Through the Lenses of Roshan Santhosh

A graduating dual degree student from the Department of Engineering Design, Roshan, popularly known as RSK, is an avid photographer, designer and data analyst. He has always been in great demand to cover all kinds of events in the institute. Here, he shares some of his shots and the stories behind them.


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These were taken during my 3rd year in Insti. I had always wanted to take pictures during Holi but taking care of the camera while shooting was a huge problem. This was also a very sunny day which isn’t exactly a good thing when it comes to taking photos. Nevertheless, I was determined to take some pictures and as I was going down the stairs I noticed the small open area beside the stairs which was full of colors. Also the lighting was ideal as it gave a good amount of shade. So one by one, I kept calling people to come over to take pictures. Most people were just eager to get new profile pics. In the end, it turned out to be one of my best photo-series.


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[Clockwise] Kalyanasougandhikam organised by Spicmacay; Manipuri dance, organised by Spicmacay; Cast of Stagecoach 2014; Sabnam Gafoor, part of Sharav Drams ; Prakruthi Gogia, performing for Sharav WM group.

One of the reasons that helped me improve my skills as a photographer was covering LitSoc events in Insti. In my second and third year, I was the ‘go to guy’ for anything related to photography. Now, most LitSoc events lack proper lighting and that greatly reduces the chance of getting great images. However, over the years, I have been able to capture some great pictures while covering these events.

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Till my second year, coordinator photo-shoots were a very routine event that involved very strict formats that the coordinators were supposed to follow. This was mainly to ensure that all the photos can be batch processed. Most of the times the final images weren’t good as almost always the lighting and composition for every picture would be different and applying the same post-processing to all images simply wouldn’t work. So in my 2nd year, as a photography coordinator for Saarang, I decided to change that.  I felt that coordinator badges had to be a bit more personal, something that the a coordinator should be proud to show and not hide from others (I have seen a lot of that too!). So for the coordinator photo-shoot, I started experimenting with different compositions and techniques and decided to edit the pictures myself. I did that again for the next Shaastra coord photo-shoot and the trend kind of took off from there. Also, it was during the Shaastra coord photo-shoot that I got the idea for the levitation shot when I found a Shaastra cube lying around. The levitation trick became quite popular with the next set of coordinators and has been replicated in some form or the other every year since then. Even the batch-processing of coord badges has stopped, with coordinators being assigned to edit their own pics.


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These were taken last year while we were shooting for LitSoc SFM. Being in  4th year, I wasn’t exactly keen on waking up at 6 to take the early morning train to shoot the short film, but it was the continued persistence of our hostel secs, Aroon and Adit, that made me decide to work on this and I am really glad that I did. These were taken on the last day of our shoot. There was a scene which had to be shot again and as a result we ended up at Park station at around 12 in the noon. It was there that one of us got the idea of shooting a wide angle time-lapse of Chennai Central. The only possible option was to shoot from the top of the Rajiv Gandhi hospital, which had a perfect view of the station, but we were not sure whether we would get permission to get on top of the building. I remember waiting in the lobby with Aroon and Shalini for a really long time as Adit went around trying to get the required permissions. Finally, we got the permission to shoot provided we mentioned the hospital’s name in the SFM. The wait and the effort was worth it as the pictures as well as the time-lapse turned out to be amazing.


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This picture was taken during my second Shaastra when I was a photography coordinator under Harikrishnan. We had to get a lot of permissions to get on top of the admin block. We had gone there for taking a time-lapse video. So while Hari was working on shooting the time-lapse video, I went about taking pictures including this one. That was the first and last time that I had been to the admin rooftop. In a way I was really lucky to have been assigned to work on the time-lapse video as I otherwise wouldn’t have got such an opportunity.


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These were taken for the hostel photography event of LitSoc. We had tried a few different concepts for the shoot, one of which had us buy 6 meters of cloth, but none of them resulted in great shots. So the day before the deadline, I got the idea of projection photography from a poster that I had seen online and decided to give it a try. We had access to HSB 331 which had a good projector. So Vinci (our model), Aroon, Ankur and I went to 331 with just the concept of projection photography but with no clear idea on what exactly to shoot. We spent a lot of time finding pictures online which would give great images as well as adhere to the theme. We ended up putting a night out in 331 and were completely exhausted by the end of it. I was not even sure if the pictures were any good as the raw images lacked contrast in the projected image. However, post-processing, the pictures turned out to be great. Even though there were a few awkward moments when random people walked by and saw a shirtless Vinci standing on top of a table with us taking his pictures, it was all worth in the end as  we were able to bag the first position in the hostel photography event as well as the solo event. Again this probably wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Aroon who kept pushing me to complete the shoot.


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Over the years, I have become more interested in taking portraits. This wasn’t fueled by the fact that junta wanted profile pics but because portraits have the potential to turn into powerful images. When you are able to capture a gaze, a smile or a laugh at that precise moment, you get something really amazing. One thing that you learn while taking pictures of people is a sort of intuition. You learn to expect moments before they even happen thus allowing you to capture them. This has helped me quite a lot in getting some great portrait shots.


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[Clockwise] : Alak wing mates ; Crowd click near carnival stage, Saarang 2014 ; LitSoc photography week; Experiments with wide-angle lens


Find all the his photographs on his FB page: RSK Photography and his blog.

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