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Artist of the Week - Hema Narayanan

Hema Narayanan, one of the charismatic personalities in photography is Chennai born, but brought up in Karnataka. Finishing her schooling and PU in Davangere, Hema is a thorough convent bred. A lot of creativity was imbibed in her since she was from a small town with very few urban distractions, she says. Her father, being a textile engineer, encouraged young Hema in many extracurricular activities. This made her travel a lot, as a student for competitions held in Karnataka. Though very competent in extracurricular, she also was good in academics – being a topper throughout her student life. Space and Sky fascinated her as a young girl, as she always looked up the sky and wondered about the stars ever so much and how it would be, to be an astronaut, or at least an astronomer.


Her Engineering was from Davangere and her Masters in Technology was from the University of Delhi. She recollects her time in the ISRO and IISc to be her favorites, where she completed her M.Tech thesis and projects. She joined TCS as a fresher and moved to Wipro Technologies a couple of years later. She spent more than a decade in several roles in Wipro, with the final one being that of, a Technology Consultant and Architect. Having worked in diverse fields and technologies, she was always keen on experimenting in the work she did. In fact, when she quit her plush IT job in 2009, she had three things on her mind that she wanted to pursue: firstly, being an Independent Technology Consultant, secondly being a Photojournalist and finally a Writer. The decision to take up what her heart was after was not an easy one, but perhaps an obvious one.


Hema has been photographing for more than a decade now – it evolved from being a hobby to a passion to being her profession, today. “Photography hitchhiked a ride with me a decade ago, as I traveled to parts of the world during the days of my corporate profession. After seeing the world, ‘through my lens’, I remained devoted to the art of photography, ever since” she says. Her interest lies in people and their expressions, travel, festivals, culture, art & artists, landscapes, heritage & monuments. She undertakes commercial photography assignments in lifestyle, home d├ęcor, interiors, travel and philanthropy.


She is published in many Indian National dailies, leading travel magazines, in-flight magazines, online journals and publishing Houses. To name a few, Deccan Herald, The Hindu, DNA, Indian Express, Femina, Discover India, Inside Outside, Verve online, Jet Airways, Go Air, Orange County, Travel Span, Culturama and others. She has done technology articles for Times of India, Deccan Herald and also covered post budget analysis as a correspondent for Economic Times.

She became a licensed Artist with Getty Images and Shutterstock agencies this past year. Her work has been showcased in exhibitions, including those at Alliance Franchise (Adventure Sports), cultural festival Ninasam at Sagar (New Generation, New Vision), an exhibition to celebrate the Thai cuisine at The Lalith Ashok (Taste of Thailand) and others at Max Muller Bhavan, Bangalore Habba & Art Mantram. Her most recent exhibition at Rangoli Metro for CRY (Child Rights and You) on the subject of ‘Children and Education’, remains close to her heart- where she covered many slums of Bangalore looking at reasons that act as obstacles to the education of the children. She later took up her own initiative, “Diya Jale!” to set up small book libraries in orphanages in the city.


Her photographic accomplishments include, being shortlisted in the top 35 of the 2011 travel scholarship conducted by National Geographic and World Nomads, her image being chosen to represent Rajasthani culture by Edinburgh International Festival 2011 for their brochures and website, her image making it to the Canon Edge yearly calendar, and also her pictures being published in a Government of India sponsored coffee table book, ‘India for a Billion Reasons’.  She was featured as a ‘Woman Achiever Photographer’, by Kannada Prabha, Times of India Neighborhood and Mphasis corporate newsletter. 


Teaching is something she really loves doing and has a tremendous flare for. So after quitting IT, she has been teaching photography for over 5 years in various photography genres. She cherishes teaching the 40-50 children every Monday, at The International School of Bangalore (TISB). “I have learned a lot of amazing photography techniques, in the process of teaching these kids”, she says. In addition, she has judged a few photo contests and is one among the PRO Travel photographers for GuruShots.com.


When asked about her stint with Writing, she said,  “I have cherished writing longer than photography. Having written enough travelogues in my personal diaries, I decided to go public 7-8 years ago. Using words to express what you see and feel is like reliving the journey again”. Having authored her first e-Book - a Travel cum Expat Guide on the ‘Splendor of Mysore’ (also available on Amazon Kindle), she plans to bring out more e-books.

When probed further, it was evident that she had a creative penchant all along - right from her younger days. She was into classical dancing (learned Bharatanatyam for 13 years), guitar, keyboard, singing and even theatres (her memorable ones were that of roles she enacted in Shakespearean plays). Music was an integral part of her life and when she started traveling from 1995, she developed a unique habit of recording the local FM radio channel music – and today she has a huge collection of the cassettes!



It was only making it imperative for me to see how she could take risks, dabble with several things at the same time – and lo! she made a paradigm shift from a technology stream to that of Photography. “If not view the sky through a telescope, why despair? View the world through a viewfinder!,” she sums it up. 


To connect to Hema on Facebook click on this link : Hema Facebook

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