S.C. Shekar

Photographer

“I think photography always has to have a purpose. It must mean something. At some point, it must help with a vision. You have to tell a story with it, otherwise it becomes just empty, pretty pictures. But when you are able to impact another person with the images you take, then I think you are getting somewhere. I also love the idea of using photography as a means to educate.”

Educated in Malaysia and Australia, S.C. Shekar began his career as a photojournalist in the late 1970s, working for newspapers in Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines, and with a news agency in New York. In 1989 he established Reds Studios, which specialised in editorial, architectural and food photography. His photographic work for international hotels and resorts won critical acclaim.

Over the past three decades, Shekar has concentrated on documentary photography, broadly understood. He has been commissioned to do major documentary assignments in India, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea, and spent more than a dozen years taking images of Myanmar (Burma) during a period of political upheaval. He has been working with Malaysia’s indigenous communities for more than thirty years, creating an unparalleled portfolio of pictures of daily life as well as their struggles over access to natural resources.  

Shekar’s work has appeared in many solo exhibitions, notably at Malaysia’s National Art Gallery. He has published more than a dozen books of photography, covering themes as diverse as architecture, food culture, portraiture, indigenous people’s lives and crafts. His most recent major project is Grit & Grace: The Grandeur of Monochrome Malaysia, a stunning collection of photos of Malaysia’s topography and communities, making extensive use of aerial photography. The images were published in 2017 in a large-format handmade book of the same name. 

Shekar is currently working on a project documenting Southeast Asia from the air.

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S.C. Shekar