Kerala Photographer Punalur Rajan passes away
Ace photographer Punalur Rajan breathed his last on Friday, August 14 in Kerala, India. He was 81. Born and raised in Kollam, Rajan came to Kozhikode in 1963 when he got a job as ‘artist-photographer’ at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. He lived the life of an exceptionally talented photographer who specialised in capturing black-and-white pictures of cultural icons
Photographer Punalur Rajan, 81 passed away due to cardiac ailments on Friday at 1.40 am local time in Kozhikode, Kerala, India. He specialised in black and white photography of cultural icons in the field of literature, cultural and political of Kerala.
“He was the spy that god sent to earth with a black-and-white camera,” said MT Vasudevan Nair about Rajan.
Born to Sreedharan and Eshwari in Kollam in 1939, Rajan later graduated from Mavelikkara Ravi Varma School with a diploma in fine arts. Perusing the Communist Party interest in producing a feature film carrying messages of class struggle and dialectical materialism, he went to USSR Institute of Cinematography affiliated to Moscow University for a three-year course in cinematography. Later, as he returned from Moscow in 1964, a split in the party due to ideological differences made the leadership drop the plans. After rejecting filmmaker P Bhaskaran’s offer for a film project, Rajan continued to pursue still photography. Starting his career in 1963 in Kozhikode Government Medical College as a photographer, he retired in 1994. Inspired by the stories of Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer since childhood, Rajan chose his companionship as he reached Kozhikode. He was not just a political photographer focused on the socio-political and cultural evolution of Kerala but also exhibited a great interest in covering the lives of various personalities.
He showcased a tribute to Basheer in his work, Basheer: Chayayum Ormayum, a portfolio showcasing the life of the gifted writer. His love for photography lasted till his last breath as he worked towards his book covering the tales of shots, which now remains unfinished. He also covered historic places and personalities in USSR during his stay. He actively contributed feature columns for Mathrubhumi daily and Mathrubhumi weekly. His featured photography covering atrocities during the second world war made him the recipient of Soviet Land Nehru Award.
India joins Rajan’s family, wife Thankamani, son Dr Firoz Rajan and daughter Dr Poppy Rajan to mourn such a great loss.