|The Spiritual Globe-Trotter...|
With a background of four decades in photographing the myriad faces of Kerala, Ashok Koshy sets a new benchmark in the art of travel photography.
He has gathered a series of images that capture the diversity of the photographer’s work. Having traveled the region vastly, apart from experiences, Ashok has gained a series of masterpieces that have been documented with historical flair. His work is an ode to the artistry of India – be it the delicate forms of nature or the intense dance forms; the soaring and awe inspiring coastal architecture of Kerala or the temple elephants. Ashok’s elegant and personal tone in the images he shoots sets his work apart. He shares his vibrant journey with Smart Photography :
How were you first introduced to photography? What determined the shift to travel photography?
My early years at Lawrence School, Lovedale, was when I initially experienced photography. Back then it was mostly Black and White. We used to have an ancient camera and a make shift BxW photo lab, and those interested in photography were welcome to experiment in their spare time. I maintained no interest in photography while at school. After graduation I got to spend time at home, which is when I began testing my mother’s camera - an old Voigtlander and used it to photograph life around me. I then had a local lab process and print them on normal grade paper.
Once I joined Elphinstone college, I traveled around India to savor the freedom and this helped me in learning more about our culture and way of life. The feeling you derive from recording your travels is inexplicable. In the early seventies, I shifted base to London and worked as an apprentice with renowned photographer, Adrian Flowers. That is where I learned photography and the how-to of lights, as well as the massive impact you have as a photographer to capture images that may live across generations. Moreover, with Adrian I got to work on many major corporate assignments. The most memorable ones are Benson and Hedges campaigns, photographing Sir John Geilgud at the Museum of Mankind, Pink Floyd - Knebworth concert in 75 DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, Peter Sellers for the Olympus camera advertisements, etc.
To top this all, I was working in one of the best studios in England. I was involved mainly in studio work and E6 processing labs, with all the 8x10 inches, and 5x4 inches large format Sinar equipment, besides the 120mm format Hasselblads and 35 mm Nikons. He had a wonderful color lab and all the equipment required for processing and printing. To work and study under him gave me different insights, and the technical knowledge to confidently record the stories of travel.
Once you have decided your subject, how do you prepare yourself for the shoot?
Single mindedness is the essence to be able to maintain focus. Every day you decide what you want and how you are going to reach that goal.
It is the nature of a genius to be able to grasp the knowable, even when no one else recognizes its presence. There are efforts and results and the strength of the effort which is measured only by the results. Most of my photos are based on the quality of light available, and it is only when you fathom the value of life you derive the faith to do what is right. For that you need to be agile, supple and alert and responsive to change.