Photography helps me interpret the strange beauty that surrounds us. It helps me lift the veil of what can be seen with the naked eye, to reveal something profound or playful, or both. It encourages me to ask the questions: who are we, where do we come from, why are we here, how are we connected?

My practice also brings together various things I love: writing, drawing, photographs and moving images.

I am a self-taught photographer and filmmaker. I studied biochemistry, management, worked in advertising before I look a leap of faith to become an artist. I feel i am in partnership with the universe and i am here to tell stories rooted in beauty, humanity, and joy.

i live in chennai, india.
insta @madhavan.palanisamy

Winner: Lensculture B&W Awards 2019
Indian Army Project featured in Phroom Magazine
Indian Army Project featured in : WU Magazine
Souls are made of Stardust featured in Liberation France
Souls are made of Stardust featured in Landscape Stories


when i was 8,  i played angel gabriel in a school play. i loved it. hanging on a rope suspended from the ceiling, wearing huge wings and talcum powder for make-up i felt a strange connection with the role, delivering the news, heralding a new era. later i forgot about it.

my dad is a prolific reader and writer. he had his study full of magazines and books when i grew up. they were strangely comforting. when he was not around i would

sit in his chair and feel a sense of calm. he also took me to movie screenings. sitting in the dark and watching intense black and white images of great directors i understood the power of visuals that can penetrate your eyes and tug at your soul.  when i read about magic realism, metaphoric density, lyricism and other fancy concepts now i make sense of them using what i had seen in the movies.

as a kid i used to watch sunsets in the evening wanting to see an image of god in the sky. i still do that when i am on a plane, sitting by the window, flying through the clouds.

i used to read a lot of books (i still try). i would live inside the book. talking to the characters. i like the way we surrender to these words and give our control to the author or what he /she has created. true magic happens when you surrender. i know this but lately i have not been surrendering because my ego is constantly sending notifications.

i wanted to live in the world of visuals, words, poetry. music and other delicious experiences. i also wanted to look beyond the veil and see the nature of our souls. understand where we come from and what we are looking for.

these questions are to be held lightly - which i did not do earlier. in this pursuit i had travelled away from centre and now i am making my way back. it is a fulfilling journey, to lose something you never had and to find something that you could never lose.

my work helps me in this pursuit by connecting me with the beauty, joy and humanity of the world. A lot of my work is built around these intersections.

i am grateful that i get opportunities to do this for a living and for fun too.

to check the commercial projects i do with my studio, head over to

madhavan palanisamy, nov 2019


© madhavan palanisamy 2019