Beyond half a century of life through the lens

Saturday, 17 August 2019 03:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


For the first time in Sri Lanka, photographer Henry Rajakaruna is hosting three different photographic exhibitions in one location titled ‘Art of Blur,’ ‘Portrait of Humanity’ and ‘Photo Essay,’ from 7 to 9 September at the J.D.A. Perera Gallery.

The exhibitions will be opened from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 7 September and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on 8 and 9 September.

To transform the ordinary into the extraordinary is a gift. A graduate of the College of Fine Arts, veteran photographer, Henry Rajakaruna learnt the finer aspects of photography from Wilson Hegoda and B. P. Weerawardena. His interest in this form of art however is rooted to his days back in school at Ananda Sastharalaya, where he captured moments from a box camera he acquired with his pocket money. 

Since these humble beginnings, Rajakaruna has been keeping steady strides forward to define the space of photographic art in Sri Lanka. He spells out photography as a form of art and a means of visual communication. With over a half century of experience in photography, his thinking is streets ahead of many, locally and internationally. 

Having won awards since 1962, Rajakaruna has formed his own style for which he is renowned globally. He keeps abreast of modern technique, gear, technology and styles and is experienced and bold enough to break the typical rules of photography to create mesmerising pieces of art. 

Rajakaruna briefly stepped out of photography to dapple in the production of handloom fabric. However, in the 1970s, he found his way back and set up his own commercial photography business. Then also began the journey of honing his skills in art photography in a manner that led him to create his niche with slow shutter techniques, which rapidly gained recognition locally and internationally to be known today as the “Henry Rajakaruna Style”. This unique style emerged to the world through Rajakaruna’s lens as a series of dancers that were captured and stitched to a unique slow shutter style that propelled creativity to unimaginable extents. 

An ardent loyalist to the art form, Rajakaruna takes immense effort to nurture young and upcoming photography enthusiasts. His humility is so profound that he generously imparts his knowledge and deep experience, with anyone who wishes to master photography in its true form.  Having experienced the level at which photography is internationally, Rajakaruna advises the next generation of photographers to look beyond the frame of photography that captures an image only to be presented at competitions and exhibitions. 

He reiterates the importance of breaking boundaries and going beyond one’s own limits to capture photographs that may necessarily not receive awards or medals but would instead capture the true meaning and expression of moments and life. 

Having exhibited his masterpieces at seven solo exhibitions since 1988, Rajakaruna has since then had the distinct privilege of having his creations displayed across fifteen countries, winning several internationally acclaimed awards and recognitions. 

In recognition of his photographic fetes, he was conferred the Master Photographer Internationale De L’Art – Photographique (MFIAP) in 2013; being one of approximately 154 in the world and the only Sri Lankan to be honoured by the title. The fact that no other Sri Lankan to date has achieved these heights in photography is a distinct honour to the nation.