Dr. Ullas G Kalappura is an avid photographer and a travel enthusiast based in Kerala. His areas of interest include nature, travel, street and macro photography. In 2012, he became the winner of state level photography contest held by the Kerala state Biodiversity Board. He was one among the eight photographers from Kerala who got shortlisted for the final round of the National level photography competition held by Tamron- ‘Tamron Challenge 2013’. He is also a researcher by education. His photo was among the top ten photos of the All India photography competition ‘Photography 5000’ held by whatsurskill.com in 2016. He was awarded the prestigious ‘Photomuse Luster Award’ by Photomuse, the museum of photography, in July 2016. He also secured third prize in the Monsoon photography contest conducted by District Tourism Promotion Council, Idukki in August 2016. He is a Doctorate holder from Cochin University, Kerala, India. He has several international publications to his credit.
In the recent interview with Open Art, Ullas talks more about his interests and his life.
Niveditha: As a photographer, what do you do for a living?
Ullas: I will tell you. I take photography classes, freelance works, workshops and photowalks for students and people from different age groups. Income is not regular though but I somehow manages. I hope that after I establishes my name, things would be easier.
N: Do you think happiness comes from doing what you love and not through money?
U: Exactly, my policy! That’s why I quit research as it’s not possible to set your foot on two boats at the same time.
N: When did you start taking photographs ?
U: You know something, I haven’t clicked a single photograph before 2009. It was in my second year of research I started taking photos. I never knew I had this talent and I was so amazed when I found out.
N: What is the genre in photography that you focuses on?
U: Well I actually click all kinds of photographs. Anything which appears beautiful in front of my eyes. But the main areas that I focus on are nature, wildlife,landscape, macro and street photography.
N: Hence we can say your interests as multiple focus points.
U: (laughs) Yes. That’s partially because I learned everything by myself. No one taught me except Google . I think my eyes are programmed to see the beauty everywhere and my technical knowledge in photography helps me to capture it on to a frame.
N : Which photographers influenced you and how did they influence your thinking, photographing and career path?
U : When I first clicked photos with a normal camera there was a friend of mine named Vineeth John who had a DSLR. He used to tell me that my frames are good. And because of his encouragements and from some of my research friends, I decided to buy a camera. After buying the first camera, I started clicking my neighborhood. Cusat mainly, and I used to carry my camera wherever I went. In 2012 I got a State award from Kerala state biodiversity board and that made me take photography seriously.
N: So that made you quit your studies and become a photographer right?
U: Actually I finished my PhD in 2014. Then I was in split mind as choosing one will kill the other. So I decided to follow my heart. I can do more in photography than in anything else. So I didn’t want to miss the chance.
N: What’s the name of your first camera and that you have now?
U: The very first camera I bought was a point and shoot one. Panasonic DMC TZ-7. Now I am using Nikon D600.
N: How was your family’s response when you chose to be a photographer?
U: In the beginning they were not convinced about my decision. But after seeing my passion towards it they started supporting me well.