Clicking not just a picture but a story

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Amanda Samani Jayawardhana who specialises in conceptual photography to hold her maiden exhibition. Published on SundayTImes on 18.06.2018 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180617/magazine/clicking-not-just-a-picture-but-a-story-297936.html

“Photography is more than just a collection of random clicks. I treat the camera as a tool that helps me to express a story,” says Amanda Samani Jayawardhana who will hold her maiden solo photography exhibition titled ‘Artsy’ next weekend.

Amanda Samani Jayawardhana

 

The 50 photographs she has chosen to exhibit cover a wide array of subjects ranging from nature, culture, people, babies, jewellery – each with its own story.

Speaking to the Sunday Times magazine, Amanda says she is fond of conceptual photography that is often staged to illustrate an idea.The photos testify that she has a keen eye to capture a unique story out of ordinary settings. The photograph showing dozens of bee-like insects gathering to feed on sugar crystals was taken when the insects were feeding on sugar thrown out randomly by a roadside juice seller. Amanda took the photograph at an angle to bring the heart shape into the frame.

This juice seller Amanda had met in India, she observed, would throw out the last bit of sugar at the bottom of each sack containing the sugar for the bees. It was the dry period and the man had said that without this sugar, the insects would starve. Yet however, short of food, the bees were disciplined in feeding; unlike humans who would try to grab all they could. “I wanted to capture this story in my photograph,” Amanda says.

She also sets the stage to take some of her photographs to tell a specific story. In one, she painted nuts and bolts in bright red before giving them to a labourer to hold. “These people are compelled to do manual work, but they too are humans in our society who have a warm heart as much as we do. I made the red nuts and bolts to be held in a heart-shape to contrast that,” said Amanda again emphasizing that she wants viewers to read the stories told by these photos.

Touching on lighter themes, Amanda has included a number of baby photographs in her exhibition. “Baby photography is becoming a more commercialized area in photography now and I wanted to see it in a very natural angle to give every single photograph a soft touch,” she says. Parents of course want a memorable photo and Amanda advises keeping the background simple and trying out natural light as much as possible. “Babies are unpredictable, so you need to be ready to click on the moment of truth that brings out their smile or any specific activity to get a memorable photo,” she says.

A professional art photographer with nearly seven years experience in the industry, Amanda has already bagged over 40 national and international awards for her photography.

Bee-like insects foraging on sugar crystals

Having started photography at Grade 6 using a small 110 (one-ten) camera given by her grandfather, Amanda pursued her hobby even at school. After gaining a B.A. (Hons) degree in Image Art Special at the Department of Fine Art, University of Kelaniya, she worked as a visiting lecturer at the Sri Palee Campus and lectures diploma students of the National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka.

Amanda who is also an active member of the Women’s Photographic Association of Sri Lanka says she hopes her exhibition will encourage other women photographers. “We still have restrictions in our society or with our own mindset. But it is indeed time to break free and I do hope my exhibition will encourage more women photographers to come forward to do their own events to promote photography,” she says.

Amanda will conduct a separate session on June 23 evening for schoolchildren who are interested in art photography and has invited many girls’ schools to participate.

The ‘Artsy’ photography exhibition will be held on June 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the JDA Perera Gallery at Horton Place, Colombo 7.

Elephant master

Dirty hands, warm hearts

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