Viduthalai Mani Dharmaraj is a Street Photographer from Chennai, India. He is a software engineer by profession and a lovely husband and father. His small camera is a constant companion wherever he goes. He loves to capture anything interesting he came across.
In his words about love for black and white photographs, “I think black and white places more focus on the essence of a scene. Distractions can be avoided in black and white. In the simplicity of a black and white photograph, there is consistency and a sharpness of detail. These elements are important to me, and hence I stick to black and white.”
Thanks, Viduthalai Mani Dharmaraj for accepting for the invite. Please read on…
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Viduthalai Mani Dharmaraj from Chennai, India, and I have working as a software professional for 8 years. I was born and raised in a small village called Karuvakkurichi near Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu where I spent my childhood. I moved to Chennai for my Master’s, and have lived there ever since. I was married in Chennai too, and I live in the south of the city with my wife and our little daughter.
What is your childhood memories of the arts?
During school, I had an affinity towards drawing, which I used to do when attending classes and later at home. I remember that I enjoyed this, and used to draw quite a lot, which morphed into an interest in photography later in my life.
What first drew you to photography and how did you discover it?
I remember that a close relative in our village brought home a new camera from Singapore where he was working. It was an expensive item, of course, and I wasn’t allowed to touch it. My grandfather would invite this person over to take photographs of me, the family, and our fields. It was then, at that age, when I observed the processes that making a picture involved, that I think I fell in love with this intricate, demanding, obsessive art.
What makes street photography so special for you?
A small camera is my constant companion wherever matter where I go. I shoot what I love and anything interesting that I come across, and in a city like Chennai, I come across such things almost every day. I don’t force myself to take pictures. In my opinion, there are no limits or limitations to making pictures in this genre. I enjoy the process completely, and it helps me to keep myself happy and creative in the mundanities of daily life.
Why a special love with Black and White?
I think black and white places more focus on the essence of a scene. Distractions can be avoided in black and white. In the simplicity of a black and white photograph, there is consistency and a sharpness of detail. These elements are important to me, and hence I stick to black and white.
What do you think makes a memorable street photograph?
In street photography, it’s the details that matter. A simple photograph is not just its primary elements: there are entire stories in the objects behind it, the melee in which it is taken, and what it captures in its sidelong glances. The other, and perhaps most important element, is time. A street photograph, in its intricacies, can bring alive history, albeit a history that is universal in its minutiae.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I don’t like to explain my photographs. What my viewers take away from a photograph of mine I like to leave up to them. An image can bring forth different emotions in different people. I would like my photographs to be a conduit for the most felt ones.
What do you do to keep motivated, and not lose your passion for photography?
I find inspiration and direction in the works of a few masters, like Elliot Erwitt and Raghubir Singh. I also like talking about art and pictures with talented creative friends I work with.
What is the best compliment you received so far?
I find that when the people I’m close to appreciate a picture I made, it gives me more happiness than other accolades.
Which photographers have inspired you?
What camera and lenses do you use the majority of the time?
Any favorite photography books?
Apart from photography, tell me about your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy reading Tamil fiction, and good cinema.
Thanks again for providing 121Clicks with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thanks for this opportunity. I enjoyed answering these questions.
Final thoughts would be this: Never leave home without your camera, follow your heart, shoot what you love! Let your art drive you. 🙂
You can find Viduthalai Mani Dharmaraj on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Viduthalai Mani Dharmaraj. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.