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Subeesh Yuva’s photography exhibition at Lalitha Kala Academy, Kozhikode

Photographing the Irulas: Young photographer Subeesh Yuva

Subeesh Yuva is an upcoming photographer based in Kozhikode. He enjoys traveling and is a passionate portrait and street photographer. Earlier, he had worked as a designer and an editor. His recent exhibition, CAMERA KOKEL SEARING FLAMES, was showcased at the Lalitha Kala Academy, Calicut, between 24th and 31st March 2021. The show featured his photographs of the Irula community in Attapady. Here is an exclusive interview with Subeesh.

Tell us about yourself, Subeesh?
I am a Keralite from Payyoli, Calicut. I was an editor and a designer professionally. Now, I am pursuing photography as a freelance and event photographer. Once I understood the subtle ways of capturing life and art with my camera, photographing has become my meaning of life. For me, taking the correct picture of what I have in mind is something magical. So yes, I want to be labeled as a photographer.

What do you express through photography?
Life. I am a student of life. And I capture anything I find enthusiastic in life. It’s like reality caught in my frames. Photography is my tool and revolution. My documentation of the Irula community is my protest against whomever it may concern for their negligence, looting, and disrespect for a community at the edge of extinction.

Is this your first exhibition?
No, I have done a group exhibition called Penn Adayalam (Women Identity). It was a group show of five photographers. It was also at the Lalithakala Academy, Calicut, during the Women’s day celebrations.

What is your focus?
Mostly portraits that show spectacular emotions. I also like Street Photography. I prefer taking color photographs because I think it is a good way of capturing a moment, a humanistic perception.

I have heard that you have received several awards?
Yes. I have received 11 awards related to photography. I was also happy to get a State award.

Please explain your exhibition featuring Irulas?
During my travels, I happened to be with the Irulas of Attapaddi. I was touched and felt sympathy for them by seeing their present situation. They live in 198 urukals (village or settlement). I visited around twenty settlements. They have a wonderful way of life. The social hierarchy is good even though they never mix up with the society. They have trouble fitting into new lifestyles. I lived with them for a while and understood their life and problems. People should see this, and they have to be protected. I realized it is up to me to tell the world about it. This is my silent protest.

Can you tell me about Irulas?
They are a tribal community living in Attappadi.

Any new projects?
My camera is ever alive, so I am always looking forward to new projects. I will be concentrating more on social issues.

By Rahul Menon | Published on July 31, 2021


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