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Vol. XXXIII No. 24, April 1-15, 2024

Holi in UP as seen by a Chennai photographer

To those active on social media, young Srivatsan Sankaran is a sensation. He has evolved into a travel photographer and photography educator for the deaf. Despite being hard of hearing, he has travelled to 200+ destinations and covered 50+ festivals. He expresses his feelings through photography which helps to connect him with the world. He was selected and his work exhibited as that of a Change Maker at the WHO campus on the occasion of World Hearing Day 2023. He is also a brand influencer of Sony Alpha cameras. He runs a growing community called the Madras Photo Bloggers Foundation that aims at creating a platform for deaf artists/photographers to showcase their talents. This was established in March 2016 to benefit the deaf community on a large scale.

More than a 100 deaf students have been trained in Photography. They now work in various organizations across Chennai. Srivatsan Sankaran has received numerous awards and recognitions for his good work.
He was recently in North India to cover the festival of Holi. Those who have experienced this event will know what a riot of colours and noise it can be. Srivatsan Sankaran writes thus of his experience–

“As a deaf photographer capturing Holi, I never rely on a hearing aid due to its lack of waterproof capabilities. Despite this challenge, I have successfully captured the true essence of the festival by immersing myself in the imaginative audio and vibrant atmosphere. Navigating through the crowds and water-filled scenes requires careful risk assessment, all the while staying attuned to the underlying silence amidst the chaos. Visual cues become my guiding light, helping me anticipate movements and make informed decisions about where to focus my lens.

Although there are moments that elude my camera’s capture, I persist with unwavering determination, working tirelessly to comprehensively cover the festival’s diverse range of experiences. It is a challenging endeavour, but one that I wholeheartedly embrace as a conscious choice. Embracing the absence of auditory stimuli, I intensify my focus on the vibrant colors, the fluid movements of dancers, and the expressions of pure joy on participants’ faces.

Every year, I approach Holi with renewed enthusiasm, eager to unveil hidden moments and weave them into a tapestry of visual narratives. The festival’s pulsating atmosphere becomes my muse, igniting my experimentation with different angles, compositions, and lighting conditions to convey the richness and depth of this extraordinary celebration.

While the challenges I face as a deaf photographer during Holi are undeniable, the rewards far outweigh them. Through my lens, I offer a unique perspective that transcends the limitations of sound and embraces the power of visual storytelling. My photographs stand as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the beauty of cultural traditions, and the unifying force of joy and celebration.”

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  1. Srinivas says:

    Glowing eyeful frozen in time and emblazoned on your pages

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