Born in 1985, Vasantha Yogananthan lives and works in Paris. His photographic practice addresses the space between documentary and fiction.
His projects are developed over long periods of time and he only works analog – with both large-format 4×5 and medium-format 6×7 cameras. Besides the aesthetic, he is deeply attached to film photography for its slow – almost philosophical – process.
Over the years, Vasantha Yogananthan has developed a distinctive colour palette solely based on natural light. His interest in painting has led him to work around the genres of portrait, landscape and still life. In his project A Myth of Two Souls (2013-ongoing), he has been working with a local Indian artist to revive the tradition of hand-painting. The more his practice grows, the more he perceives photography as a malleable material open to interpretations.
The book form has been central to his work since the beginning. In 2014, he co-founded the publishing house Chose Commune and published his first book, Piémanson.
A Myth of Two Souls will be published in seven photobooks between 2016-2020, one per chapter of the epic.
Project: https://www.a-myth-of-two-souls.com/ (Fantastic presentation. Highly recommended.)
(1) Early Times (2016)
(2) The Promise (2017)
A Myth of Two Souls is inspired by the epic tale The Ramayana. Drawing inspiration from the imagery associated with this myth and its pervasiveness in everyday Indian life, Vasantha Yogananthan is retracing the legendary route from north to south India. First recorded by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 BC, The Ramayana has been continuously rewritten and reinterpreted, and continues to evolve today. Yogananthan’s series is informed by the notion of a journey in time and offers a modern retelling of the tale.
A Myth of Two Souls juxtaposes several sets of photographs: landscapes, hand-painted staged portraits and illustrated black and white photographs.
The landscapes are mythical to Indians today as they were described in the original version of The Ramayana. In the portraits, inhabitants of these landscapes stage scenes that have left a mark on their imagination. Shot in black and white using a large-format camera, these theatrical portraits have subsequently been coloured by an Indian artist using the ancient technique of hand-painting.
A Myth of Two Souls