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Harsha Vadlamani

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Harsha Vadlamani
🏳️ NationalityIndian
💼 Occupation
🏅 AwardsAmnesty International UK Media Award
🌐 Websitehtttps://
🥚 TwitterTwitter=
label65 = 👍 Facebook

Harsha Vadlamani (born 1985), is an award-winning Indian documentary photographer, photojournalist and National Geographic Explorer [1] known for his work from rural India. His work has appeared in National Geographic[2], The New York Times[3], The Wall Street Journal[4] [5], GEO[6], Al Jazeera[7], Le Monde[8], Financial Times[9], CNN[10], BBC[11], Scientific American[12] [13], Nature[14], Foreign Affairs[15], The Indian Express[16], The Caravan[17] and several other publications.

He is the recipient of Amnesty International UK Media Award for Photojournalism in 2022..[18] for his work documenting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic's second wave in central India in 2021. The work was supported by a grant from National Geographic Society.

Early life[edit]

Vadlamani was born in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh in 1985 and spent his formative years in several towns on India's east coast. After graduating in Chemical Engineering from Acharya Nagarjuna University in 2006, he worked at Infosys Technologies in Mysore and Pune. He bought a Sony Ericsson K750i mobile phone with his first salary[19] and developed an interest in photography while taking pictures on the phone's two-megapixel camera. He quit his job two years later in 2008 to pursue a career in photography.


In 2008, Vadlamani began working on several projects commissioned by India HIV/AIDS Alliance, HLFPPT, Public Health Foundation of India and other non-profits, photographing the social, cultural and economic issues faced by key populations in HIV/AIDS interventions in southern India.[20] In 2011[21], he founded Galli, an online publication that featured the work of emerging and established photojournalists from India.[22]

He first gained recognition for his work 'For a Handful of Stardust'[23] on the aspiring actors in Tollywood, shot between 2011 and 2015. In 2013, he documented the Muria indigenous people who were caught in the crossfire between Maoist insurgents and state-sponsored Salwa Judum vigilantes in central India[24]. While photographing on assignments for several Indian and international publications, he continued to work on his personal documentary projects.

He photographed the protests that erupted following the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar in the University of Hyderabad[25] in January 2016. In the summer of 2016, he spent spent close to two months photographing in the drought-prone districts of Beed, Latur and Osmanabad in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, India.[26][27] The same year, he began working on a long-term project documenting the aftermath of Green Revolution in Punjab[28].

In 2017, he traveled to the submergence areas of the Sardar Sarovar Project in Madhya Pradesh, India.[29] He documented how thousands of Barela indigenous people and other communities were living dangerously close to the flooding backwaters of the Narmada River in the absence of proper rehabilitation and resettlement measures. He also started working on his multiyear-long series Chalo Dilli[30] the same year, interviewing and photographing protestors that travel from across India to Jantar Mantar Street, New Delhi's designated protest site. In 2019, he published his work on Andhra Pradesh's failed attempts to build a new capital at Amaravati[31].

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, he held a print sale to support organisations helping migrant workers in India[32]. In 2022, he received a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists Grant from National Geographic Society to document the impact of the pandemic in rural India. He traveled for over 40 days on his motorcycle in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, documenting how the pandemic affected remote rural and indigenous communities as well as the work of several committed healthcare professionals in battling the virus[33][34]

In 2022, he travelled to southern Odisha on assignment for Scientific American[35], to photograph the last shamans of the Sora tribe. He worked closely with the anthropologist Piers Vitebsky, who wrote the piece based on his association and work with Sora for many decades.

In 2023, Vadlamani was awarded a second grant by the National Geographic Society, this time to continue his work documenting the impact of Green Revolution in the Punjab region of India.


