Tag Archives: Photography

nostalgia ~ Paper or Me!

It’s a fact that a middle-class TamBrahm householder’s day starts with a piping hot cup of strong filter Kaapi aka decoction coffee (coffee extract from a proportionate mix of ground coffee powder & chicory, mixed with boiled milk and sugar) and a mandatory reading of The Hindu (and / or DhinamaNi – தினமணி). 

This remains true, even today – especially in smaller towns like Madurai, Trichy, etc, as life in the Metro, aka huge cosmopolitan cities with monstrosities called vertical residential communities (apartment towers), faraway workplaces needing hours long commute and always-in-a-tearing-hurry people have no resonance with the typically slow-paced, mild-mannered ways of the – mostly retired, now – middle-class TamBrahm elders. 

The elder in this pic is Swamy Sr (Thiru M. Ramaswamy, retired CTO – Commercial Tax Officer – of the Tamilnadu government), who was active in government service then (circa 1997). Having completed his daily morning walk (a healthy trait he must’ve acquired from his father, i.e. Swamy’s grandfather, which he diligently adhered to, from time immemorial) and sipped the hot cuppa (there’s practically no limit to the number of cups, during the course of a day, any day) offered by daughter-in-law No.1 aka Mrs. Swamy, he’s on to the 3rd part of his daily morning routine – reading The Hindu and DhinamaNi (தினமணி). The Times of India hasn’t realised the market potential of news loving Tamilians then, so the only English newspapers were The Hindu & The Indian Express. 

The totally zen baby, resting on his lap is Swamy Jr (Akash PC Iyer, who eventually became a professional Chess player of international repute), who apparently must’ve seen his father – Swamy himself, obviously – maintaining a respectful distance from his father (the Canon P&S digital camera had a 3x optical zoom!) and must’ve been pondering the question “Do you want the Paper or Me appA!” 

Oh btw, Swamy Sr is more of a cool elder, not one of those stereotypes, featured in Tamil novels (oh, those were the good times when the abomination known as nedunthodar TV serials haven’t yet been created). The origin of the ethics & values of Life that Swamy‘s acquaintances may’ve observed in Swamy, is none other than Swamy Sr aka CTO Sir, a self-made man, and a wonderful human. No wonder Swamy Jr keenly looked forward to his morning rest time, in the lap of his gentle grampa, blissfully unaware of the big-bad world that he was born in, whose horrible happenings are featured in the pages of the newspaper that his ThAthA (grandfather) was reading!

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy 

nostalgia is the new Swamygraphy© series, for old time(r)s’ sake. 

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nostalgia ~ Before Selfie!

nostalgia5

Before the Smartphones came into existence…

Before the love-hate phenomenon called Selfie was invented…

the only way to take a Selfie – individual or group (wonder what was it called then!) – is to set the timer of a camera, focus on the subjects (Mrs & Jr Swamy in this case, with space left on the right for Swamy), press the shutter, run like hell and take the place, pose and pray the focus didn’t change before the shot was taken! Now imagine doing this with a film camera :O

Anyway, this pre-Selfie era group selfie (is it Groupie!) was taken using a Canon Digital Point & Shoot camera (bought at a duty free shop in Changi airport, during one of Swamy’s business trips) whose resolution was…

hold your breath… and puhleeeze don’t laugh hysterically…

5 megapixels!

Though Mr & Mrs Swamy are posing with their megawatt smile, hoping to get the shot right (who knows how many iterations it took), Jr in the middle (must’ve been only a few months old) must’ve been really wondering “Why is Dad running and falling near me.. again & again.. when Mom is quietly lying down beside me, frowning & smiling, alternatively?”

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

nostalgia is the new Swamygraphy series by Swamy for old time(r)s’ sake!

nostalgia ~ 2×2 Brothers!

Just like any craft, photography is fun too. While in this DSLR age, anybody who can afford a camera can start their photog journey with the help of a multitude of online courses & ‘how to’ visual guides, in the good ol’ days of film SLR, every trick of the trade was learned by trial & error. Until the film is developed & printed (Swamy used to always print two sets of pretty much every film roll, so one of them could be sent back to his parents & younger brothers in Madurai), it’s practically impossible to know the result of any experiment. 

The models in this pic are Swamy‘s youngest brothers Prasanna (@prachastudios) & Bhaskar. Yep, just the two of them, twice over, in the same frame. No digital editing (which can simply be done on a smartphone these days) & no other gimmick, other than using a filter (screwed on the lens) to expose the same film twice. The outcome depends heavily on stability of the camera (tripod & remote shutter release are a must), the background (key is to find a point of merger – of the two parts) & of course, Lighting. 

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy 

nostalgia is the new Swamygraphy© series for old time(r)s’ sake. 

nostalgia ~ Chiselled with Light!

nostalgia ~ Chiselled with Light!

