Born 1969. Since 1995, Unni Pulikkal S. has lived and worked in Thrissur, Kerala, in Southern India. Dr. Pulikkal’s contemporary photographic work is mostly conceptual photo-based art, creating archival pigment prints which are sometimes subjected to process-based manipulations such as over-painting, pigment toning, and other physical alterations. He is also working with a large-format film-based field camera, creating the final prints with historic photographic processes like cyanotype and platinum-palladium printing.
In addition to his position as the founding director of PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography, India, Dr. Pulikkal is a senior fellow of the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India in Creative Photography and Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, London, England.
Dr. Pulikkal’s work has been exhibited internationally which includes the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio, USA and the Industry and Film Museum in Wolfen, Germany. Dr. Pulikkal is an educator, lecturer, and an outspoken advocate of environmental education and social responsibility through photography.
Office, Memberships, Awards
- Founder & President, The Better Art Foundation, India, since 2014
- Director & Curator of Photography, PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography, since 2014
- Senior Fellow in Creative Photography, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, since 2013.
- Associate Member (ARPS, Associate of Royal Photographic Society), Royal Photographic Society, London, UK, since 2007
- Winner, ‘Excellence in Photography Award – 2016‘, by All Kerala Photographers’ Association, southern India.
- Best Short Documentary Award at the PARIS FILM FESTIVAL, 2021, for his film Making of Moss(Z)art.
- ‘Honorary Mention’ at DEEP FOCUS FILM FESTIVAL, Brooklyn, New York, for the same documentary.
- Life Member, Indian Medical Association, since 1995
2021: “A Generous Space” – Group show of photography at Hastings Contemporary, UK, organized by ASP, UK. The show features ‘Magnetic Rings’ by Unni Pulikkal S. chosen by Caroline Worthington, Director of the Royal Society of Sculptors, UK, for her curatorial project X SELECTS by ASP. The show runs from 25 November 2021 through 17 April 2022.
2019: ‘Transformations’ – Solo exhibition of photography. From September 11th through October 8th. Foothill galleries of the Photo Succession, Cleveland Heights, 2450 Fairmount Blvd. Ste. M291, Cleveland Heights 44106. OHIO, USA. As part of CLEVELAND PHOTO FEST-2019.
2018: ‘West Meets East’ – A two-person show of platinum-palladium prints in collaboration with Mr.Herbert Ascherman Jr. (USA) at the Loftworks Gallery, Cleveland, USA, as a collateral program during the Cleveland International Triennial of Contemporary Art – 2018 (August 3 – September 1, 2018)
2018: ‘Faces in the Forest’, a projected image exhibition in the tribal hamlet of Anappantham, Kerala, India (June 2, 2018). Documentary photographs from 1999 – 2005 about the Kadar Tribes of the area, in collaboration with Herbert Ascherman, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Organized by PhotoMuse-The Museum of Photography as part of its ART RETURNS Program.
2017: ‘I Speak for the Trees’, an exhibition of photography at the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, Blackheath, Australia (June 1 – July 30), curated by Len Metcalf. Group show of photographic triptychs by Herbert Ascherman Jr., Unni Pulikkal S., Tim Parkin, Mark Littlejohn and Len Metcalf.
2016: Exhibition of Indian Contemporary Wildlife Photography, Industry & Film Museum, Betterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. September 10 – October 30, 2016
2016: ‘Open Origins – Open Ends – 2016’, International Exhibition of Photography (Group), Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India (July 31-August 5, 2016)
2013: 10th Barnack International Biennial of Photography, a show supported by Leica Camera AG, Solms, organized by the Photographic Society of Germany at Gallery B (= Barnack) in Ruhlsdorf, Germany. The show later moved to Berlin, Wolfen, Potsdam and Schwedt.
2013: GREEN PERCEPTIONS – Exhibition of Photography (Group) at Doha, Qatar, June 2013
2013: ‘THE INDIAN EYE’: An retrospective exhibition of photographs by Unni Pulikkal S. at the INDUSTRY & FILM MUSEUM, WOLFEN, GERMANY, from 13 July 2013 through September 2013.
