CHENNAI: There are some stereotypes in the city that never seem to die. For instance, the classic stereotype of a madisaar maami — a middle-aged or older woman draped in a silk saree and wearing malli poo (jasmine), who also puts excellent kolams and makes filter kaapi. Well, here’s one maami who is no lesser than any ‘cool’ teenager. Meet Sripriya Ayyangar, a housewife-turned-photographer. City Express caught up with her at Confluence 2016, a photo exhibition held recently by Photographic Society of Madras (PSM).
Greeting spectators and explaining the technicalities of her photographs that were on display, Sripriya was visibly excited. “I had visited Lalit Kala Akademi for a different exhibition and always wondered if my photographs would ever adorn the walls here. This is like a dream come true,” she beams.
A homemaker for two decades, Sripriya was bitten by the shutter-bug when she decided to do something that would amplify her creativity. “I was interested in teaching and taught tiny-tots for a while. My main focus was to spend some quality time for myself and I decided to sketch,” she goes on, “But I wanted to do something that’s instant and chose photography…or I wonder if photography chose me,” she quips.
In 2013, Sripriya acquainted herself with Lakshmana Iyer, a versatile photographer and learnt the nuances of the art and some eternally valid concepts. “I contacted him through FB and he was kind enough to teach me everything he knew,” she smiles.
Since then there has been no turning back for Sripriya and she ritually goes out on the road and clicks photos every day after finishing her daily chores. “I used to finish cooking and go out and shoot to train myself. It has been four years now,” she shares.
The whole family backing her goals, she credits her 85-year-old father-in-law to be one of the most supportive people in her life. “I love street and event photography. My father-in-law keeps pushing me to go to kutcheris during margazhi season and take pictures,” she smiles.
The proud owner of a canon 110D, she says she started with a 60D. “I owned a 60D and it froze while I was shooting an event. My husband later bought a new camera and right now, I own every other lens and have upgraded to an 85mm lens. I even bought some studio light recently,” she shares enthusiastically.
Talking about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, Sripriya has one dream. “I am from Nanganallur and there’s no proper studio for women. I want to set an exclusive studio for women. That’s a goal I want to achieve in two years,” she says.
Adding that she is interested in shooting and documenting about transgender, she shares, “It’s something I’ve been thinking about. I am sure I’ll execute it soon.”