Documenting Abin’s Journey!

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

Abin Alex’s life changed when he was just a child. When most of his friends dreamt a fantasy-filled life, Abin was busy leading a life of fantasy himself. He was drawn to the camera and its capabilities of bringing changes to people’s faces. He would just ogle at his uncles camera for
hours, for he was not allowed to touch it. As Abin grew, so did his quest to know about the cameras and its hidden wonders. He specialized in Visual Communication during his college years and agrees that he was waiting for his Professor to introduce ‘Photography’ which was an integral part of the course itself.

Abin’s ability to spot a beautiful frame even from an ordinary object was impeccable. At the beginning of his career, Abin was working as a Communication Designer and Developer while he was still managing to do photography during weekends. It did not take him too long to realize that he could excel far better in photography, staying true to his passion than anything else. Abin has dabbled in almost every genre of Photography including Portraits, Landscapes, Architecture and Documentary. His collection of treasure includes some astounding images of Portrait, Candid and Documentary Photography.

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

PhotoConcierge had a quick chat with this ‘ever busy Photographer’ and we are delighted to document his journey.

You are quite popularly called as the Best Documentary Photographer and someone who has set the benchmark on this genre of photography. What challenges you face in this and how well is it received by people?

Compared to other genre of photography – Documentary photography receives less attention amongst the common people. It essentially deals with story-telling via images but with stronger emotions like for example state of the mind which could vary between happiness to depression to hidden love to vengeance. The images under this genre need not necessarily be beautiful or attractive. They are moments captured from plain truths of life – as is and I consider this as the most visceral form of photography. To give an example – The happiness that the homeless people find in the midst of their miseries is a strong subject by itself. I freeze these lovely moments in my camera. Every documentary photograph including the portrait photographs from the street conveys a message and tells you a story. And I feel very much attached to those scenarios. In a way this kind is also called Photojournalistic images.

It is quite obvious that such photography cannot be pursued with an aim of money making. I personally take documentary photographs because it gives me an opportunity to know the people around me and allows me to photograph them and share the story to the other parts of world.

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

Where do you archive the documentary photographs? Who seeks this kind of imageries?

Newspapers and Magazines need them quite a bit for any special coverage on social and economic related issues. They always approach me for images relating to their stories. I also use them to bring awareness of the facts and scenarios of the present world by publishing it in various media houses. As a Photography mentor, I use these images to make my students learn the art of crafting the truth and framing it forever.

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

About your Photography Institute that runs in one of the most humblest way possible.

My desire and love for photography made me to establish a place where I could share the knowledge of photography and build up the new talents into a professional photographer. The institution that I started in the year 2007 is Creative Hut Institute of Photography, located in the natural picturesque of God’s own Country Kerala. Managed by a non-profitable trust, National Education And Research Foundation – Creative Hut Institute of Photography follows the photography education based in the creative and traditional Gurukulam learning structure. The Institute is now a Canon affiliated training centre. I have had a humbling experience by mentoring and exploring the talents of more than 1000 students. Most of them continue to be either full time or part time Photographers and either own a Studio or work in an Organisation.

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

Some of the best moments you have had in your journey so far.

Ever since I started teaching under Creative Hut Institute of Photography, I have had myriad memorable moments in my journey as a photographer. Every time I visit a place, I find something new from my camera’s viewfinder. When I spend time with students and discuss about photography I am filled with ecstasy.

I got an opportunity to conduct photography workshop for the jail inmates in the Sabarmati Central Jail, Gujarat. Achieving appreciation and support from the authorities of central Jail and being able to encourage the prisoners to choose photography as a career option after their imprisonment is one of the best moments I would always cherish.

The making of the ‘Photography History Calendar’ with my students was a real experience and the approval of it for the record title by leading record organisations was one of the achievements that I would like to mention. After few months, I got into the making of photography wheel and photography game with my group of students and getting those accepted again is a memorable part of my journey.

One of the best moments that is much close to my heart is the birth of my son Aaron who was born on 19th August 2011. As a Photographer and mentor it was a real gift from God to get my first child born on the day that is worldwide celebrated as World Photography Day.

These lovely moments gives me loads of encouragement and motivation in my life.


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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

You hold innumerable awards and titles. Can you explain some of them – including the Limca record.

My full time engagement in photography has encouraged me to make others aware about the scope and art in photography. It eventually inspired me of creating and developing something that could make anyone know photography and its need in simplest way. My students and family were the great support for this concept and helped me in the making of three inventions.

It took months of effort in making and launching the Photography History Calendar on 5th February 2014, Photography Wheel on 20th September 2014 and Photography Board Game on 2nd October 2014.

These inventions were acknowledged by various Record organisations and awarded with the record titles for each of the three records. The records and awards include Limca Book of Records, India Book of Records, Asia Book of Records, National Book of Records, Miracle World Records, World Records India, Record Holders Republic, Universal Records Forum for First Photography History Calendar, First and the Biggest Photography Wheel and First and Unique Photography Board Game. Career Options Award for Excellence in Education awarded me the Visionary Leader award in 2015. It was an honour to receive the Honorary Doctorate from the World Record University in March 2015.

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

Where do you think the future of photography is heading towards and where do you think India is placed on the global photography platform?

Photography is one such field that has lots of scope and opportunities for the upcoming generation. Around the world, the number of photography aspirants is increasing in larger numbers. India too is in the list of large photography lovers. Every occasion in one’s life is related to photography. From the very birth of a child, first step of a child, the first birthday, first day to school, school days and events, college days, days of enjoyment, office or career days, engagement, wedding, their children, death and funeral etc. Everything is stored as memories through photographs. With the modern technology, one could now easily capture anything that they see, be it through a compact camera, mobile phones and DSLR camera. The trend in taking selfies has made a remarkable attraction and affection towards photography. Future of Photography field is very bright, unique and long way to go with ever improvised and new modern technologies.

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Photo Credits: Abin Alex

Your advice for upcoming photographers.

Some people enjoy photography as a part of their leisure activities, while some prefer it as their career option and a medium for livelihood. Apart from these categories, there are people who practice photography for enjoying the pure art in it and are not actually concerned with the income they could create from it. Rather than giving any advice I would like to share my experience of what I had followed. Before I could experience the flavours of photography, I first came to know that it is an expensive hobby, with too much of struggle and hardship to carry forward as a profession and nevertheless an art form. True to any kind of art, high levels of commitment are also required in the field of Photography as well.

Knowing our camera and understanding it, is not just a tool to capture but a medium to bring out what we had imagined and wanted to convey without words. An artist in me both as a photographer and an educator allowed me to evolve to show love and respect towards mankind, nature and its wonders.

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