Unni Krishnan Pulikkal

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Unni Krishnan Pulikkal, a master fine art and nature photographer who lives in Kerala, India, was born in 1969, in a remote Thrissurian village Chettichal. He was trained in modern medicine, which he still practices in his rural clinic at Codali. His involvement in art dates back to his childhood days when he started drawing with pencils and charcoals, water colours and then moved on to acrylics and oils in his college days, with many certificates of merits and awards to his credit. Later, under the influence of images by great photographers like Ansel Adams, he shifted his creative showground to photography in early 1998. With a rich background in fine arts, it was quite an innate spontaneous process for him to capture great imagery with his photographic tools, always adding his creative thoughts to enrich what the external eyes visualized.

In his pursuit for quality image-making, he came across much recognition as a natural outcome of his perseverance. The Royal Photographic Society, London, awarded him their prestigious title ARPS (Associate of Royal Photographic Society) in 2008; the Better Photography Magazine voted him one among the Top Ten Wildlife Photographers of the Nation in Oct.2007; the Limca Book of Records selected him for a record in Nature category as “the first Indian to exhibit butterfly photographs in the prestigious Cleveland Museum of Natural Hisoty, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, in 2007”. Many of his work have been published nationally and internationally. His photographic work has appeared in reputed magazines like Better Photography, Times Journal of Photoraphy, Discover India, Naturalli Magazine, Outlook Traveller, Fotowide, Fototrax , Swagat magazine of Air India etc., with many of his images appearing on the front cover. His scientific work on the biology of many butterflies of the Western Ghats has received much acclaim among the scientific community and Bombay Natural History Society’s Journal has accepted his scientific paper for publication. Unni Pulikkal, a member of National Geographic Society, is the founder director of the Butterfly Art Foundation, India, (www.bafindia.org) a visual arts organization of Kerala. His award wining work has been exhibited in many galleries around the nation as well.

The greatest influence on his photographic work was his experience with Ansal Adams’ original black and whites in the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2007. The same year, he got further inspiration from the work of America’s master photographer and platinum print maker Herbert Ascherman Jr of Cleveland, who trained him in the aesthetics and techniques of archival print making.

Member and Associate (ARPS), Royal Photographic Society, UK .
Member, National Geographic Society, USA
Life Member, The Butterfly Art Foundation, India

Exhibitions of Photography and Nature

1985 -95: Various Group Exhibitions pf Photoraphy and Art in and outside Kerala, India.
1987-Solo Exhibition of Paintings, Medical College, Thrissur,Kerala, India
1996-All India Exhibition on ‘Man and Nature’ conducted by Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy, Kerala, India
1997-Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, International Youth Canter, New Delhi,
1997-’98- State Exhibition of Art 1997-’98 Kerala Laltiha Kala Academy, Kerala, India
1998-Solo Exhibition of paintings and drawings – Chithram Art Gallery, Cochin, Kerala,
1998- Artists against Cultural Invasion’ Exhibition (Group) – Kerala Sahithya Academy, Thrissur, Kerala,
2000 – Solo exhibition of Photographs and drawings at Lalith Kala Academy Gallery, Kerala, India.
2001-Slide show on Nature, Cosmos Club, Chalakudy, Kerala, India
2001-Sixth All India Salon of Photography Exhibition 2001, Certificate of Merit
2001- 13th All India Salon of Photography
2002 – Best Work Prize in Internet International Art/ Photo competition 2002
2003- 14th All India Salon of Photography (KERALA SALON ’03), Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala, India
2004- India International Photographic Council Annual Photo Contest and Exhibition
2004- India Print Circuit -New Delhi, Bhusaval, Jodhpur and Bhurhanpur. IIPC Medal for Photography 2004 (P.N. MEHRA MEMORIAL AWARD)
2004- Humanity Photo Awards Exhibition 2004 organized by China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA) and UNICEF, Beijing
2004- First National Nature and wildlife Exhibition of Photography 2004- Bhubaneswar ,
2004- Fourth PSJ All India Salon of Photography- Jabalpur
2005 – Solo Exhibition of Photography, Durbar Hall Art Centre, Cochin
2005 – BAF International Print Exhibition of Art and Photography, Thrissur, Calicut, Cochin
2005 – India Circuit Exhibition of Photography by India International Photographic Council – Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Jodhpur
2005 – Global Eco-meet Photographic Exhibition, Thiruvananthapuram
2006 – Salon 2006 Exhibition, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
2006 – State Exhibition of Art, Kerala, India
2006 – BAF International Photo-Art Exhibition-2005, 2006
2007 – Exhibition of Butterfly Photographs-
THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, OHIO, US – from June 15th 2007 to Aug 15th. He was the first Indian to exhibit in the prestigious museum.
2008 – International Print Exhibition of Photography: The Butterfly Art Foundation India
2009 – Photography Camp at Vazhachal, Kerala, organized by the Butterfly Art Foundation


2003 Aug : Kerala Diary: Photo feature on 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: South Indian Bank Greeting Cards – 2006
2006: Kerala Forest Research Institute Brochure – 2006
2006: BAF India Brochure – 2006
2006: Kerala Solvent Extractions Ltd. Greeting Cards – 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 wild life 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: Jury member of PC WORLD WEB AWARDS -2008 by PC WORLD Magazine.
Nature photographs published in many web sites including that of Royal Photographic Council
Many travel & photo features published in Discover India Magazine, New Delhi.
Cover photo of Outlook Traveller Magazine, July 2009


Photo-documentation of Butterflies of 11 Wildlife Sanctuaries of Kerala
Study on the Biology and Life-stage documentation, first time in history, of extremely rare and endemic butterfly of the Western Ghats of India: THE PALMKING BUTTERFLY Amathusia phidippus. The scientific paper on this study is in press of prestigious Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) Journal.
Currently working on the biology of Nilgiri Tiger butterfly ( Parantica nilgiriensis) and sexual dimorphism in Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita)

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