Interview with Anojan Satha


Q: Hi Anojan welcome to Pellicola! Tell us something about your life and yourself. 
 I’m an urban planner from Toronto, ON Canada by career. I do photography as a hobby in my spare time whenever I’m not working. Urban planning has influenced my photography work over the years, as I’m always seeking subjects within urban/suburban neighbourhoods.  
Q: Tell us about how you discovered photography.  Do you remember when and why did you start taking pictures?                     
Initially I started making short films in high-school and fell in love with cinematography. I had picked up a Minolta X-370 when I was 17 and had taught myself how to shoot film. At the time, it was very convenient to be able to walk into your local WalMart or Costco to develop your film! Eventually I stopped making videos and decided to focus primarily on photography.  
Q: Your pictures look like frames of movies scenes. What do you want to create when you shoot?  
 I want my photos to create a story as if it were a movie, paused at a scene. I try to do this by utilizing people (whether I know them or not), the environment/setting, and the overall tones created by the available light. These three elements are vital for my photos as it creates the overall “story”. Being specific on the time of the day I shoot photos is also important as it drastically changes the mood. 
Q: Many of your shots are taken at night. Is there a specific reason? 
I got into shooting photos at night because of my daytime job. My commute gets me home late and I often lose light, especially in the colder seasons. This forced me to shoot at night, but I learned that I love it the most. The lights emitted from homes and storefronts create a dramatic mood that I seek. The quietness of the suburban environment creates eerie scenes.  
Q: Don’t you think that light at night is more difficult to handle? How do you cope with that? 
 It is difficult, especially if there is very minimal light available. I tend to drive around or walk around a lot until I find an area with enough light. Using a tripod is vital for night photography, but this also means longer exposures. With it being bitterly cold and dark during the Canadian winters, I found this to be an extreme challenge. However, if I’m able to get a shot I like, it is well worth the trouble.  
Q: Quoting your Instagram bio “written in Nostalgia”. Yes, we do perceive the nostalgic aura through your shots, but why exactly nostalgia among the many feelings you can feel or cause? 
I grew up and still live in the suburbs. Every time I look at old childhood photos, I get this nostalgic, warmth feeling, which many can relate to. This is another reason as to why I shoot photos in the suburbs. It’s what I’ve seen all my life, so it speaks to me the most. When people view my photos, I want them to feel some sort of nostalgia. I think conveying some sort of emotion or feeling to the audience is very important in the art of photography. 
Q: What’s your favourite subject to shoot? 
 It is definitely suburban neighbourhoods/landscapes. I shoot other subjects such as portraits, but those tend to be more personal – I believe not everything needs to be shared online.  
Q: Are there any artists that inspire you?

Some artists that inspire me include Edward Hopper, Lawren Harris, and Ernst Haas.  
Q: How do you stay creative? What does inspire you? 
 Watching movies and television helps a lot. Listening to music during my commute and walks inspires me as well.  
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects? 

 My current project is titled ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, where I try to capture the cinematic/nostalgic moments of the Canadian suburbs. It is essentially a love letter to the suburbs. 
I’m also working on a smaller project with my girlfriend, where it will be photography based with creative writing.  
Q: Suggest us a movie or an album. 
My favourite movie of all time is ‘Paris, Texas’. ‘HER’ comes very close as my second favourite. I know I mentioned “suburbs” a lot in this interview, but the album ‘The Suburbs’ by Arcade Fire is a must listen. This album would be the musical score to my work. 


All images © Anojan Satha