2012: ’INDIA CLOSE’ – UNNI PULIKKAL RETROSPECTIVE’, FOYER GALLERY at Freizeit Forum, Marzahner Promenade, BERLIN. Organized by the Photographic Society of Germany
2011: 9th Barnack International Biennial of Photography, a show supported by Leica Camera AG, Solms, organized by the Photographic Society of Germany at Gallery B in Ruhlsdorf, Germany.
2011: “TWO IN ONE” – Exhibition of Contemporary Photography, June 18th to July 6th, “Schmetterlingshorst”, Treptow-Kupenick, Berlin, Germany
2009: “Rhapsody in Abstraction” – Solo Exhibition of Fine Art Photographs at Chaithanya Art Gallery Cochin, Kerala, India
2009: Photography Camp & Exhibition at Vazhachal, Kerala, organized by the Butterfly Art Foundation
2008: International Print Exhibition of Photography: The Butterfly Art Foundation India, Thrissur, Kerala.
2007: Exhibition of Butterfly Photographs –THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, OHIO, US – from June 15th, 2007 to Aug 15th.
2006: BAF International Photo-Art Exhibition-2005, 2006, 2008 Various Group Exhibitions and Salons in India.
2006: State Exhibition of Art, Kerala, India
2006: Salon 2006 Exhibition, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, organized by The Photographic Society of India
2005: Global Eco-meet Photographic Exhibition, Thiruvananthapuram
2005: India Circuit Exhibition of Photography by India International Photographic Council – Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Jodhpur
2005: BAF International Print Exhibition of Art and Photography, Thrissur, Calicut, Cochin
2005: Solo Exhibition of Photography, Durbar Hall Art Centre, Cochin
2004: Fourth PSJ All India Salon of Photography- Jabalpur
2004: First National Nature and wildlife Exhibition of Photography 2004- Bhubaneswar , India
2004: Humanity Photo Awards Exhibition 2004 organized by China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA) and UNICEF, Beijing
2004: India Print Circuit -New Delhi, Bhusaval, Jodhpur and Bhurhanpur. IIPC Medal for Travel Photography 2004 (P.N. MEHRA MEMORIAL AWARD)
2004: India International Photographic Council Annual Photo Contest and Exhibition
2003: 14th All India Salon of Photography (KERALA SALON ’03), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
2002: Best Work Prize in Internet International Art/ Photo competition 2002
2001: Sixth All India Salon of Photography Exhibition 2001, Certificate of Merit 2001– 13th All India Salon of Photography
2000: Solo exhibition of Photographs and drawings at Lalith Kala Academy Gallery, Kerala, India.
1998: Solo Exhibition of paintings and drawings – Chithram Art Gallery, Cochin, Kerala, India
1998: Artists against Cultural Invasion’ Exhibition (Group) – Kerala Sahithya Academy, Thrissur, Kerala, India
1997: Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, International Youth Center, New Delhi, India
1997: ’98- State Exhibition of Art 1997-’98 Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy, Kerala, India
1996: All India Poster Exhibition on ‘Man and Nature’ conducted by Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy, Kerala, India
1985 -95: Various Group Exhibitions of drawings and paintings in and outside Kerala, India.
2003: Aug: Kerala Diary: Photo feature about the rural Kerala, Times Journal of Photography
2003: October: Aberrant Journeys and Scattered Images: Photo feature (Travel), Times Journal of Photography.
2004: Portfolio: Times Journal of Photography April 2004
2004: 2008: Various publications in many local Malayalam journals like PHOTOWIDE Magazine and dailies.
2006: Federal Bank Calendar-2006,
2006, 2007: Kerala Feeds Calendar- 2006, 2007
2006: Kerala Forest Research Institute, series of Brochures and books – 2006
2006: BAF India Brochures, websites, and catalogs – 2006
2007: Cover Photo of the Swagath Magazine of Air India, The Monsoon Special issue, July 2007
2007-2008: Numerous Photo-Features on Travel Photography in Fotowide Magazine, Kerala
2007: DAMSELS FROM HEAVEN : A Catalogue of Butterfly Photographs exhibited at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio, US.
