Heroic Dreams (of an Ordinary Man) 

Photographs, drawings and text.  2009-12

(The images might take a bit longer to load since there are so many. Thanks a lot for your patience.) 


I worked in advertising for about 10 years - initially in account management and then in creative - and it was great fun. Towards the end of that period, I felt somewhat empty, much like a 'Jerry Maguire' situation. I wanted to do something more individualistic and creative. 

I grew up amidst dense images of magazine photography and art movies. My dad's room was full of books and he used to take me to movie screenings all the time. Editorials and film imagery appealed to me. I had always taken pictures that were beautiful and honest but I was not sure how the commercial or the art world worked. However, that seemed to be my only shot.

So, I took a chance, gave up my career and started shooting everything. Little stories. People. Conceptual work. I felt lonely. I felt the pressure to make it. But, I was happy. I realized that there is room for my kind of work in this world. 

The camera started noticing this and opened up a whole new world for me, a world that was visible through the viewfinder. It gave me the courage to understand that the world inside me is bigger than the one outside. It's not as though I'd become a champion and changed the universe or something but my soul had found its calling. 

These are some of the pictures, drawings and text I worked on during that period. For me, they all talk about the same thing: the wonder of life, the pain of isolation and the beauty of innocence. 

Madhavan Palanisamy (Maddy) - 2013 August. 


Sid's World contemplates the role of innocence and courage in the face of drastic change. Sid's world was shot using my son's toys. He is a huge source of inspiration and love. He is growing up really fast and has an army of superheroes ready to come to his rescue.  


Before we invented the TV, before we invented money, jealousy, plastic, cfc, lies and aristocracy, there was a world where everything flowed into everything else. The people of the land were friends with the people of the sea and sky.  Love was the only occupation.

EYES of the DEAD

When the body dies, the soul leaves. Yet, something is left unsaid, unfinished. Through the eyes made of glass, they still try to say something. But, as someone said, we may have forgotten how to listen. 


A bunch of poodles travel across the oceans and the mountains to reach India from the U.S. They are left at a friend's home, to be collected by other friends. One by one, they depart, till one lonely poodle remains, longing. It is going crazy. 

This project explores the isolation we feel when faced with a new environment.

Beauty / Truth

Is beauty something rare and exotic - that can be only found in some corner of the world ? or could it be waiting for us in our backyard, for us to shine some golden light at it?   

a thank you note

and you, the maker of the universe, the rainbows and swan lakes,
the keeper of bees and sad songs,
of the earth, the sun and the moon,
sweet sweet words, salty sweat and bold kisses,
reckless abandon, truth, love in times of despair. 

and you, who puts words in our pockets,
orange in our sunsets and fireflies, 
and hope in our souls.

we may test you time and again
but, we will never let you down. 


All photographs, text and images © Madhavan Palanisamy