This travel photographer’s captivating pictures will take you through the landscapes of South India

Through his love for photography, social activist AV Aravind weaves distinctive narratives, artfully intertwined with literary inspiration.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Sep 01, 2023 | 8:00 AMUpdatedSep 01, 2023 | 8:00 AM

The exhibition was held at Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad. (AV Aravind)

Writer, social activist, and poet AV Aravind recently unveiled his striking photo exhibition titled South India Travel.

The exhibition, held at Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University on Tuesday, 29 August, showcased over 35 captivating photographs that comprised the picturesque landscapes of Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana.

Currently pursuing Mass Communication in Telugu medium at the university, Aravind has been nurturing a passion for photography over the past two years.

This exhibition, which marks his year-long visual journey, successfully captured the essence of the diverse southern regions through his lens.

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Finding inspiration in nature 

Talking about his subjects, Aravind shares, “One of the photographs features an elephant and its calf near the Shivamogga Wildlife Division of the Sakrebyle Elephant Camp. My visit was particularly significant as I encountered this elephant when she was pregnant.”

He narrates, “Elephants typically withdraw from human interaction for over a year post-pregnancy. However, this elephant displayed an unusual closeness to humans. This allowed me to document the growth of her calf merely two years later. This inspired me to create this stunning visual.”

Aravind’s passion for photography is also fueled by his literary explorations.

He adds, “While studying Telugu literature, I was introduced to the beauty of Kerala and Karnataka. This was through several literary works. Inspired by writers like UR Ananthamurthy, Shivaram Karanth, and Shivashankar Pillai, I aimed to validate the vivid descriptions of villages that these authors had penned.”

The result is his expansive photography project spanning the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Puducherry, and Telangana.

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The key to travelling smart

Addressing the financial aspect of his photography travels, Aravind noted, “I aspire to set an example by showing that even with limited funds, it is possible to capture the essence of social life, nature, and the hidden gems of remote villages.”

He adds, “The key is to opt for economical accommodation and group travel facilities, as there are certain places that are best experienced collectively. I’ve managed trips for as little as ₹5,000. Through my work, I aim to inspire others to embark on similar expeditions.”

Beyond what meets the eye

Among his several standout visuals, Aravind’s lens has captured the Mallela Theertham, a stunning waterfall nestled within the Nallamala Forest of Nagarkurnool in Telangana.

There is also another one with the cheerful countenance of an elderly woman belonging to a tribal group in Gokarna. 

“Beyond technical prowess, the subject matter holds the greatest significance in photography,” shares Aravind emphasising the importance of solo travel in broadening one’s perspective. 

The South India Travel series stands as a testament to Aravind’s artistic flair, commitment to showcasing hidden treasures, and determination to encourage others to explore the world through the lens of their cameras.

All of Aravind’s photographs are accessible through various online platforms, including Facebook and an ebook.  

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