Choosing not to embark on the mundane regular job, Dr. Hareesh N. Nampoothiri, a design consultant by profession and an art lover by obsession, he has chosen an alternative career path which is multi-disciplinary blurring the borders art and technology.
Born to V Narayanan Nampoothiri and M. Savithri Devi (Retired Professor of SD College Alappuzha and Retired Canara Bank offical respectively) in 1991, Dr. Hareesh N. Nampoothiri is a visual design consultant by profession and by passion, he is an art connoisseur, author, writer, photographer, editor, lyricist and director, all rolled into one. This multi-facted personality has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Kerala in an inter-disciplinary topic between faculties of Applied Science and arts. But, before that, he completed his formal education from Government LP School at Kalarcode and HS Thiruvampadi in Pazhaveedu. Hareesh also holds a Masters in Computer Applications. Currently, living in the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Dr. Hareesh is married to Deepa Sankar M.P., who is working in Canara Bank. Harish’s sister, Sreedevi N. Nampoothiry is a Medical Officer in Ayurveda.
Dr. Hareesh has embarked on a slew of projects. He is promoting a venture called NEWNMEDIA, offering digital solutions. Besides that the multi-talented Hareesh has also launched another venture, Haree Fotografie (facebook.com/haree.fotografie), providing photography services. Apart from that, he has also launched a publication of Artograph, a bi-monthly e-magazine focusing on dance, music and arts and he is also the Editor in Chief of the magazine. In addition to his passion for photography and acumen for technology, Dr. Hareesh is also passionate about literature, as he has authored three books in his native language of Malayalam during a span of last 15 years and the last book being a title on digital photography published by State Institute of Languages, Government of Kerala. Hareesh is also equally at ease with English as well. He is a regular columnist on arts, photography, technology and film in different print and online media.
Dr. Hareesh’s foray in the realm of film world was through directing a documentary film on Kathakali, titled: Thouryathrikam. Later, he has also directed and edited a slew of educational and informative videos for IGNOU and the University of Kerala. Furthermore, Dr. Hareesh has also come up with a gamut of song videos, profile videos and promo videos for various institutions and individuals. Dr. Hareesh has also penned a few songs in Malayalam besides taking active role in developing some of the multi-media titles produce by the State Institute of Languages.
Dr. Hareesh focuses more on taking pictures of performing artists. His works have been featured many renowned publications such as Clicks of the Trade in Melange section of The Hindu the Saturday edition of Metro Plus on July 2, 2016 and Poetry in Motion, featured in the central spread of Sunday Chronicle of June 5, 10`6 issue of the Deccan Chronicle, the weekly national magazine. Other exhibits include Art and Alchemy Photography Exhibition 2017, Soorya India in Thiruvananthapuram; PhotoSTOP Photo Contest 2015 Exhibition held in Bangalore; SPANDAN ’14 Photo Exhibition on Dance at IHC in New Delhi; PhotoSTOP Photo Contest in 2014 in Chennai; Drisyam ’10 Roerich Art Gallery in Thiruvananthapuram; Drisyam ’09 held at Museum Auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram and Drisyam ’08 held at Durbar Hall Art Centre in Ernakulam
Dr. Hareesh’s latest photo exhibition was held in Kochi recently. Titled: Nrityascapes, the exhibition featured the photographs of Indian Classical Dances, captured by him. The event, which was jointly organised by Kalandhika Cultural Society and Kalandhika School of Dance as part of Kalandhika National Festival 2019 (Kalandhika National Fest ’19), the four-day long exhibition starting on April 28 at Kerala Fine Arts Society Hall in Kochi and concluding on May 1. Reaction on the success of the exhibition, Dr. Hareesh says, “We must say that the past four days were more than thrilling and back when we look at it, feels proud to present some of the most talented and vibrant performers from across the country at Kochi. The guests such as Abhishek Raguram, Neelamana Sisters, Neena Prasad, Parshwanath S Upadhye; Pratheeksha Kashi; Sheela Unni’s Sridevi Nrithyalaya; Sheejith Krishna’s Sahrdaya Foundation, Guru Bhanumathi; Renjith and Vijna and I.”
In a free-wheeling chat with the Editor of The Indian News, Jayashankar Menon, Dr. Hareesh speaks about the nuances and challenges of photography. Excerpts:
TIN: Can you elaborate as to how you started the art of photography?
HN: I always had a fascination towards colours and images right from my childhood. That is how I got fascinated with Kathakali and my love for the art form started from the ‘Aniyara’ (the place where the artists put their chutty or make-up) and not from the stage. My dad had an old film camera and I started clicking with that during my school days. And while I was in college, I fancied clicking using a mobile cam. But they all remained just some casual shots. Later, when I started a blog on Kathakali a decade back [kaliyarangu.blogspot.in/], I started clicking using a bridge camera, so that images could accompany the text. I had a few friends working in media and they helped me to get a start. It was then I started taking photography seriously and over the years moved on to an entry-level DSLR and then to a pro-range gear. As I had more opportunities for writing on dance, not just Kathakali but other forms as well, my passion for clicking also grew. As I wrote technical articles on photography and post-processing and later a book, I was able to gain the technical know-how as well. Appreciations came from some of the most accomplished dancers and that helped me to gain confidence. For me, it is always the performers who actually inspire me to take good pictures. If a dancer is performing well, naturally it will make my photographs better and if it is not their day, it is not rare for me to end up with less fascinating images.
TIN: What were the typical challenges you faced during the initial stages of picking up nuances of photography?
HN: We all know, Classical Dance forms have a limited audience and it is the case with dance photography as well if we compare with other streams of photography. And often the attention goes to the performer and not the photograph itself. However, as some may assume, it is not that easy. Capturing from live stage performances has its own set of challenges. Knowing the dance form, the style of the performer(s) on stage and having some idea of what’s happening on the stage is what really makes dance photographs meaningful, the way I see it. Capturing something of that sort, meeting all the technical qualities of a good photograph and also making sure that the artist/art is presented in good light is what actually makes me delighted.
TIN: Also, throw more light on the post-processing aspect of photography?
HN: When it comes to digital photography, the photographer has to be familiar with post-processing as well to be more effective. It is not unusual, especially in Kerala, to be on a venue with poor lighting or bad stage setting. It poses some additional challenges to the dance photographers to click and then post process their images so that these shortcomings don’t really show up in the final image. But, at the same time, it should not be like everything will be done in post-processing. There need to be a balance and the aim should be to capture the scene in a meaningful way that it could go to the final stage with minimal post-processing applied. It may not be possible every time, but this is what I aim each time I take my camera and start shooting a dance event.
TIN: What is the equipment that you currently use?
HN: I have Canon 7D Mark II as the primary camera. In addition to that I also have a secondary equipment that is Sony a6300. The main lenses I possess include Tamron SP 70-200 f2.8, Canon EF-S 15-85 f3.5-5.6 and Sony Vario-Tessar E 16-70 f/4.