2007: BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine featured him among the top ten wildlife photographers of India (Oct.2007)
2008: July. A ten page photo-feature on the Butterflies of Western Ghats in Discover India Magazine
2008: Photo-feature on South Indian Butterflies in Naturalli Magazine, Oct 2008
2008: Photo-story on the Wildlife of Kerala: WILD KERALA – Discover India Magazine July 2008
2008: A feature on his life and work in PhotoTracks Magazine Dec 2008
2009: Photo-story on the Birds of Kerala: Discover India Magazine Jan 2009.
2009: Nature photographs published in many websites including that of Royal Photographic Society
2009: A dozen travel & photo features published in Discover India Magazine, New Delhi.
2009: Cover photo of Outlook Traveller Magazine, July 2009
2009: Rhapsody in Abstraction, Catalogue of Photographs, Unni Pulikal. Foreword: Herbert Ascherman Jr. Essay: Vijayakumar Menon
2010: Catalogue of Photography: 1999 – 2009, unique edition, 381 pages, A4, custom printed by Unni Pulikkal on archival paper.
2010: Portfolio published in Best of World Photography Artists Book by Kennedy Publishing & Best of Artists, VA, USA.
2011: BIRDSCAPES OF THE SOUTH – Photo feature on the birds of Kerala in INDIA PERSPECTIVE MAGAZINE, June 2011 issue. Published by Media Transasia for the MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, GOV. of INDIA.
2011: ‘TWO in ONE’ – Catalogue of Photography (Monograph of Unni Pulikkal’s photographic diptychs)
2012: Photographs published in MEINE WELT MAGAZINE, GERMANY. Feb 2012 issue. Heft 2.Jahrgang 29. Herbst 2012.
2013: BEAUTY IN FLIGHT: Photo-feature on the Butterflies of Kerala. INDIA PERSPECTIVE MAGAZINE, March-April 2012 issue. Published by Media Transasia for the MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, GOV. of INDIA.
2013: CHITRAVUM CHINTHAYUM (Pictures and Perceptions) – in Koodu (Nest) Nature Magazine, Kerala, India from May 2013.
2013: Butterflies of Western Ghats of India – Photo-feature in Aranyakam Magazine published by the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Kerala.
2013: Butterflies of Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, Survey Report, Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department, Jan 2013
2013: Butterflies of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekkadu, Survey Report, Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department, Mar 2013
2014: ‘EVOLUTION: Catalogue of Photography 1999-2013′, Limited Edition, 220 pages, 1/4 demi size, all four colour on art paper. Foreword: Herbert Ascherman Jr. Essay: Vijayakumar Menon. A retrospective collection of pictorial and contemporary photography by Unni Pulikkal S..
2015: South Indian Butterflies Field Guide, Edited by K. Gunathilakaraj, T.N.A. Perumal, K.Jayaram, M.Ganesh Kumar, published by Crab Media and Marketing, Bangalore, for BNM Institute of Technology, Bengaluru. Contains more than 100 photographs by Unni Pulikkal. ISBN: 978-93-83698-03-5
2016: Diptychs – A Cultural Study. A monograph of photographic diptychs by Unni Pulikkal S. 102 pages, 28 x 20 cm, four colour, limited edition.
Jury & Curator
2008: Jury member of PC WORLD WEB AWARDS -2008 by PC World Magazine.
2005, 2006, 2008: Jury member, BAF International Photographic Exhibitions
2009 & 2010: Jury – Photographic Club of Indian Institute of Management, Warangal, Exhibitions.
2011:Jury member – All Kerala Photographers’ Association’s Annual Exhibition of Photography.
2014: Curator, India- Cultural Plurality, exhibition of photographs by various artists, PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography
2015: Jury, State Exhibition of Photography, Kerala Lalit Kala Academy. (Fine Arts Academy, Kerala)
2015: One-man Jury, ‘Photo-Now’, Annual Exhibition of contemporary photography by Artists’ Archive of Western Reserve (AAWR), Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
2015: Curator, GRADATION – Mid-career photographs by Herbert Ascherman Jr, exhibition of platinum-palladium prints and Silver Prints , PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography. From 26th February through March 20, 2015.
