Vasantha Yogananthan’s Sri Lankan father used to read him stories from the Ramayana, ancient Hindu poetry, about the life of Rama, the legendary prince of Kosala Kingdom when he was a child in France.
Its stories of courage, duty, and love are still recited and enacted in religious festivals and annual festivities all over India thousands of years later.
Vasantha has retraced Rama’s legendary route from north to south India for A Myth Of Two Souls, a photographic reimagining of the classic tale that sits somewhere between documentary, fiction, mythology, and reality, drawing inspiration from the impact of this omnipresent cultural myth on everyday Indian life.
The series interweaves fictitious and historical stories, ancient and modern customs, using artistically produced portraits. In addition to big colour prints, Vasantha’s images have been carefully hand-painted in black and white — a technique usually reserved for affluent patrons’ household portraits but subverted in Vasantha’s photographs.
Vasantha’s work is generally created over extended periods, utilising a specific colour palette based on natural light, employing big or medium format cameras that purposely slow down the creative process.