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Shaun D’Sa is the creative director and co-founder of Whoa Mama Design.

What is original anymore?

The possibility of being identified in an ocean of creative individuals is remote, unless you are a disruptive force or ridiculously entertaining.

There are those restless folks, who swim against the sea of smileys, question the norm and create the new. They are not destroyers of beliefs, but believers in evolution. This column celebrates these individuals and their craft.

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Madhavan Palanisamy aka Maddy bears testament to this philosophy. He uses the power of storytelling, combined with raw human emotion, to create poetry with the lens.

A commercial and artistic photographer, he also makes films and works with drawings and text. “I love to explore the world that opens up the moment we want to see something beyond what is presented to the naked eye,” Palanisamy says.

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A simple toy story — a visual of Lord Vishnu’s matsya avatar and Superman facing each other — becomes a layered visual of faith and courage, East meeting West, and the old confronting new.

His portraits of the Indian Army showcase the strength of the human spirit with rawness and vulnerability.

His project, Simla Special, invites the viewer to a different world by juxtaposing his son’s interest in wax statues and his own love for nature. It’s about the contrast between two generations, yet, finding harmony.

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Live restless, die rested. We all have a responsibility to our craft and society. Maddy believes the biggest service one can do is to find one’s own voice. Be it in life or in art.

This is not a revolutionary thought, but a guide to inspiring yourself every day. He wants to mentor young photographers and start a publishing company.

“When you keep feeding your inner world and draw your inspiration from there, your commercial projects would also start becoming artistic, and you can blur the boundaries between what is commissioned and what is seen as art,” he tells me.

Check out his work on and on Instagram @madhavan.palanisamy

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