Light & Life Academy: Teaching the Art & Science of Photography
Light & Life Academy
Light & Life Academy

The famous Photographer, Peter Rose Pulham once said, “If photography is used merely as a technical process to record some visual fact, it is an appendage to science. However, if it is used as an expression of emotions that’s personal to each individual…it becomes art.” Indeed, photography is a blend of science and emotions, which is ultimately displayed in the form of art.

In India, there is little or no emphasis given on pursuing photography as a career. The older generation still prefers traditional career options. But, the current generation has liberated itself from these confined thoughts. That being said, there are currently very few dedicated, full-facility professional photography schools in India and LLA is right at the forefront.

The idea to establish LLA took shape around the year 1998 and saw the light of the day in the year 2001. As there was no full-fledged Photography Institute offering professional photography education in India students had to go abroad to learn professional photography and this came at a huge cost. Light & Life Academy (LLA) was conceived with the objective of providing high quality professional photography education at an affordable cost in India. A lot of thought went into the selection of the location, the design of the building, the facilities on campus and the curriculum to be offered.

Nestled in the lap of Ooty in Tamil Nadu, LLA is a not-for-profit education trust. It received its initial support from Kodak India & Eastman Kodak, USA, LMW – Coimbatore, Calumet – USA, Photoquip – India, ZenTask – India and Gretag Imaging – Switzerland.

The Founders of LLA

The Founders of LLA are Iqbal Mohamed and Anuradha Iqbal. Iqbal is one of the leading professional photographers in the country. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Loyola College (Chennai) and an MBA from the University of Madras. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography, California USA.

With an experience of over three decades as a professional photographer, Iqbal has worked extensively with advertising brands, FMCG, automobiles and so on. His work ranges from commemorating the 1000-year-old Thanjavur Temple, to the UNESCO World Heritage projects called ‘Nilgiris Mountain Railway’ and ‘Chola Architecture’.

Anuradha is a marketing and advertising professional with a decade long professional experience. She has a post-graduate degree in economics from Mumbai University. She also has a Diploma in Advertising and Marketing. With her enormous experience, she helps in planning and operations at LLA.

 Courses at LLA

Currently, LLA offers PG Diploma Program in Professional Photography and Diploma in Travel & Nature Photography. The PG Diploma Program is for those who have a very high level of interest and passion in photography and want to make a career as a freelance photographer. The diploma program is designed for those who love to travel, see places, meet people, capture memories and share their experiences.

Campus & Facilities

Unlike other campuses, LLA provides an ambience of a modern gurukul. Situated at an altitude of about 7000 feet above sea level, the campus is a 60,000 plus sq.ft facility in an area of 3 acres. Set atop a mountain in the lap of nature, it ensures that students pursue their course in an atmosphere that is best suited for photography.

The LLA campus is custom designed by one of India’s most celebrated architects Mr. Jaisim. It is a structure that blends beautifully with its surroundings. The natural scenic beauty, the quality of light available here and the spectacular view of the Ketti Valley makes it the most conducive environment to learn photography. The academy limits its yearly intake to 40 students per course to ensure that each student gets the best, in terms of attention and facilities.

Professional Exposure

LLA’s curriculum is designed such that students are free to explore their innate strengths. LLA believes that in order to fully understand photography, one should understand light and life equally. Pedagogy goes hand in hand with corridor conversations, field trips, interactions with people from different streams of society, cultural and social service activities.

Apart from regular academics, the students at LLA are frequently exposed to seminars and lectures by eminent guest speakers drawn from different streams of life. This helps the students to enrich themselves and broaden their horizons. It also ensures that knowledge about new technology automatically gets assimilated into the student’s life. Along with this, LLA has recently launched an online platform for alumni so that the alumni can get in touch with each other as well as the academy.

“Learning is also enhanced through our encouragement of peer to peer interaction as well as our engagement with the industry. This ensures that students are industry-ready when they graduate from the Academy. On the basis of its own credibility and the high level of success of our Alumni in the real world, LLA has been recognized by the industry,” says Iqbal.

Apart from the normal curriculum, LLA strives to inculcate the importance of being a morally responsible human being first. Every year, the college and students contribute significantly to social outreach initiatives in general and the welfare of the people of Nilgiris in particular.

The students, along with the founders of LLA, are involved in teaching government school children the importance of arts and photography. They participate in public awareness campaigns such as encouraging people to vote wisely and also get involved in organizing new experiences for residents of old age homes.

LLA further wants to bring out the best from its students and contribute towards the welfare of society through their profession – photography.

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