Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Work: The Art of Kathakali




One of the highlights of my Oracles of Kerala Photo Expedition-Workshop this past March was spending half a day at a Kathakali school near Thrissur, and documenting the preparations and performance of this ancient art. It was totally distinct from the usual superficial performances shown at the various tourist hotels, and the professionalism of the performers was breathtaking. Apart from the talent of the performers, I was especially struck by the singing which you hear on this "photo-film".

Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world, and originated in Kerala. It's a group production, in which actors-dancers take various roles in performances based on themes from Hindu mythology, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The elaborate make up sessions often take longer than the performances themselves, and follow a certain ritual.

I chose to process the photographs in sepia (DxO Labs), which were made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Leica M9, with the ambient audio recording on a Tascam DR40.

You can also watch it in HD on Vimeo.