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Another perspective Swiss traditions captured by a Sri Lankan refugee

Sasi Subramaniam, a refugee from Sri Lanka, has completed a photography diploma, which includes a thesis on Swiss traditions. For his project he has photographed 16 festivals across the country, shooting local customs and rituals. 

Before being forced to flee Sri Lanka in 2008, Sasi Subramaniamexternal link was a war reporter in his country. On his arrival in Switzerland, the authorities sent him and his wife to canton Glarus, where he currently lives and works. 

"I was never interested in popular cultures and rituals," he told swissinfo.ch in Glaris. "I don't even know the customs of my people. I was obsessed with politics.” 

In 2010, he was hired by a publishing house to contribute photographs to a book on Glarus’ traditions. By then, he had already worked as a freelance photographer for regional newspapers. This work made him realise how much he enjoyed observing people and their rituals with his camera. 

"This helped alleviate the pain that burned in my chest and gave me access to this strange world,” he declared. 

In his photos, he doesn’t just focus on traditions and customs. Subramaniam also pays special attention to small details captured at the perfect moment, where the composition, facial expression and light are in harmony. "What I like most are the children, who take these folk festivals very seriously and participate in them with great enthusiasm,” he added.

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SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

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