Contemporary Photo Archive

Abul Kalam Azad

1975 – 1990

Encouraged by his father, Haneef Rahman, Abul started taking photographs of his locale at a very young age. A majority of his photographs from the seventies are from his native land of Kerala. As a school drop-out, he had the time to travel, meet people from different walks of life and understand cultures. His early subjects included poets, writers, musicians, painters and filmmakers who used to frequent his studio, his friends, neighbourhood, the locale and its architecture. These photographs offer a glimpse into the landscape of Mattanchery, before it became a cultural hub. Quite a few works from this period were lost in a fire accident. Abul started traveling across India in the early eighties. His interest in formal experiments can be seen to be developing in this period. He also became more active in artists’ movements, and simultaneously, his images began getting more exposure, getting printed in magazines and periodicals. Abul’s continuing interest in totemic animals, mundane everyday imageries and local micro-history can be seen in the images made in these years. He has always had a strong inclination to boldly present his personal life, and his autobiographical works stand as a timeless witness of his encounters with social and political dilemmas of the time. We are yet to archive several film negatives from this period, which we expect will reveal many undocumented nuances of Abul’s life and work. To throw more light on Abul’s early years, we will be organising a series of interviews with the people from his life.

Abul Kalam Azad Photo Archive

Abul Kalam Azad Photo Archive

Abul Kalam Azad Photo Archive