by Anisha Niyas

Eresh Weerasuriya is an extraordinary architectural photographer. His fascination for buildings, and taking photographs of them began at a young age, which was what fuelled a search for a new perspective.

The year 2003 was a new beginning in his future as a photographer. He attended the World Press Photo workshop, held in Colombo, where he was one of the ten individuals selected from across the island to participate. There, he met Barbara Stauss, a photo editor of a German magazine called Mare, who offered him a fully funded residential training programme under a well known architectural photographer in Berlin. The training in Germany gave him the chance to experiment with techniques that led him to specialise on the subject of photography of buildings. His strength behind the camera is also the training he got as an architectural student, which gave him the ability to translate an architect’s three-dimensional vision into a two-dimensional composition, “the way one would see it in an intellectual level.”

               He describes his talent as something that was within him, but which has grown over the years. Experimenting with technique and lighting, his shooting is primarily in colour transparencies using large and medium format cameras. Working with these systems have often taken him more time than clicking just another snapshot. Eresh concentrates on the form, the volume, the tones and textures, and, very importantly, the depth of shadows and how it behaves. “These are crucial if one wants to highlight the architecture. This is a craft not an art, the art is in the architecture, which you need to capture,” reflects Eresh.

Lately inspired by the work of Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman, with an inherent interest in both hard and soft landscapes, he is driven by his devotion to find the strengths of every building in the best possible way on film. “I always had a deep appreciation towards the built environment, which is the subject of what I have been photographing for the last decade. The dedication towards this painstaking task had often given me enormous contentment of seeing and experiencing architecture. Many people only know of particular buildings through photographs, so I always believe that the task should be to interpret the space you experience not merely to document.”

His work has also been published in various books and magazines on architecture and design, locally and internationally including in the latest EdilStampa edition of the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. The work was exhibited in Europe under various organisations out of which he was commissioned by the national archive of the Netherlands to photograph contemporary Colombo for the exhibition of ‘The World According to Vingboons,’ at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.

Currently, Eresh is working as a freelance architectural photographer based in Sri Lanka.

Photographs Courtesy: Eresh Weerasuriya