KOCHI: Light and darkness are polar opposites. But they are Anoop Upasana’s best friends. To express his views on contemporary issues, the self-taught artist creates caricature - style artworks using light painting photography. As the name suggests, light painting photography is a form of art in which a portable light is used as a tool to draw or sketch while the camera’s shutter is left open during a long exposure photograph. “In this technique, the space in the frame is the canvas and the light is the medium,” says Anoop.
Hailing from Erumad in the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu, Anoop got into light painting two years ago. “Wanting to do something different, I have been exploring the aesthetic side of photography. Once I got acquainted with light painting, I realised not many were into this technique, although it is not a novel concept,” says Anoop.
One reason is because of the difficulty and tediousness that goes into creating an artwork. “It’s a frustrating art form; it requires a lot of patience and concentration. In a dark setting, you are sketching with a torchlight and you don’t know where your strokes are. It is all about remembering the previous moves. And you have to start all over if there is even a tiny mistake. You only see the final result in the camera,” says Anoop.
Having been perfecting his sketches since the past two years, the artist has found a way around this uncertainty. “The camera shutter closes in 15 to 20 seconds. The artwork has to be completed before that. To make the process relatively easier, I mark the positions on the floor. There is an order to sketch everything. My breathing is also controlled and synchronised to get everything in the frame before the shutter closes. What comes to my advantage is that I am left-handed, but can still make art with both hands,” says Anoop. The rest requires daily practice.
The most popular works by Anoop are the images of the 2018 flood. “These are still alive in every Malayali’s heart,” he says. The artist is currently planning to hold an exhibition soon. “I hope to create more such artworks soon and continue exploring the field,” he says.
Anoop’s tryst with art began in his childhood. His father NK Sasidharan was an artist. “I haven’t learnt the art from any teacher but it was an integral part of my life,” he says. Later in life, he took up photography professionally. “It’s been close to a decade since I have been in the field of photography,” says Anoop. Though he mostly does portfolio shoots, he has also done the stills for the Malayalam films Popcorn, Seconds and Olappeeppi.