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All photos - Exhibition Italy - Exhibtion Madurai - Publications

Did you ever had that feeling that you went to a total strange place and you felt yourself straight away at home ?

That place is called Tamil Nadu that I visited first in 1987 and from since I go back there every year, the first 3 months of the year. Learning the language helped me to discover the essence of the Tamil culture. In '94 I met Ochappan, a poor Tamil tricycle-man from Madurai. He inspired me to use the derived name oochappan to spot his world out, looking over his shoulder.

Tamil Nadu, colors of joy, what comes from there, goes back.
There I share my hearth, and here my photos. Any reward supports poor people. Welcome.

oochappan - View my 'Tamilnadu' photos on Flickriver

I never stop at the appearance but try to get the soul of people, adding info and personal impressions, avoiding calamity and commercial wallpapers that uses people only as compositional objects, I rather enhance people, mirroring the soul of their culture cause imaging is in need for soul ! A RAW is only raw, not what we see that's far more complex. I take photos with my eyes and my mind, not with a camera, that's only a tool to translate it.

What use is having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling . William Eugene Smith

Look at me ... I'm a poor mental handicapped Tamil man but I can read in your eyes your empathy in my sober life but sometimes I am afraid by seeing so much isolation, affection turned to stone, apathetic greed, measured friendship, desires and dreams exploited commercially, .... sometimes you make me afraid ..... Tell me, who is the most poor, the one living in his illusions of self-satisfaction, or me ? Look at me ...... Look at me ...

It is impossible to express India's particular beauty in black-and-white. Black-and-white might be a good medium to convey Europe's fear and alienation, but color is natural for Indians and more appropriate for the extraordinary diversity of India. Unlike European art, Indian art did not have the tradition of independent black-and-white sketches and drawings. If any line drawings were made, they were for being filled out in color. Color is the fountain of India. Color is the basis of the entire rasa theory, that governs Indian painting, dance, music, and literature.
Raghubir Singh, 1942-1999

Photoalbum edition 2006
Now available here

Photos of Henk oochappan (3)

  • Photographer at work by Henk oochappan
  • Happy Pongal ! by Henk oochappan
  • Henk on work by எஸ்.சத்தியன் | Sathiyan

Henk oochappan's favorite photos from other Flickr members (9,276)

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Testimonials (18)

  • view profile

    Olivier Simard Photographie says:

    "Oochapan est un des plus beaux exemples de la photographie humaniste. Chacune de ses photos décrit l'homme dans ce qu'il a de plus profond, de plus intime, de plus douloureux ou de plus beau. Chaque image écrit une histoire. Chaque cliché nous explose à la figure. Il peint la vie...et ça c'est exceptionnel! Un maître!"

    March 23rd, 2013

  • view profile

    TT FAUGHAN says:


    December 9th, 2012

  • view profile

    ramakan says:

    "Mr.Henk (Oochappan),

    I regularly follow your extremely wonderful photographs of Tamil Nadu.

    Your frames are so rich in colors and the compositions are very creative.

    I must confess that I enjoy your titles in Tamil very much.

    You make life of the villagers look so colorful. Your photographs project
    their inner emotions too.

    You are truly a wonderful creative person and a versatile photographer.

    You have a unique style and it is extraordinary.

    I wish you a great success in your future endeavors.

    ஆழ்ந்த பிரமிப்புடன் தங்கள் படைப்புகளை வியந்து நோக்கும்..


    March 6th, 2012

  • view profile

    YehudaM says:

    "You bring us the colors and the scent of India, and I greet you for that. They represent truly the spirit of the place. Besides i enjoy them a lot from a photographic perspective. Thank you!"

    December 22nd, 2011

  • view profile

    @ Catherine. says:

    "Mr Oochappan,

    Vous êtes un Grand Maître de la photographie!
    Chacune de vos photos raconte une belle histoire.
    Vous avez le don de capturer la lumière et retranscrir les émotions.
    Vous nous apportez un magnifique témoignage en portrait et scène
    de vie quotidienne de ce merveilleux pays qu'est l'Inde.
    Je reste admirative de votre travail et vous remercie pour tant de beauté !


    October 21st, 2011

  • view profile

    handheld-films says:

    "Only someone who knows, loves and understands Tamil Nadu very well indeed, could capture the real, everyday life as well as oochappan does"

    June 4th, 2010

  • view profile

    Kals Pics says:

    "Never before seen a Foreigner who loves India and its culture as he does. The one who turned my attention towards "The people, culture and colors of India"."

