In Senti-mental (2005 - 2010), a series with 100 images done by Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad, fragments of psychedelic colors and memories trap inside a kaleidoscope. To create this beautiful set of hybrid images, Abul Kalam Azad collected old, discarded bromide prints/negatives from commercial studios, antique shops and old markets of South India. These chiseled moments from the South Indian analog memory lane blends with the magic touch of digital manipulation gaining a sheek, contemporary look. The gaze, pose and firm grip of the studio photographs are a reminder of the colonial fear. The comfortable and relaxed poses and the fearless gaze of the images Abul has shot and included in the series signifies the levels of popularity and affinity that this medium has gained over the decades. Time and again, history has proved that ideas that may not be valued at certain periods may be lost/forgotten, only to be valued again, sometime in the future.
Dravidian family, from the Senti-Mental series
Abul Kalam Azad is a visual artist based in India. Abul’s photographic works are predominantly autobiographical, and they explore the areas of politics, culture, micro-history, gender, and eroticism.
His works attempt a re-reading of contemporary Indian history – the history in which ordinary people are absent and are mainly represented through beautiful images and icons.
During the early 90s, for a brief period, he worked as a photojournalist with leading National/International agencies including the Press Trust of India. Mid-90s, he renounced his journalism career to become an independent artist.
Besides, Azad’s maverick and pioneer experimental hybrid art that blends different styles and techniques pushes the boundaries of contemporary Indian photographic art practice.
His current projects focus on a search inside South Indian maritime history and connected cultures, inspired by ancient literature, folklore, and rituals. His works have been exhibited in prestigious museums/galleries in India and abroad since the mid-90s. He is the recipient of various awards that includes Charles Wallace Award, French Government Scholarship award, Govt. of India’s Senior Art Fellowship, and India Foundation for the Arts Grant.
Abul Kalam Azad is the founder of Ekalokam Trust for Photography, a non-profit foundation committed to creating, protecting and sharing contemporary photography and other allied art forms. He also extends his services as Editor-in-Chief of Photo Mail, an online photo-art magazine.