Fort Kochi owes its grace and old-world ambience to its heritage buildings and cosmopolitan lifestyle. At different times in its history, three European powers, the Portugues, Dutch, and the British had occupied the area for centuries. All of them left indelible marks on Fort Kochi’s geography and culture and made significant contributions to art and architecture. Here is an icecream seller, engaged deep in a dialogue with another person, in front of one such iconic building. This image was taken in the year 1990 by Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad using medium format analogue camera. 

Icecream Seller, Fort Kochin 1990

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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.