    June 9th, 2010

  • view profile

    Vinoth Babu Thirukonda says:

    "Big fan of Henk(oochappan) photography. Much inspired with his portrait and composition of shots.. Great Mr.Henk"

    January 23rd, 2010

  • view profile

    Shree.S says:

    "To Henk oochappan,
    I dont knw if anyone has said this to you before. But your collection has made me fall in love with you! It Is mindblowing how you view tamil nadu and how youve captured it through your lenses.I sense a daring personality through ure photos. It appears you are not Tamil by birth, and it leaves me puzzled. Not even a tamilian could picturize the life of TamilNadu like you do. Words cannot describe your fantastic skills and creativity .
    But truely speaking, I think your collection really got to me.

    India takes different forms to different people who visit her, Although she has her bad sides,but good or bad,shes always embracing the poorest to the richest ,always giving but rarely recieving.
    You captured the India,I miss all the time.Thank you for giving her this collection.

    -With Love, Shree"

    September 30th, 2009

  • view profile

    Apratim Saha says:

    "Henk is a great photographer but the best thing about him that he loves India truly. His love and respect to Indians is expressed through his every photograph. I’m saluting this master photographer from my heart.

    Thank you Henk for showing India in such a lovely way."

    January 22nd, 2009

  • view profile

    asokanphoto says:

    "Oochappan is so favorite to me. He show s places around us so nicely.Realy a travel photographer with high thinking."

    October 15th, 2008

  • view profile

    babasteve says:

    "I love the work of "oochappan". Every image is exquisite and takes me deep into a land and culture I love. Thank you."

    December 19th, 2008

  • view profile

    ~W~ says:

    "Every single picture on oochappan's photostream is breathtaking. The colors are vibrant, the landscapes awesome and the people lively. I especially love the people in his pictures. Ordinary people going about their daily lives, are captured with such sensitivity and eye for detail, with their beautiful dresses , their kind faces , their honest smiles and their raw emotions.
    I also like that he gives a generous description that each picture becomes an amazing documentary. I've been to India once and it was one of the best times in my life. These pictures make me want to go again .
    Although I have many faves from Henk's photostream, I am still exercising a lot of restraint. If I could, I would mark almost every picture as a favorite."

    October 4th, 2008

  • view profile

    Shibu L says:

    "I am honored to put words to the feelings about the photos taken by a true artist.... He is easily one of the best photographers in my contact list.. The photos taken by Oochappan are the frozen moments in the life of common men in India, and men like him bring to us a lot of knowledge through his art . He does what a photographer should do, as i say in my profile..."Photos are windows to society and through them if you could bring some good we are blessed". My hearty salute to this Master."

    September 21st, 2008

  • view profile

    Antony Vance Clicks says:

    "I was asking myself few questions, what the hell you were doing in your 25 years of life in Tamilnadu. Did you capture atleast one lively moment which you liked? Did you roam around to see all the peoples and nature of Tamilnadu. Damn, you did not.

    Well, Oochappan did.

    I am really thrilled to see his work. Very intense and (true) story behind every photo. I could see Tamilnadu's daily life in his photos. He would inspire any one who see the photos, he captured in Tamilnadu."

    July 5th, 2008

  • view profile

    Sankar Salvady says:

    "If you are a Tamilian and if you have ever thought you know Tamilnadu(India) like the back of your hand, you will start re-thinking after spending some time in Henk's ( alias oochappan) Tamilnadu portfolio. If there is one person that has recorded the life in every nook and corner of Tamilnadu like an encyclopedia and still strives to do more, if there is one person that has traveled the maximum miles in Tamilnadu purely out of love for the place and its people (unlike politicians having selfish motives), it must be Henk . His love for TN is unparalleled. He brings out a beauty, life and charm out of Tamilnadu in his photos that most Tamilians born and raised there all their life fail to notice.

    If I were to say Henk's pictures is one of the greatest inspirations for my decision to try to come back to Tamilnadu and India as soon as I can, I would not be lying :-) . Thank you Henk , for showing us how beautiful our part of the world is."

    June 30th, 2008

  • view profile

    tribambuka says:

    "The spirit of Tamil Nadu is reflected so precisely and delicate in Oochapan images! You can feel the magic and the secret power of this land and people through them... I forgot to breathe while looking through, as I if I was traveling there again.
    Touched and inspired...!"

    February 2nd, 2008

  • view profile

    Ravages says:

    "If Tamil Nadu needed a spokesperson, a passionate advocate on its behalf, that person is Oochappan. An amazing photographer, who find that rare quality - life - in pretty much every situation and then proceeds to highlight that with his photos.
    Spend a while in his stream, marvel at the Tamil Nadu and India he showcases. You'll be as hooked as I am."

    December 21st, 2007

December 2005
BELGIUM - INDIA in winter
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