Waruna Gomis, an architect by profession, has also risen high in a world which was once simply a hobby, a world which not only enhanced his creativity, but also helped him experience architecture through a different eye … a camera lens.

By Amanda Rajakaruna | Photography by Waruna Gomis

The life of a photographer was one he never wanted, as growing up he saw a photographer as being one who strapped large cameras around their neck and had lots of assistants aiding with transporting heavy lighting gear – all of which called too much attention to one’s self. Attention he preferred not to be part of.

However, as always, life tends to show you what your contribution to society should be. Meeting Swedish photographer, Ake Eson Lindmon in 1999, is described as the “moment” Waruna knew he wanted to be a photographer. Today, Waruna has concreted this “moment” and leads two different professional paths, paths that have stemmed from each other, complimenting each other and there by resulted in a unique approach to both mediums of art.

“It is through architecture that I stepped into photography, I am grateful to the profession of architecture for opening my eyes to various avenues of art…”

Waruna’s story as both an architect and a photographer begins while he was a young architecture student, working in the office of Geoffrey Bawa, an experience which made him respond to architecture in the way he does today as well as an experience which made him see a new world which could not be seen through the naked human eye.

“Mr. Bawa is one of the most inspiring people I have met. I say ‘is’ because what he taught me still lives with me today. What I value most was that he was a real gentleman and a Creative Guru who taught me different types of architecture…types of architecture which was different to the way he did it…”

Photography to Waruna is self taught. Through trial and error and a lot of time and money spent on film and developing images and trying out different angles, he has made himself out to be what he is today, creating a style of his own.

Excelling in two very closely linked modes of art, Waruna personally feels that the two should be independent, and the experience associated with the two in fact separated. However the strong connection he sees between the two has helped immensely in enhancing the creative approach to both mediums of art.

“I sometimes see abstractions in architecture which interests me to a great extent. It is these abstractions of the form and space that are directly affiliated to art…”

Merging his knowledge of architecture with his passion for photography, Waruna has found comfort in architectural photography,

“Architectural Photography unlike other types of photography like street photography or portraits does not require you to be spontaneous with your trigger finger. You have all the time to set up and wait for the light to move into the right angle. It’s a wonderful relationship with you and the building you are trying to capture. There is really not much space in between to add your ideas into the images…You just need to understand the moods of the building. Each individual character from photographers comes with how best you have understood the moods of the space…”

Development of technology in today’s world creates opportunities for photography to be enhanced, Waruna’s opinion on such photo enhancing software is that,

“Photographs should not be tampered with too much, they lose their vitality and spirit. There should be minimum editing as possible, none would be ideal…”

As to the question of is Waruna firstly an architect or firstly a photographer he responds,

“….I’m always first an Architect, because I always think in architecture, even abstract photography or photographing people is thought in an architectural sense….”

In conclusion, with the challenge associated with taking his photography to a different extreme, and the risks of failure which might be associated with trying something new, Waruna states,

“…I am not afraid of failure, because there are no risks and it’s just me and my camera…”