Through the lens, smartly

San Francisco-based Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan makes his mark as a photojournalist as well as a commercial cinematograper

Published: 03rd September 2019 06:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2019 06:41 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Calvin Klein. Burger King. Harley Davidson. Poof. These are just a few brands which Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan has worked for. Or rather, made the brands appealing to you and me. Having developed commercials for the above brands and more, Unnikrishnan has over a thousand creations which comprise photography, commercial videos and short films, and awards under his belt. 


This Kochi native won the Platinum Award for the Best Cinematography at the European Independent Film Awards this year for the film ‘DNA’, which was produced by Amazon Prime. Based in San Francisco, Unnikrishnan has donned several hats, ranging from a photographer to a photojournalist, then to editorial commercial photography, finally sticking to cinematography. 

“I was more focused on photography initially, but then my clients told me that I should probably do more video work. That way, everything falls under one roof both, in terms of business and for the client,” says the cinematographer who’s been in the field for 12 years.

Unnikrishnan completed his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Documentary and Multimedia Journalism from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, after which he interned as a photography assistant and digital technician under popular photographer Colin Finlay. 

In 2010, Unnikrishnan served as a freelance photographer in the India division of the Lonely Planet Magazine. His photography documentaries such as ‘Gotham Lives’, ‘Maya-Mexico’, and ‘American Dreams’ were featured in the magazine. Additionally, he published ‘Magnitude 7.0’, a photography project that focused on the 2010 Haitian earthquake. 

When questioned if he’d honestly prefer commercial cinematography over photojournalism, Unnikrishnan pauses to think. “Photojournalism is story-based. There is freedom, but in terms of creativity, it’s a yes and a no. In the former, there are a lot of boundaries to be kept with a client,” he says. What makes him different from the other commercial cinematographers though? “My background in graphic design. People have said I have a strong design sense,” he says. 

Unnikrishnan is also an O-1 visa holder. This is a nonimmigrant visa granted to an individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the arts, business, education, sciences or athletics and has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry along with being nationally and internationally recognised. 

When Unnikrishnan was asked about his favourite piece of work, he said, “None. I want to do something better and more. I’m not very interested in showing off.” Probably he prefers his work to speak for himself? “Yes, you could say that,” he adds.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp