Veteran photographer K. Jayaram, pioneer in macrophotography in India, dies in Coimbatore


K. Jayaram

K. Jayaram
| Photo Credit: File photo

Acclaimed nature photographer K. Jayaram, who is regarded as a pioneer in macro photography in India, died in Coimbatore on Sunday. He was 74.

A recipient of international and national awards, Jayaram dedicated his life to nature photography and remained a bachelor. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the body’s germ-fighting immune system, in March this year and was on treatment.

“He was in recovery mode. But he was again admitted to hospital a week ago due to an infection in the lungs. His condition deteriorated following a stroke and he died of multi-organ failure on Sunday afternoon,” said his younger brother A.R.K. Arun, who maintained a strong bond with Jayaram.

Jayaram got his first camera when he was 14 years old in 1962 and started photographing festivals, temples and landscapes. He won his first prize in a photography competition in 1963, a plastic cased Agfa Click-III. A voracious reader and collector of rare books on nature, science and photography, Jayaram even developed his own techniques for processing negatives in early days of photography.

In 1969 he got an optician to make a one diopter lens, which he attached to his camera. He photographed a pentatomid bug and a scorpion with young ones using the technique, which won him the International Salon of Photography’s gold and silver medals at Los Angeles in 1970. Jayaram became an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, UK (ARPS) in 1978 and he was awarded the distinction of Excellence from the International Federation of Photographic Art, Europe (EFIAP) in 1983, followed by Master Honour EFIAP in 1986.

He co-authored Some South Indian Butterflies and another book on Silent Valley. His photographs and articles have been published in international journals and magazines including Sanctuary and National Geographic, said Mr. Arun, who is a collector and expert on fossils. 

The frog Raorchestes jayarami and the spider Myrmarachne jayaramani are named after him. ‘Insects to Infinity’ is a documentary on Jayaram and his works. His last rites will be held in Coimbatore on Monday.