different hairstyle on movies and snapped himself on the photos. Every wall of our home had smiled on the bearing of many such frames. I enjoy seeing them and started questioned myself “why can’t I take pictures of my own?” From there, I started to see the world with a camera eye.
How did you develop the interest in photography?
As I said earlier, I always had a dream to take photos on my own. On seeing my interest, Dad bought me a used film camera from his friend. Then what?The journey started by clicking pictures of my surroundings, neighboring faces and many. But the difficulties were that I couldn’t develop the clicked pictures into a printed one owing to economic issues and even some others. And another challenge was that to take pictures without wasting of a film role. Steadily I have learned to focus object and to handle the lights at level units; there my desire turns into a passion.
After my graduation, I heard about CWC (Chennai Weekend Clickers), an ardent photography community-based in Chennai. Without any second thought, I joined there. With those people, my weekends were just fantastic and enjoyable. Apart from joy and fun, I learned a lot such as techniques, angles, editing, etc. Thus, CWC plays a major part in my photography career.
Few words about your love for people & travel photography?
For me, people are everything here. I am traveling all around, for not only visiting places but also to know the people. I would like to document the places am visiting, through the faces of the people over there. There are different places, many seasons, a variety of people, lots of cultures, plenty of habits and languages, yet we all unite with a single similarity. That’s Love. I am here with my camera to celebrate every moment of it. Each human being is a universe and each of their eyes is an Ocean. We can perceive a lot from them. I wish to do that continuously.
There is a sense of calmness in your pictures. What makes it possible for you to capture them?
There is a saying, “Calm after the storm”. Has there ever been a storm in all of our lives at least once isn’t it? But that single storm brings peace to the rest of life. Storms are temporary and as a passing cloud but calmness is permanent and lasting forever. I feel it looks more beautiful as Buddha’s smile. Thus, the calmness you see in me and in my pictures is maybe owing to the storms I had earlier.
Few words about your photo series KadalKadhalan (Ocean Lover)?
Actually, it’s started just like that. Those days, it was my habitual to go to Marina Beach (Chennai) every day after work. Just to watch different people then enjoy the wet that every wave brings on my feet and to explore the limitless sky that trying to touch the water surface and even many. Whenever I feel low or disturbed, I go to Marina, at a point of time the sea has started to heal me. I strongly believe that the waves and salty air were my greatest pain relievers. I have spent most of my Chennai days on its lap. Even, I have burnt limitless nights at the shore. The sound that the waves whisper perpetually is one of my favorite music since then. Marina witnesses all my ups and downs.
After my continuous being there and lots of observations, I feel like, the sea changes its color and the direction of its waves every day. One day I took a picture using a slow shutter, which brings a big smile on me while seeing it later. From then on, I used to capture different waves patterns using the same technique which showed me a different shade of the sea.
There is no secret in it; just moving a camera along the wave’s direction gives me that texture that I loved most. Even now it became a habit to capture that panning picture, on my every visit to Marina!
What does it take to produce a good picture for Naveen?
There is no such picture as bad. It’s all up to our perception. If you look a picture with an analytic eye or if you search for the techniques involved in it, you may not perceive the beauty of that picture is trying to speak out. I would say, just enjoy what you see. Each creation here is a piece of art. Each pixel in a frame has its own magnificent. Every picture is an output of one’s thought process from which we supposed to grasp the story that striving to convey. If that is not possible, we can ask the concerned directly, and nothing wrong with it. We can’t define, to compare or abduct them into a boundary of our own.
Your favorite photographers?
There are many. If I need to mention a few of them, they would be: Sebastiao Salgado, Ansel Adams, Josef Koudelka, and Michael Kenna. Apart from them, I have lots of people in my friend circle. And I am learning and grasping different aspects from each one of them. Because everyone is a specialist or expert in their own way and they possess a peculiar element to pick up.
Canon 5D Mark III, Sigma 35mm.
What’s your personal motto?
Always celebrate Life. It’s that simple and meaningful.
Who are your real-life heroes?
In day-to-day life, survival becomes a challenge for many. Despite their obstacles, they are holding a generous heart to love society back. Even in-between the difficulties, they throw some good reasons for someone’s smile. I feel all such fellow humans are real-time heroes.
What is Love?
Once we friends went to Valparai, one of the famous hill stations in Tamilnadu. After some time, it started to rain gently. The people who are working at tea estates are way back to their shelters after their work. Generally, I have a huge fondness towards the tribal people for their language, lifestyle, food, dress and on extreme for their absolute love on lives. Even I adore the shyness they show in front of the camera.
They were walking around carrying tea bundles on their heads. They wrapped their bodies with some old linen bag cloths like a bundle. When I start to capture, they and their shyness came along. At the moment the whole mountain starts to fill itself with loads of love. That warmth and happiness gripped me there. The way people smiled for my camera is truly wordless to write here. But it must be perceived. One of the ladies in my mother’s age has urged me to get into her linen bags, and it was like a poem. You can visualize it isn’t? She called me, ‘oh my gold’ and said ‘don’t get wet dear, come inside’. Still, I couldn’t abduct her smile into my frames. Visualize the moment, again and again, makes me out of joy. The figure I glimpsed in her smile in-between the pouring drops is, Love. It’s not her love for me; it is her love towards the universe, to everybody here.
What drives the world is Love and that drives all of us. The reason or the purpose we all are here is for Love. One’s life gets complete when he gets loved. The only real happiness is to love and to be loved. Let us be the love we never received.
Who are your favorite authors?
I am not a good reader. But as far as I read, I like Vannadasan aka Kalyanji‘s writings. I used to get emotionally connected to his writings. His words unfold many visuals to me from which I can develop sceneries or ideas that I can capture later. And recently I started to enjoy reading Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s works.
Apart from photography tell me about your hobbies and interests?
Music and painting are my leisure time activities. Traveling to unplanned places on irregular roads with a camera is my all-time interest which excites me more. Now I added cooking to my list.
Any final thoughts and words of advice for your fans and our readers?
Thanks to 121 clicks for being the greatest inspiration from the beginning. There is nothing so-called advice. Just travel more, visit many places, interact with more people, and learn from everyone. Observe other photographer’s works, grasp things from them, but deliver with your personality. Keep explore and keep clicking. One day you could abduct everything into a single frame!
You can find Naveen Gowtham on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Naveen Gowtham. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.