Photography Art

Sapna Reddy’s photographs celebrate nature through meditative visuals

Golden State (Valley of Calla Lillies in Big Sur, California)   | Photo Credit: Sapna Reddy

If things had gone per plan, Sapna Reddy would have been exploring a mountainous region of China on a photography expedition, but the outbreak of Coronavirus forced her to rethink. The Hyderabadi who now lives in California is in the city to deliver a talk, hosted by Telangana Photographic Society on February 29.

Sapna is a paediatric radiologist and a photographer. “I am a visual person and both my fields have to do with images,” says Sapna, when we begin talking about the meeting point of her dual professional interests. In radiology, she has to meticulously analyse visuals for patterns and tonality to spot abnormalities, which help in diagnosis and cure. As a fine arts photographer, she captures visuals that celebrate nature and are therapeutic to viewers.

Born and raised in Hyderabad, Sapna moved to the US to study medicine and began as a hobby photographer, documenting the places she visited and posting them on social media for friends and family. “I am an outdoorsy person,” she says, and it’s evident as one browses through her Flickr stream (sapna reddy) or on Facebook (sapnareddyphotography). The photographs she has posted were born out of expeditions into the wilderness.

Sapna Reddy

Sapna Reddy   | Photo Credit: Arvind Balaraman/By arrangement

“I cannot paint, so I photograph,” she says, to explain her visual aesthetics. Her images have a painting-like quality that comes from waiting for the right time to capture an image. There are times when she does a location recce and camps there, without her camera, to “bond with a place and understand how light works during different times of the day”.

When she visited the Valley of Flowers in California, she found it beautiful but overwhelming with an abundance of flowers. She wanted images that are soothing and meditative. “I wanted the flowers to be backlit so that they appear luminous,” she recalls. Sapna waited for the light to fall on the flowers in that manner and took the photograph. “When I have an end result in mind, I work backwards to see if I can make it happen,” she adds.

Hope was taken in 2014 in the Redwood national forest in California

Hope was taken in 2014 in the Redwood national forest in California   | Photo Credit: Sapna Reddy

Sapna works three days a week as a radiologist and three days a week as a photographer, training aspiring photographers and delivering talks on the healing nature of fine art photography. “My sessions deal with transitioning from a photographer into an artist,” she says.

She often hikes carrying heavy gear — camera equipment, tent for camping, food and water. This necessitates physical training to be fit enough to face rough weather conditions. “If I am hiking in high altitude and have to cope with less oxygen, I sign up with a personal trainer and my fitness regimen is planned accordingly. I don’t want to let physical limitations come in the way of capturing images or teaching my students how to photograph,” says Sapna.

Titled ‘Journey’, the photograph was taken in October 2015 on the huge sand dunes in Death Valley National Park, California

Titled ‘Journey’, the photograph was taken in October 2015 on the huge sand dunes in Death Valley National Park, California   | Photo Credit: Sapna Reddy

She’s been a professional photographer since 2011 and it has helped in stress management: “When I overhear a colleague complaining of stress, I feel it [day-to-day routine] isn’t stressful. Roughing it out in sub zero temperatures for photography expedition is tougher. When we push ourselves and do something different, it gives us the ability to handle our work like a piece of cake. And when you are out in nature, there’s time for quiet contemplation. Our problems seem insignificant.”

Some of Sapna’s large format images adorn the walls of hospitals and cancer centres in California for their therapeutic quality. Her paintings are also available through her website and worldwide.

(Telangana Photographic Society (TPS) is hosting a talk by Sapna Reddy at hotel Marigold, Hyderabad, on February 29; 4.30 p.m. Non TPS members can attend at ₹250)

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 8:01:23 AM |

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