2015: Curator, 19th Century Stereographs , April 04 to April 20, PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography.
2015: Curator, OPEN ORIGINS – OPEN ENDS Edition 1 , exhibition of 30 photographs by 30 photographers. May 4 – May 18, PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography.
2015: Curator, OPEN ORIGINS – OPEN ENDS Edition 2 , exhibition of 40 photographs by 40 photographers organised by PhotoMuse, November 19 – 22, Kerala Lalit Kala Academy Gallery, Thrissur.
2016: Curator, OPEN ORIGINS – OPEN ENDS Annual Edition, International Exhibtion of Photography (Group), Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi, Kerala, India (July 31-August 5, 2016)
2016: Curator, Exhibition of Indian Contemporary Wildlife Photography, Industry & Film Museum, Betterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. September 10 – October 30, 2016
2017: Curator, ‘PATHOS‘, a group show of photography, PhotoMuse Rural Gallery, Kodaly, Thrissur, Kerala, India (June 19 – 30)
2018: Curator, ‘Wild Lyrics’, a four-person show of nature-based art photography by Praveen Mohandas, Seema Suresh, Krishnakumar Mechoor, and Linto John. Kerala Fine Arts Academy Gallery, Thrissur. July 8 -18, 2018
Workshops, Photo-Walks and Classes
2004-2014: Numerous classes, talks and workshops organized by BAF India
2014: Basic Photography Education Program, PhotoMuse Gallery, December 12.
2014: Photo Documentation and field study on Konkini community of Chettichal, Kerala, 26 December 2014
2014: Basic Photography Education Program, GHSS Chembuchira , December 24.
2015: Quality of Light, PhotoMuse Photography Camp, Chimony, Thrissur. June 27.
2015: The Art of Composition, PhotoMuse Photography Camp, Vazhachal, Thrissur. August 22.
2015: Insect Photography: PhotoMuse Nature Photography Camp, Chinnar, October 2,3,4.
2015: Photo-evaluation and Creative Criticism, PhotoMuse Workshop, Thrissur, August 1.
2015: The Art of Composition, Workshop organised by Photography Malayalam Qatar, Doha, September 11.
2015: The Magic of Composition, PhotoMuse Workshop, Aluva, October 25.
2015: The Art of Composition, Workshop organised by Westford Institute, Cochin, October 29.
2015: Understanding Natural Light & Composition, Workshop organised by FSO Muscat, Oman, November 27 & 28.
2016: Advanced Landscape Photography Workshop, Mentor, Three day camp at Vagamon. October 14, 15,16, 2016, organised by PhotoMuse – The Museum of Photography.
2017: Project Based Photography, talk in Hotel Periyar, Aluva June 4, 2017
2017: Photography Workshop, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. Cochin. (June 17., along with Praveen P. Mohandas).
2018: Chief mentor at Photography Workshop organized by Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy (Fine Arts Academy) and Creative Photographers’ Forum at Kalagramam, Kokkannanpaara, in Kannur, Kerala July 10 & 11, 2018
2020: Workshop on The History, Evolution, and the Practice of Photographic Composition in Doha, Qatar, organized by Photography Malayalam Qatar, in February 2020.
2020: The History, Evolution, and the Practice of Photographic Composition in Aluva, Kerala, India, organized by PhotoMuse-The Museum of Photography, in March 2020.
Various private collections in India, USA, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Royal Photographic Society Collection, London.
- Photo-documentation and study of Butterflies of 11 Wildlife Sanctuaries of Kerala
- Study on the Biology and Life-stage documentation of an extremely rare and endemic butterfly of the Western Ghats of India: THE PALMKING BUTTERFLY Amathusia phidippus. The scientific paper on this study was published in Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) Journal, April 2009.
- A scientific paper on the Biology of Nilgiri Tiger Butterfly, Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) Journal, Dec 2009.
- A two-year study on the ‘Influence of education, cultural background and previous art exposure on the appreciation of photographic diptychs and its critical analysis’ for the Ministry of Culture, Government of India as part a Senior Fellowship project in Creative Photography – 2015-16