I f a picture speaks a thousand words, then imagine how many stories can be unearthed from more than 50 fifty photographs with varying themes?
Six passionate photographers from the Photography Society of Madras will be exhibiting their creations at “Diverse Visions,” at the Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai. From a bird’s eye view of the Kapali temple and vignettes of Chennai street life, to Himalayan peaks and wildlife from around the world, it will be a treat for connoisseurs and Nature enthusiasts. lovers will have a treat to look forward to.DEEPA VENKATRAMANtalks to the photographers to find out some interesting tales from behind each shot.
Ramesh Raja and ‘Namma Chennai’: Street photography is challenging, but Ramesh Raja says that Chennai is a photographer-friendly city. “Most people, vendors or priests, are open to their pictures being taken, says Ramesh, who has had solo exhibition in Malaysia as part of the Penang International Festival. His favourite areas for street photography are Mylapore and T. Nagar, in Chennai. “When we were photographing old houses in Mylapore, a resident invited us for coffee,” says Ramesh. During another photo-walk in Parry’s vegetable market, he was asked by a vendor if he was a photography student, to which he jokingly replied, “No, I am doing this for pozhudu pokku (time pass)!”
Chidambaram and ‘Mammals and Birds’: A doctor by profession with a penchant for wildlife photography, Chidambaram divides his time between his work schedule and wildlife sanctuaries across India. Chidambaram says, “About 1,300 species of birds are recorded in India and I have digital prints of 182. My aim is to take pictures of at least 500 species.” His most memorable moment is photographing the golden langur, an endangered species, found only in and around the Manas National Park, Assam. “That picture is a prized possession as also the one of the extinct Siberian crane photographed way back in 1982.”
Srirama Raja and ‘Nature’s bounty’: “When people see my photographs, they ask me if the animals posed for me,” says Srirama who has travelled to remote areas of the Himalayas and many national parks in India, Canada and East Africa. “It takes several trips to the forests and long hours of waiting to get a good sighting. Apart from mastering photography techniques, we also require a large dose of luck.” His memorable moment? “When my vehicle was surrounded by 30 lions! It was the first time I saw so many at such close quarters,” says Srirama, who learnt the art from his father who was into Nature photography.
Sridhar Rao Chaganti and ‘Candids and more’: For over a decade, Sridhar has explored and photographed the streets of Chennai, Turkey, France, Austria and Germany. Confessing that he enjoys photographing in Chennai the most, Sridhar says, “The streets of Mylapore, Triplicane, Koyambedu, Parry’s and T. Nagar are vibrant, unlike abroad where the streets are hardly populated.” What does it take to get a great street shot? “The trick is to smile, carry a small camera and have loads of patience.”
J. Ramanan and ‘Mountains’: There are several mountaineers who climb high peaks and also capture their experience on camera. J. Ramanan is one of them.
An alumnus of the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, he has photographed the picturesque landscapes of the Himalayan ranges as high as 22,740 ft along the Kanchendzonga, Kabru Dome, Jogin III and Mt Srikantha, Leh, Ladakh and the less travelled paths of the Western Ghats.
“I almost lost my life during my training in 1977 when an avalanche happened during a climb in Koteshwar. While everyone was running for their lives, I was taking pictures,” recalls Ramanan, who has held many shows.
Jayanand and ‘Polar Passions’: A retired finance professional, Jayanand’s holidays revolve round photography tours, capturing lavender fields in France, East African wildlife, the stark landscape of Leh, rhinos in Kaziranga and tigers in Ranthambore. In this exhibition, he will be showcasing wild polar bears, penguins and landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
“Considering that the animal density is low, sighting is tough. We were lucky to watch a polar bear break into a seal’s den and take her pup away,” says Jayanand, who believes that wildlife photographers can’t be squeamish about blood and gore as that is one of the most interesting aspects of wildlife.
(The photography exhibition is at Lalit Kala Akademi, Greams Road, Chennai, from September 8 -10, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)