  • Amnesty International UK Media Award for Photojournalism, 2022.[18]
  • Asian Press Photo, Gold in Contemporary Issues, 2022.[36]
  • Chennai Photo Biennale, Winner, News and Current Affairs: Single Image, 2021.[37]
  • Chennai Photo Biennale, Srishti Award for Documentary Projects, 2022. [38]

External Links[edit]


  1. "Harsha Vadlamani | National Geographic Explorer Directory". Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  2. "See how rural India has been overrun by the pandemic's second wave". Science. 2021-06-18. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  3. Romig, Rollo (2015-07-01). "What Happens When a State Is Run by Movie Stars?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  4. Chaudhuri, Saabira; Abrams, Corinne (2018-07-23). "IKEA's Strategy in India: If We Build It, They Will Come". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  5. Choudhury, Santanu (2016-08-08). "India's Skills Shortfall Challenges Modi's Manufacturing Vision". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  6. (2022-04-07). "Dieses Start-up will die Logik der Modeindustrie brechen". (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  7. "Harsha Vadlamani | Al Jazeera News | Today's latest from Al Jazeera". Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  8. "Tiruppur, capitale indienne du tricot, tente de survivre à la pollution de ses teintureries". Le (in français). 2020-02-25. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  9. "Spark of inspiration". Financial Times. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  10. Sutter, John D. (2016-08-22). "Why are India's farmers killing themselves?". CNN. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  11. "In pictures: India election campaign's enduring images". BBC News. 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  12. Vitebsky, Piers. "This Spiritual Tradition Could Be the Most Poetic Bereavement Therapy Ever Documented". Scientific American. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  13. Gadgil, Madhav. "Sacred Groves: An Ancient Tradition of Nature Conservation". Scientific American. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  14. "Scientists in Pakistan and Sri Lanka bet their futures on China". 2019-05-01. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  15. "India's Farmers, Dried Out and Displaced". Foreign Affairs. 2016-11-03. ISSN 0015-7120. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  16. "In Telangana, caught between life and debt". The Indian Express. 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  17. "Harsha Vadlamani | The Caravan". Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Amnesty International UK Media Awards 2022 - Winners Announced". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  19. "This Hyderabad photographer is just back from shooting the farmers' protests in Delhi. This is what he found". Edex Live. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  20. "Bio | Photojournalist And Documentary Photographer In India". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  21. "Worth a thousand words - Times of India". The Times of India. Feb 16, 2013. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  22. "Postnoon E-Paper for 20 November 2012 by Scribble Media & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. - Issuu". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  23. "Tollywood Blues | PDN Photo of the Day". 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  24. "The Muria Isn't Home". 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  25. "Rohith Vemula, Dalit scholar hanged himself in protest". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  26. "Drought, suicide and India's water train". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  27. "Drought, Displacement, Debt". Roads & Kingdoms. 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  28. "Aftermath Of Green Revolution In Punjab | Harsha Vadlamani". 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  29. Vadlamani, Harsha. "As Modi Inaugurates the Sardar Sarovar Dam, Villagers Await Rehabilitation Amid Rising Waters". The Caravan. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  30. "Chalo Dilli | Protestors In India| Harsha Vadlamani". 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  31. Vadlamani, Harsha. "What remains after the Andhra Pradesh government decided to build an ill-advised capital". The Caravan. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  32. Kumar, Surya Praphulla (2021-05-07). "Cheering from the sidelines: acts of kindness for Covid-19 warriors". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  33. @NatGeoUK (2021-06-21). "See how rural India has been overrun by the pandemic's second wave". National Geographic. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  34. Vadlamani, Harsha. "Healthcare efforts fighting the COVID-19 crisis in rural India". The Caravan. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  35. Vitebsky, Piers. "This Spiritual Tradition Could Be the Most Poetic Bereavement Therapy Ever Documented". Scientific American. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  36. "Contemporary Issues - Asian Press Photo 2022". Asian Art Association Singapore. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  37. "CPB Photo Awards 2021 Awardees". Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  38. "CPB Foundation". Retrieved 2023-05-20.

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