Edmund Sumner films black-granite Hindu temple in India

Architectural photographer Edmund Sumner's latest film uses drones to capture Sameep Padora & Associates' recently completed Hindu temple complex in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Filmed over the course of two days at the Temple of the Steps, the video is a collaboration between Sumner, the building's architects and Kasper Bjørke, who composed the soundtrack.

"I wanted to create a piece of work informed by intuition rather than logic," Sumner told Dezeen.

"The soundtrack was crucial," he continued. "It was very much a collaboration with Kasper Bjørke who immediately understood the piece and what I was trying to convey. He explained that [his music] was written for a friend who had passed away, so the scene and meditative nature of the imagery matched well."

Temple to Balaji & Varahaswamy in Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India, by Sameep Padora & Associates
Edmund Sumner used drones to capture the Temple of the Steps in India on film

The film combines camera footage with drone footage to show the Hindu temple complex, which was built near the village of Nandyal, from all angles.

Partially surrounded by a moat that was created by diverting waste water from a nearby quarry, the temple is formed of three stepped structures made from stacked slabs of black limestone.

The complex's two shrines are topped with towers, while an elongated building contains the priest's quarters and a kitchen for preparing offerings.

Temple to Balaji & Varahaswamy in Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh, India, by Sameep Padora & Associates
The Hindu temple complex is located near the village of Nandyal

Sumner, who is known for his stills photography, created the film as part of a series of recent videos in which he is experimenting and learning about the moving image.

"I'm new to film but very excited about the possibilities, after 20 years of shooting stills it's quite liberating being a 'rookie' again," said Sumner.

"The film is a celebration of the community and a testimony to the simpler, joyful things in life," he continued. "Shot just before the pandemic struck, it's a happy scene and a shoot I'll never forget."

Read more about Temple of the Steps ›


Film credits:

Film: Edmund Sumner
Soundtrack: Kasper Bjørke Quartet, The Antiphon (Epilogue), taken from the album The Fifty Eleven Project released on Kompakt Records