My name is Madhavan Palanisamy. I am a photographer. My friends call me Maddy.

I studied Biochemistry then moved to MBA in order to pursue advertising - the images, films and words I saw then called me out. I worked in several agencies for about 9 years, notably JWT which gave me the freedom to explore what I wanted to become. While working in advertising I figured that I wanted to get close to the creative process of making images. Photography was my hobby from school and I was pretty good at it. So I switched to photography. When I think about it - it was a roundabout way to reach here, especially since It was images that I was always chasing. But, working in advertising also gave me a lot of insights into how agencies and brands collaborate , how exciting it is to come up with creative solutions to the problems and the pressures involved with working with something beautiful and fragile like an idea.

My inspiration to making images comes from the movies I saw growing up and a lot of editorial and avant-garde fashion and graphic design influences. This helps me to pitch an aesthetic that is more intuitive and personal.

Most of my work I do fall under portraits. Even when I am doing fashion I still approach it like portraiture. I feel that there is nothing more simple and at the same time complicated like the human face and the story that it hides and reveals. All the rest, the clothes, the ambience, the colours are all to accentuate the story. I like to present images within a context of nostalgia and magic realism.


I am preoccupied with making images that could reach our subconsciousness - like an arrows to our soul. The human face makes it easier. Using symbolisms, a certain familiar staging of images, contextualising and using the magic of light does help.

My personal work also is in the same realm. I don’t differentiate much between how I would like to shoot commissioned and personal.

I like drawing a lot. Sometimes they are funny. They are mostly pen and ink. Even there I draw human faces or animals or their intersections. I have published some of those and I have ideas to make more. Unlike photography which is also a profession, drawing comes up like a hobby.

I do write. I make films as well.

Lately I have reconnected with film photography. This devalues a certain industrialisation of pixels and puts the emphasis on the geniune connection between the photographer and the subject. It is wonderful because you start seeing again.

I feel my work is changing now and moving towards something that I really as excited to find out.

I might come across as a serious guy. I have a beard that does not help (it makes me appear more serious in pictures) But trust me, I am funny. At least I would like to believe so.