Yashodha is finally chasing her “bohemian calling”

Kaylah Joelle Baker

After spending years allowing her conservative risk-adverse side to take control of her life, Yashodha Boopalan is now ready to pave a new way for her future.

Drawn to photographs as a child, she would flick endlessly through family photo albums before she was then old enough to capture her own snaps with a camera her mother gave her and pocket money she saved up for rolls of film.

It was as this love and passion reignited as an adult that she decided there was no time like the present to finally “fuel [her] passion formally.”

“I did a business degree and then got into event management and education training but I always had a creative side simmering. I did classical dance, painting and drawing, but never had the confidence to say, ‘I want to do photography and only that’,” she said.

“Going into my adult married life with children and having travelled, I have now reached a stage where it’s time to answer that bohemian calling in me.”

After attending information sessions at the Photography Studies College (PSC) and hearing some lecturers speak, Ms Boopalan said she felt an unrealised dream was reaching some fruition.

As a mature-age student, Ms Boopalan is not putting any pressure on herself to have a full-time career in photography, but is just excited to see where this unexpected turn in her life is taking her.

“I am in my third year of my Advanced Diploma of Photography and it is like I have found my calling. Whether this translates into a vocation from a career perspective, that’s not really important to me,” she said.


If it becomes a natural by-product of this journey I am on then great, but I am just happy that I found a path that I am going to be on for the rest of my life.


Adopting an open-minded approach to the course, Ms Boopalan has never been one to put her photography style into a defined box, instead she said she wass drawn to portraying an “aesthetic and ambiguous narrative.”

“Each project I do is quite personal for me in different degrees, but I always want them to engage, attract and even seduce the viewer to think, feel, respond and to question. That’s what I want my work to do,” she said.

“Life in itself inspires me – people who cross my path, exchanges I have, experiences I go through.”

From a series that focused on depicting the emotional states people go through when they lose someone, to a landscape series on unrequited love and a self-portrait exercise questioning women’s quest for youth and beauty, Ms Boopalan’s work is truly a display of her heart and soul.

She said that as an Australian who was born in Malaysia with Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry, her culture and background also strongly influenced her work.

“How certain things resonate with us, the way we respond to things and how we interpret is very often a subconscious response from our culture and upbringing or background,” Ms Boopalan said. “Drilling this down further to me in particular and in relation to photography, I feel the diversity in the make-up of who I am and it has equipped me – pardon the pun – with a lens that’s multi-focal.”

While emotive work is intrinsic to her nature, Ms Boopalan said the course was also helping her to recognise the powerful union of technique and feel.

“This course is equipping me to ‘marry’ my heart and head when it comes to photography. This powerful union of technique and feel is equipping me to better express and communicate what I call the chaotic harmony in my head,” she said.

“To have a creative outlet that allows you to escape the daily routine, lose time, grow, communicate, create, share and invoke emotion, is there much else anyone can hope for?” •

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Captions: Portrait diptych – a visual narrative depicting the lengths women take and subject themselves to in the quest for youth and beauty, and to what end? 

Image from a series called You Left, which explores the myriad of emotional states we journey through when we lose someone.

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