You're looking at something within, within a box, and what you see is what you get, right? So if you want to be thinking differently, then look within that lens and see how you can see something different that nobody else has seen. That is the only thing. Otherwise, there's nothing else. It's all about kindness. It's all about love for the world which gives you happiness.
Hello, beautiful people. Welcome to episode 32 of Photo Country. This is a show by a photographer for photographers. And I'm your, host Rajeev. I have been talking to artists, image makers, and creators around the world. And it is really fascinating to me how each individual approaches the art in their own unique way.
Our guest today is no different. He's a writer, poet, ad man and an iPhone photographer from Chennai India. He is none other than Ravindran Solomon. Ravi solo to all his friends. He is a visual poet, weaving words with pixels.
My association with Ravi goes back to when both of us were students. I was in the final years of high school, while he was a graduate student of English Literature at The American College, Madurai. Incidentally, he was my father’s (Prof. R. Nedumaran) student as well.
In some ways, he has been my mentor as well. He gave my first break into the creative world when I interned at Mudra Communications, an ad agency where he was a copywriter.
I have been following his journey as a creative person and I am a big fan of the verses he writes along with his photographs. I have attempted my own sometimes, inspired by his feed!
All journeymen gone,
I am a scrapped plan
craving the surf’s slap
and the pinch of salt.
Like many of us, who grew up with not many resources available to us, Ravi’s journey started with a camera called Hotshot. It was a long thin film camera, very popular those days. For many, it was our first introduction to photography.
When the smartphone came in he gravitated toward smaller subjects. His first Instagram pic was a caterpillar.
When the mobile phone came in, it wasn't the large canvases that I was looking for. I had a Samsung to begin with. It wasn't a large canvasses, I was looking at. I was shooting those little, little things. Something really close up. I mean, obviously, I mean, with those cameras, you can't shoot, you know, huge can like. The small things always fascinate me. One little quirk here on a little quirk there. It could be a caterpillar on a leaf.
The rumbling sea foams in rage
The bird whips through the wind
The man trudges, mulling the moment
When Dragonflies show how it is done
He is a bilingual writer; writing in both English and in his mother tongue, Tamil. I believe this is his greatest strength, the ability to communicate in both, he is able to reach a larger audience.
You get a picture. Sometimes the picture has itself the drama, but sometimes there is no drama. Then I write something to compliment the whole thing and, you know, add drama to it. So that is the fun with my writing skills.
C’mon then, let’s go for a ride
the night is young and so are we.
C’mon then, let’s swing it right
dusk is preening for us to see.
C’mon then, let’s paint it bright
there’s a million colours to go.
C’mon then, let’s go for a ride
like children on a rainbow!
Ravi Solo has come up with his own version of the Haiku for his visual poetry. He calls it the imago. These are four liners with five syllables in each line. He developed this format when he couldn’t shoot. So, his imagos describes to the reader what he is seeing. Here is one:
A thousand thoughts hang
in the closet space
waiting to be worn -
cloth hooks of my mind.
If you have come this far, dear reader, I am immensely pleased! It was a pleasant and refreshing conversation that I had with Ravi. I beseeched him with a request to do a photo book of his poems and visuals in 2023. And if you like poetry, do listen to Prof. R. Nedumaran’s poetry readings. (Full Disclaimer: it is a shameless plug for my illustrious father’s podcast!)
Thank you Ravi for coming on this podcast. I think no one has ever put it so eloquently on why photographers do what they do. Thank you for that awesome closing monologue.
You can follow Ravi's words and imagery on his Instagram feed- Ravisolo. I hope you all liked this conversation, as much as I did bringing it to you. Please do share this podcast with someone, who you think will enjoy it as well.
Do consider subscribing to this little newsletter of mine! As always thank you for listening. Till we meet in the next episode, stay safe, be kind and keep clicking.