Walking around and photographying Mattancherry, I hoped to document something of its ‘sense and place’. This, to me, had largely to do with two things: how the spatial qualities of the town become sense experiences, and how those spaces are imprinted with people’s presence. Mattancherry had many such features-- the fleeting shifts in visual perspectives as one moves through built spaces, the blurring of public-private boundaries, text displays on walls, the presence of a marine waterfront right behind the busy bazaar road and so on. Not unlike other old settlements, the link between people and environment always appeared to be a two-way affair. This affirmation of human geography made up a large part of my experience of this town.
In these photos, I focussed on 3 visual motifs: One was description, as in a landscape view of things. The second was surface detail-- the textures, shadows, marks, graphical & textual-signs-- rendered rich by a patina that mark weather and geography. And third, the idea that reading of detail up- close could complement the viewing of the whole image from a few feet away.
Ramu Aravindan is a graphic designer and photographer. He runs Landeater Design, a consultancy for visual documentation and communication design projects. His work in photography is largely documentary oriented, focusing on places, landscape and culture and his images have featured in many publications and design projects. Ramu did his MFA in photography from the University of Calgary after graduating in visual communication from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.