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A new perspective on our city

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THE name Abhi Indrarajan is one that many in Durban’s entertainment and arts industry are familiar with.

Indrarajan is respected in journalistic circles for his news photographs, he is considered a hot property corporate photographer and businessman and he is enormously artistic.

But it is his latest

project www.durbanphotography. com, which has got tongues wagging.

And his subject matter comes as no surprise seeing as Abhi is obviously passionate about South Africa, and more particularly, Durban.

What most people don’t know about Abhi is that he is Sri Lankan.

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“I’m originally from Sri Lanka, although I worked and studied in the Middle East, India, England, Canada, the US, Mexico and the Bahamas… I first landed in the country (South Africa) in 2 000 as a volunteer. I came back on a holiday because of all the friends I met here. Then I came back in 2001 to pursue a life of education with photography.

“Completing my National Diploma in Photography, I went on to complete my BTech in Fine Art, specialising in photography. And the rest, you can say, is history.”

In a country where we are often surrounded by pessimistic views of our future, it may seem strange that Abhi chose to settle in South Africa.

“The main thing that attracted me here was the perfect blend of the infrastructure of the West and the people’s mindset of the East… The infrastructure would be the South Africa part… the mindset would be the Durban part,” he laughs.

So when and why did he start working on www.durbanphotography.com?

“The Durban photography site was thought of by name in 2011. It first came up as a strategic way to get work for myself with Google hits. For example, if you’re from Joburg or Cape Town and you’re looking for a photographer in Durban, you would generally type the words Durban photography. Well, put those two together, and you get ‘durbanphotography’, hence I decided to reserve that name,” he explains.

“Having not used the site for over a year, a few months ago I started planning to do a wire service with some friends, for photography and video in Durban… well, that lasted for about a month. The problem with trying to get other people involved is that everyone’s passion for a site needs to be a 100 percent, without that, nothing can really work.

“I cut that idea out a few weeks later and I decided one day that I wanted to just show off Durban with my camera. It’s a God-given talent I have, so why not show Durban off to the world? It doesn’t really cost anything to take a picture and upload it, so why not?

“And since very few people are using photography to showcase Durban, why not start a trend, and hopefully it will grow.

“I think that people born to a region take things for granted… People are always amazed by the detail in the pictures of Durban that I take. I want to share the Durban that I see, with people who live here and those who wish they did.”

With a qualification in Fine Arts, we asked Abhi what it was about photography that drew him in.

“Photography was always easy for me… shoot, shoot, shoot… it’s fine tweaking on the way you capture photo to print.

“Art brought a whole new aspect to photography, you can go wild… When you do photography, it’s by the book, so when you learn stuff by the book, going out of bounds is not really allowed. Fine Art lets you seek beyond the borders of photography, and I have applied that in durbanphotography.com and its working well.”

And what does he enjoy capturing most?

“I love shooting landscapes. It captures the surrealistic view of anything. In my third year at technikon a friend asked why I was doing a landscape portfolio. He said ‘Look at all of us here, we are all doing portfolios so that when we graduate, we can get work with our portfolio. Who is really going to hire someone who leaves technikon with a landscape portfolio?’… Which was actually true, so I started doing sports back then… But my friend also told me that one day, when I get a chance and make a name for myself, then I should follow my dream of landscape photography.”

• You can keep track of Abhi Indrarajan at www.durbanphotography.com


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