Bandu Gunaratne

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Bandu Gunaratne
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Matugama, Sri Lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
CitizenshipSri Lanka

Bandu Gunaratne (born 1951) is a Sri Lankan society and celebrity photographer. His photography career started in 1972 and since then, He has won many international photo competitions.

Early life and education

Was born in 1951 to teacher parents, in Bondupitiya, Kalutara District, Matugama electorate, Western Province, Sri Lanka. Preliminary education was from Ananda Shastralaya, Matugama,[1] Sri Lanka. In 1967 he could achieve a ‘Photographer’ badge in Scouting, at the above college and this may be his “first reading of A,B & C” in Photography. In 1970, at the time Bandu was undergoing his GCE A’Levels at Ananda Shastralaya, Kotte he was fortunate to buy his first camera, a Zeiss-Ikon medium format folding type camera[2], the cost of which was borne by his beloved mother.



He joined People’s Bank(Sri Lanka)[3], a Sri Lankan state bank, its International Division in 1971. In 1973 he bought his first SLR camera, a Minolta SR-7. It was a milestone as Bandu was appointed as the Bank’s official Photographer in 1975 in addition to his routine bank duties. He had the opportunity to photograph all the bank’s ceremonies, contributed to the bank’s publications ‘Economic Review’, ‘Bankuwai Obai’, ‘Samupakaraya’, and also the Bank’s Annual Report. Later, he was absorbed into the Publicity Department of the People’s Bank because of his photography talents. After a service of 27 years, Gunaratne lodged his resignation papers, while he was serving as a Deputy Manager, before the usual retirement date, to dedicate the rest of his life to Photography. While Bandu was in the bank he photographed his first wedding assignment in 1972 using his Zeiss-Ikonmedium format camera[4]. After purchasing several SLR cameras from time to time, he continued photographing wedding ceremonies while in the bank, during free time, utilizing his annual leave. Gunaratne became a renowned wedding photographer in Sri Lanka and won several awards in the ‘Best Wedding Photographer’ contest organized by Photochrome and Tudor Photographic Group of the UK. He also won the grand award ‘Best Bridal Photographer of the year’ in a contest organized by Millers Ltd[5] and Kodak in 1996. Bandu pioneered to introduce outdoor wedding portrait photography with nature in an era hand-painted and black backgrounds were much popular among wedding photographers.

Into the Creative Art Photography

Bandu joined the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka[6], the oldest photographic society in Sri Lanka, in 1982 & The National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka[7] in 1992. The society environment motivated him to start his journey in to Creative Art Photography. In 1985 he participated in the photographic competition organized by the People’s Bank Art Circle which was his first appearance in a photo competition. He won the 1st. prize and the 3rd. prize which was significant as it was his first Award in a Photography competition. In 1986 he underwent TV and Film production course conducted by O.C.I.C. Sri Lanka and at the Graduation Ceremony he was the Winner of the ‘Best Sound-Slide Award’[8]. Thereafter he started winning awards such as ‘SingLanka’ trophy for the best B&W at the annual photography exhibition of the National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka, ‘Bhatt Silver Award’; ‘Durrent Award’ & ‘Lorensz Andree Award’ of the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka.| image Gunaratne joined The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1992[9], India International Photographic Council in 1993[10], Photographic Society of Singapore in 2001[11], Photographic Society of America in 2005[12], The British Professional Photographers Associates in 2005[13], Crossing Bridges Photography Community in 2012, Global Photographic Union in 2013[14], Asian Photographic Union in 2020[15] as he was keen in stepping beyond oceans to explore International Photographic Art. Since 1993 he conquered International Photography arena as a result so many works of Gunaratne were exhibited in a number of foreign countries and was awarded with numerous international accolades.


  • Bandu was qualified as AFIAP in 2007 after a gap of 8 years a Sri Lankan was awarded with AFIAP and subsequently EFIAP in 2010[17], distinctions offered by the Federation of International Photographic Art.[18]
  • Bandu’s pictures and articles have been published in international publications such as ‘RPS Journal’, ‘Portfolio Two’ of Royal Photographic Society, ‘Discover the Royal Photographic Society’, ‘Photo Asia’, ‘Asian Photography’, ‘Smart Photography’ and the Sri Lankan Airlines inflight magazine ‘The Serendib’. Gunaratne was the official photographer for ‘Wedding Bells’ and ‘Mangala Seenu’ magazines in which he was responsible for the cover photograph and the cover story.
  • He has participated and represented Sri Lanka in Photography related conferences, workshops, seminars, gatherings and trade fairs from time to time held in India, Singapore, Germany, U.K., U.S.A., Indonesia, Philippines, Morocco, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Australia.
  • Gunaratne diverted and improved his skills in photography contest judging. He has served in jury panels as a jury member in numerous local organizations, universities, schools, societies, government departments etc, while he has judged 21 International Photography competitions home and abroad. Bandu was recognized and was popular as a neutral jury member.
  • Bandu has served in the executive committee of the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka in 1992 ~ 1993 and 2007 ~ 2009.[19]
  • He served as a member of the Board of Directors of National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka from 1994 to 1996.[20]
  • Bandu is a founder member of the Institute of Sri Lankan Photographers[21] and served the Council from it’s inception in 1994 and as the Hony. Secretary from 2001 to 2004 and thereafter 2020-21.
  • Was a member of the Advisory committee from the beginning in formulation of N.V.Q. standards for the title ‘Photographer’ at the National Apprentice & Industrial Training Authority of Sri Lanka.[22]
  • He has served as a member of the State Advisory Board for Photography for four years.
  • Served as a visiting lecturer at the Image Art Department of the University of Kelaniya.
  • Has served as a mentor in more than 50 local Photography Workshops and Seminars organized by government departments, non govt organizations, private sector institutions, schools, photo clubs and universities in Sri Lanka.
  • Presently Gunaratne is serving as a visiting lecturer of Photography (English medium), accomplished for five consecutive years, at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa; as a lecturer at Sri Lanka College of Journalists[23] and the National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka.[24]
  • Gunaratne is the Country Leader for Crossing Bridges – Photography Community of nine Asian countries and is the Country representative and World Photography Center Director for Global Photographic Union.[25]
  • He is a Fellow of Institute of Sri Lankan Photographers and a Life Member;
  • Excellence of Federation of International Photographic Art;
  • Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain;[26]
  • Associate of India International Photographic Council and a Life Member;
  • Licentiate of British Professional Photographers Associates;
  • Gold & Bronze Exhibitor of Asia Photographers Union and a Life Member;
  • Honorary Fellow of National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka and a Life Member;
  • Honorary Fellow of National Association of Photographers of Sri Lanka;

& a Life Member of Photographic Society of Sri Lanka.

  • Apart from Bandu Gunaratne’s dedication to photography education and competition judging, his main interests in photography are Wedding, Portrait, Nature, Creative Art, Architecture, Photoshop, and Coral Painter editing.


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