The animal kingdom fascinates Dr. P. Srinivasan.
There's nothing more exciting than watching the big cats in their natural environs. Even better when you can capture the wild in its myriad moods on camera. Ask Dr. P. Srinivasan, an avid wildlife photographer.
Even as he recounts the story behind each of the 70-odd photographs mounted on the walls of the Lalit Kala Akademi, the doctor's love for the animal kingdom is palpable. For his first ever exhibition, Dr. Srinivasan has chosen shots close to his heart. Inaugurated by friend and fellow wildlife photographer and cameraman Alphonse Roy, each of the frames takes visitors into the untamed world, complete with its glorious landscapes and beautiful inhabitants. “That's why I have called the exhibition ‘It's Their World.' All we are doing is trying to get a peek at it.”
Incidentally, the proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Jeevan Blood Bank and Research Centre, of which Dr. Srinivasan is chairman and founder trustee. The funds will help Jeevan in gaining quicker access to stem cells drawn from umbilical cord blood. The stem cells will be used to treat children with blood cancer and Thalassemia. It's a project as close to the doctor's heart as wildlife photography.
While doing full justice to his medical commitments, Dr. Srinivasan makes time to sling his Nikon D35 over his shoulder and take off on tours. He has travelled widely to various game sanctuaries and reserves across the country (Corbett, Tadoba, Bandhavgarh) and the open grasslands of Africa (Masai Mara, Ndutu, Serengati), besides Antarctica.
“For me, Africa is the place to be, a photographer's dream destination. The wildebeest migration is something that you have to see to believe. Similarly, the vast landscape offers the perfect setting for some great shots,” says Dr. Srinivasan, as he takes you through the exhibition.
Besides clicking pictures of his family during his growing years, the doctor did not have much to do with the camera. “I shot my first picture when I was 11. It was of my brother playing on the slide. Then I clicked here and there whenever time permitted. And after 1985, I did not click a single shot. Till 2005, when I visited Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary. And ever since, I have never stopped looking through the lens.”
That the big cats fascinate Dr. Srinivasan comes through in the large format frames. The lioness and her cub (See pic) caught in an affectionate moment against a green backdrop is stunning, to say the least. “It's my all-time favourite,” says the doctor. Not surprising! A cheetah trying to jump off the bark of a tree grabs your attention. Another winner is the one where six pairs of hyena eyes are focussed on the camera. “It's a rare one. Actually, every shot tells a story.”
Pointing to a stilt and a heron shot in evening light in Bharatpur, he says, “It looks as if the heron is teaching the smaller bird a thing or two about fishing. Similarly, an elephant and its calf face each other and it looks like the mother is giving survival lessons to its young one.”
Citing patience and anticipation as the two most important prerequisites for a wildlife photographer, the doctor says, “Photography is a stress-buster. It allows me to step into the world of animals, and learn a thing or two from them. Well, Nature is the best teacher.”
(The photographs on display are priced Rs. 2,500 upward. The exhibition is on till May 6, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)