A 3000 Year Old Cultural Heritage Preserved Through Photography

All images by Reza Akram. Used with a Creative Commons License.

I am sure you have heard of the popular martial arts like Shaolin Kung Fu (from China) and Capoeira (from Brazil), but not many of you know about Angampora, which is a form of philosophical martial arts that originated from Sri Lanka an estimated 3000 years ago. Angampora is an art of philosophical boxing and combat fighting style. Angam (for short) often simulates the movements and postures of different animals found in Sri Lanka, the lion, and a mythical bird called the gurula.

And that’s where Reza Akram steps in. Reza has made documenting and propagating awareness of Angampora culture to the world his bold mission. He embarked on a personal photography project dedicated to capturing Angam fighting in action. As a result, he has travelled to several rural places in Sri Lanka and worked closely with the local practitioners of Angampora for his photography of the Angam fighters in action. The martial art fighting sequences were meticulously staged to simulate actual Angam fighting in mid action.

The practice of nerve point attacks

The practice of nerve point attacks.

In his series called Project Angampora, Reza utilised the wide angle perspective prominently and positioned himself extremely close to the Angam fighters, creating a sense of being smacked dangerously right in the middle of action in the fighting shots. His choice of high contrast black and white representation was spot on to strongly emphasise on the ferocity of the fights. Off camera flash was tastefully employed to add layers of depth and intensity to the Angam fighters.

Reza’s series of Angampora fighters showcases action photography done beautifully with a clear and strong purpose. You can view the full photo essay here. 

"When life is victorious, there is birth; when it is thwarted, there is death. A warrior is always engaged in a life-and-death struggle for Peace"

“When life is victorious, there is birth; when it is thwarted, there is death. A warrior is always engaged in a life-and-death struggle for peace.”

This combat form that dates back over 2,500 years and myths and folklore that goes as far as 33,000 years that speak of the ‘Angam Satan Kalawa’ (the art of fighting named Angam)

This combat form that dates back over 2,500 years, and myths and folklore that go as far back as 33,000 years speak of the ‘Angam Satan Kalawa’ (the art of fighting named Angam).

The Master

The Master

ac206014442209.5628405c878bf

"Generally speaking, the Way of a warrior is resolute acceptance of death". Miyamato Musashi

“Generally speaking, the Way of a warrior is resolute acceptance of death.”–Miyamato Musashi

The use of staves, knives and swords in the practice of Amgampora.

The use of staves, knives, and swords in the practice of Amgampora.