Taking his own time, which Achuthanand Ravi says, that can last for several months and years, he first puts his ‘subject’ in a comfort zone with him before filming. Achuthanand Ravi, who likes to be called Achuthanand Tanjore Ravi, is deeply interested in social issues. He indulges in conversation with people, constantly searching for emotions.
It is his fifth year in the field and Achuthanand is just 21. This self-taught photographer initially started practising with a point and shoot camera, mastering the basics and composition techniques. Achuthanand is busy shooting in ‘Greater Rann of Kutch’ for his next project.
By the time he was in engineering college, he decided to make a career out of travel photography. After a few days of constant pestering, his father got him his first DSLR. Since then, he has picturised many documentaries, apart from street photography. Achuthanand, besides shooting documentaries, founded a photography club named Madras in Motion (MIM) which was initially started on Facebook. Assisted by his friend Ashok Kumar, the purpose of the club is to mutually help people who are interested in photography. The group has 1,000-odd members and they plan and go for regular photo walks in Chennai every weekend.
“The aim of MIM is to teach all aspiring photographers. So, MIM is open to people of all ages. The club is just for the art sake, to explore and develop,” he says. The group organises workshops and seminars for the purpose.
Achuthanand feels that these photo walks have given him and his group members vast experience. He says, “People who initially had no clue about photography are running their own photography services now, I am happy that the objective of MIM is achieved.”
When asked to elaborate on his travel shoots and experiences, he opens up about his training with the National Geographic team in Karnataka. “Not all get internship in such a place, but I got lucky, they short listed me by going through my portfolio. Those two months of my stay gave me a lot of learning proficiency and experience, which influenced my later projects.”
In his career as a photo journalist, Achuthanand has travelled to many places, documented people’s lives, sufferings and pleasure. Some of his projects include ‘Beyond Sight’, an exclusive package about the life of the visually-impaired, ‘The Maha Kumbh Mela 2013’ and ‘Wildlife’. “I talk to people and stay with them. One of my memorable experiences was at the Maha Kumbh Mela, where I stayed with sadhus, spoke to them and understood their love and faith in god.”
Achuthanand recollects and shares his best reward — it was when Sir Mark Tully, a former bureau in chief of BBC, called his picture of a group of Nigerians showing their own style of devotion to the sacred river Ganga, a ‘million dollar picture’.