Yaami : The Photographer Who Takes The Risk To Shoot People Differently

We’re all aware of the “Joker and Nagavalli” photo series enacted by Saniya Iyappan and Sam. Even the “Break the Stereotype” with actress Pavithra Lekshmi, a series of photographs of an Indian bride with a pair of scissors in a sari cut above the knees, caught our attention. These creative creations by Yaami was a big hit on all social media platforms.

Yaami, completed her BBA graduation and was working at the Bangalore International airport. She had no prior experience of clicking photographs on a professional camera. Yaami, however, wanted to travel and experience things in life. So she left her job and came back home.

Also Read: The World’s First Photograph With a Human

Yaami

She said, “For two months, I was at home, jobless, and did not have an idea about what to do next. My brother was pursuing his architecture degree at the time and had to get a digital camera. After he got it, I randomly clicked a few pictures and got a hold of how to use it.” 

Yaami adds, “Later that day, I called my friend to meet up, clicked a few photographs of her and posted it on Instagram. That was my first portfolio shoot and it became a major hit. After this, people started contacting me for shoots. I still have no clue of how that happened.”

The tone that Yaami uses for her photographs is warm and subtle. She says, “At that time, no one used warm tones in their pictures. It was always bright tones that were the trend. I guess, maybe that’s what made my pictures stand out.”

Her first model photo shoot was with the Uppum Mulakkum fame Juhi Rustagi. Later on, she started clicking photographs for many other celebrities like Saniya Iyappan, Poornima Indrajith, Esther Anil, Anika Surendran and the list goes on.

Yaami’s great inspiration is Sayed Mohammed, who is a wedding photographer based worldwide. ”His photographs are really dreamy and has a balanced combination of composed, raw and real emotions. I aspire to be nothing less than Sayed Mohammed, ” she says.

Controversies Yaami Had To Face

Since Yaami has unique ideas for her photography, she has been subjected to online bullying and many viewers body shame her models.

She commented, “It’s been a wild reaction. Some people objected to Nagavalli’s leg being put on the Joker. They thought it was a betrayal of the character’s dignity. Joker fans were enraged and sent me DMs on the same for such insignificant things.”

Also Read: Nude Photography Through The Eyes of Kerala’s Photographers

Another issue that people made a huge hue and cry on was when I released the “Break the stereotype” series. According to Yaami, the majority of the comments on her Instagram post were Malayalis body-shaming the model. She shared, “People started flooding my inbox with messages. Even after six months, people continued to cyberbully. An influencer from another state uploaded this photoshoot on his Twitter account and said negative things about it.” 

Also Read: Breaking The Silence On CyberViolence 

She further adds, “When the models wear clothes that are a bit exposed, the comment section is filled with slut shaming and sexualized remarks. I feel it is a thought process that only Malayalis have as I haven’t seen much of it in any other places.”

The nun skateboarding photoshoot took things to a completely different level. “People started commenting that I was a Christian, and that is why I did not cut any part of the nun’s clothing. Apparently,  I cut the saree of the Hindu bride because I was against the religion. They also started asking me questions like – “Why are you not clicking pictures of anyone in a Burka?” Many questions of this sort were flooded in my inbox,”Yaami says.

Yaami never showed ears to any of the comments and did not care about it. But things got out of hand when they started texting people that she work with.

“They’ve been sending emails to my clients as well as text messages to my friends and colleagues. This isn’t right. My clients never inform me if they receive such emails because they think it will make me feel sad. I wouldn’t give a damn if the texts were sent to me. However, I’m not sure why they’re texting my clientele. Thankfully, they’re all lovely at heart and never take stuff like this seriously,” she says.

Yaami ended the conversation by saying, “Even though all of this is a part of my work, I am happy in life. Even if I forget to put my watermark on any of the pictures, people still recognize it. I clicked the pictures for Pearly Maaney’s bridal shower party. I did not tell my mom about it. The next day when a news channel put up pictures of Pearly Maaney and her bridal shower, my mom called me and asked if I was the one who took it. That was a proud moment for me, knowing that my mom recognized my photography.”

Yaami has posted a new work in her Instagram account, a conceptual shoot that defines Love, Wholesome and Freedom, which sends out a great message to the audience. Do check it out.

Also Check Out: Vintage Photos From The Malayalam Movie Industry

Malavika Venugopalan
All great articles start with a great interview. I talk to people, get to know their journey and I put it down into words.

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