Photography is all about light. Being a nature / landscape photographer, Swamy rarely takes portraits of fellow humans (unlike his younger brother in this pic – on the right – who is passionately into Portrait photography). But during the learning years, like any keen learner, he would hardly miss an opportunity to frame any subject, Chiselled with Light. 

The two cute kids in the pic are Swamy‘s younger brothers Bhaskar (#5, an eligible bachelor) & Prasanna (#4, the pro Portrait photog of Pracha Studios). They’re naturally lit by the evening sunlight, flowing through the twin windows in the hall (at the home where Swamy lived during his graduation & early work years).

Though the brothers obviously enjoyed getting photographed by their big brother (Swamy is the eldest of 5 brothers), they must’ve really been wondering as to why they’re looking away from the camera instead of looking at it!

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy


nostalgia is the new Swamygraphy© series, for old time(r)s’ sake 

Nostalgia ~ Studio Portraits in the ’70s

Everybody’s a photog today. Even if they don’t have a sophisticated DSLR or compact camera, they’re always armed with the ubiquitous Smartphone, which lets them shoot for (& share… like crazy) Warhol’s Millennial version of fame – 15 seconds! 

But there used to be a time, when families went to studios, to get memorable portraits of individuals & families made (the rich got the studio to visit their home – they probably still do), which will invariably be framed like this one & preserved for generations. 

The immortal souls in this pic, taken most probably in the small South Indian town of Dindigul, in the ’70s, are Swamy aka @PrakashSwamy & his bro #2 (of 5) Ravi Ramaswamy, who is two years younger. Swamy Sr. might even recall the name of the studio & the photog, when he sees this wonderfully lit pic, though Swamy’s pro photog bro Prasanna Ramaswamy of Pracha Studios (#4 of 5) may’ve an opinion or two about the composition. 

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

nostalgia is the new Swamygraphy© series, for old time(r)s’ sake 

Nostalgia! ~ Pixseries, for old time(r)s’ sake

“Nostalgia” 💭 ~ a new pixseries, looking back into enchanting slivers of time, through the Swamygraphy lens 📷 (did ya know Swamy used to be a serious amateur, who spent a fortune 💸on photography equipment 📸📹🎞 & even got fab ratings online👍, in the film SLR era👻, when platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, et al didn’t even exist 🤗 & even Google was relatively unknown as Yahoo was the King🔱) – not for reliving the past 📟📻📺(which is like willingly adding to the already humongous pile of karmA😒) but to let go of the long gone, yet still cherished, past, 👋 once & for all (umm.. twice, may be 😜)
~Swamy 

@PrakashSwamy 

The Moment!

Photography is all about capturing a fleeting moment, i.e., slice of Life, that can be seen, remembered & cherished forever. Here are a few examples of such moments captured by Swamy, over years!

Play1. Swamy Jr., aka, Akash. PC. Iyer, reacting to his sand castle being washed away by a wave. This fleeting moment of the would be GrandMaster (he’s a professional Chess player of some repute) is that of pure joy, marveling at the wave’s magnificence instead of ruing the demolition of his sand creation!

Mother2. Whenever Swamy accompanies Jr. for tournaments, there’ll be ample time in hand during rounds that Swamy typically uses to read or observe + capture precious moments of Life. Here’s one such when a puppy kept suckling at its mom, who despite being in a hurry, kept stalling its movement time and again for its baby to get nourished.

Curiosity3. Swamy’s younger daughter Maggy – a German Spitz – is one utterly fearless and absolutely curious being. Among the umpteen amusing things she does – including but not limited to jumping on and resting on the dining table – the most enchanting one is peeping through the balcony, marveling at all and sundry around SwamyHome!

Monk_and_Cats4. During the trip to Sri Lanka, along with Swamy Jr. for Asian Chess Championship, Swamy used to roam around the quaint little seaside town of Hikkaduwa on a daily basis. He found this young Buddhist monk in a nearby Buddha Vihara, i.e., monastery (Buddhism, which originated in India is, widely practiced in nearby Sri Lanka) and connected with him talking about everything from the ethnic conflict to tsunami to the frugal & regulated Life of a monk to his aspiration to visit Bodh Gaya (where Gautama, the Buddha’s enlightenment happened – a must visit sacred place for Buddhists) someday. Among the many beings that have been cared for in the monastery were a few kittens (there were also rabbits, dogs, monkeys, cows and a variety of birds) and those tiny little beings (the pencil & key chain on the floor should give an idea about how tiny) weren’t shy about snuggling up to the young monk! Interestingly, the monastery also had a shrine for popular Tamizh God Lord Muruga (also known as Karthikeya, Subrahmanya, Skanda, Kumara, etc.), the younger son of Adiyogi Lord Shiva & Devi Parvati, who’s known and worshiped as Kathirgama (pronounced like Katheragama in Sinhalese) in Sri Lanka – by ethnic minority Tamizh people, majority Sinhalese & tribal Veddars.