A Potter's Tale
Capturing the animated persona of a master craftsman for a book about his life and art
WITH TARA BOOKS
Published by Tara Books, A Potter’s Tale tells the story of Ramu Velar, a master potter at a heritage museum in Chennai.
This book was a long time in the making. As a designer, I was to bring meaning between text and image, and as photographer, I had to visualise and capture the kind of images would enable that meaning. With both happening parallelly, I struggled with the question: who must I be first – a designer or a photographer? After many failed experiments with the layout, we decided to split the two tasks, and handed over the layout to another designer, Sanjana Vamadevan, who took it to the finish line.
With the images, the biggest challenge was to capture in still photographs the animated personality of the potter and the sense of movement and constant transformation that is so integral to his craft.
The book also contains stunning photographs contributed by Dr Stephen Inglis, a professor of art and anthropology. Taken in the 1970s, these images perfectly captured a time and place the potter talks about, which now remained only in memory. Dr Inglis's photos were used in black and white to set them apart from the rest, and served as a reference to conceptualise other images.