Farmers in the frame

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Harpreet Singh tells Shveata Chandel Singh about his field day with the camera in the heartlands of Punjab

The name’s Harpreet Singh, but you can call him ‘Harp Farmer’. The son of a farmer from Nadalon in Punjab, Harp, a hobby photographer, says there’s a reason behind his name change. “When I was growing up on the farm, I noticed that caste barriers came into play whenever surnames were mentioned. The surnames divided people. So, being the son of a farmer, I decided to change my surname to ‘Farmer’- a term used for the ‘agricultural class’ thereby eradicating all the caste barriers,” says Harp, now an established music/video director, actor and cinematographer.

Harp, who was in Melbourne recently on work, will be holding an exhibition of his work on the lives of farmers in Punjab at the Griffith Sikh Games scheduled for this weekend.

“I was always fascinated by the beauty of Punjab. Nature, village life and portraits are the three things I love to capture through my lens. The vast fields in Punjab, farmers engaged in their fields in different activities, the simple lifestyle of the villagers… I wanted people to share in my culture,” says Harp, who was spurred into photography thanks to his brother who gave him a digital camera.

“I used to devote hours to get one perfect shot. Landscape photography requires creativity, passion as well as perfect timing to capture the most amazing moments. It also taught me patience,” says Harp, who has held three exhibitions in India so far.

When people began appreciating his photographs, Harp graduated to making short documentaries of Punjab’s landscape. “That led to an opportunity to be a music/video director,” says Harp, who has created music videos for several numbers such as Bhan Singh by Raj Kakra, Sweater by Aarsh Benipal, and Changa Ae by Bir Singh.

Meanwhile, says Harp, his acting career seems to have taken off thanks to Aman Brar, a Punjab-based director who offered him a role in a Punjabi film titled Jugni. Although the film is still in its post-production stage and will release sometime this year, Harp has already acted in two other films — Vair and Kuvela — which will also hit the box office in 2015. “I have also worked in a documentary by Melbourne writer, director and producer Alex Singh,” adds Harp.

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