Published: 22nd February 2021
This photo series follows a glass of tea travelling from one place to another. Here's how
We speak to Arun Kombai, a graphic designer and photographer, about his upcoming photo book and tea series on Instagram
For Arun Kombai, a glass of tea has more meaning than being just a simple evening beverage. "The world around a tea shop has always fascinated me. So much goes around it," he says. It is perhaps why he chose a glass of tea as a subject in his photo series. Head over to his Instagram page @theteaboy and you'll see a glass of tea posing on tree branches and on roadsides. "I wanted to portray how the world would be for a glass of tea, what would surround it and where it would go. It's almost as if the glass of tea represents me," says Arun.
While Arun has been shooting with the tea glass for over a year and a half, it is only in the past year that he began taking it seriously. So much so that he now has a book with photos from the series, where the glass of tea is seen travelling from one place to another. "It is a tea-table book called The Tripping Tea, akin to a coffee table book and has photos that I connected with emotionally and were very powerful. When I was shooting for the series, there were some photos just for fun, while some others were shot as a result of what I was feeling at the moment," says the 36-year-old. Apart from the cover photo, the book has a collection of 50 photos, handpicked by Arun. "I chose the vari glass because it symbolises growth and it is something I can relate to. It is the type of glass quintessential to tea shops," explains Arun.
A professional graphic designer, Arun knew that his photos not only had to tell a story but also be relatable. "I am not a professional photographer but my experience with graphic design has taught me about angles. The shot should be such that people could instantly connect to it," says Arun. While he shot several photos before the lockdown, he shot a lot more during and after it in Chennai, which is where he works, and Erode, his hometown.
More photos in the series: