Framing the world

Wildlife explorer Sandesh Kadur on working behind the lens with his favourite subject — Mother Nature

Published - July 12, 2017 04:04 pm IST

10dmc Sandesh Kadur1

10dmc Sandesh Kadur1

At some point in our lives, we have all had encounters with the wild. Be it in a safari or in the wild outdoors, we have had a moment where we have come face-to-face with nature’s beauty, fierceness and wildness. We may have taken our cameras and phones and taken a photo or two and shared it online. But there are those like Wildlife enthusiast, photographer, filmmaker and National Geographic explorer Sandesh Kadur who go a step further and make it their occupation to document and showcase their encounters with the wild.

Sharing his thoughts in the backdrop of a Canon Documentary Workflow Workshop at ITC My Fortune, Sandesh talks about his experiences and his journey so far.

Working on BBC Planet Earth 2 as director of photography was a monumental task, he recalls. “We’ve been working on it for three years. It’s great to see the project come to an end. You can see the efforts of all the different teams come together in one seamless, beautiful narrative. I’m very honoured and humbled to be a small part of this gigantic project.”

The ace photographer also showcased old world langurs in National Geographic’s Earth Live recently.

Sandesh goes on to say that what he tells budding filmmakers is that it’s all about storytelling. “Your effort needs to be focussed on how creative you are and how you capture wildlife to capture the audience. The way you film the outdoors should inspire your audience to connect and care.”

He adds: “In filmmaking or photography, I encourage youngsters to practise the three Ps. Have lots of patience, incredible amounts of passion and endless perseverance.” Looking back, Sandesh says it was at a very young age that he decided this is what he wanted to do. “I think as a young boy growing up to become a photographer was as far-fetched a dream as wanting to become an astronaut. In fact, many of the youngsters I meet don’t know where to begin. There is no formal path to the field I’m in. It’s a path you have to carve out on your own. Everyone’s path is different. There are cameramen I know who were washing dishes in a restaurant and are now top wildlife photographers. I think as long as you keep that innate burning passion and interest to go out there, photograph and document wildlife, you can create your own path.”

He also points out that it’s important to surround yourself with people in the field. “I had naturalists, researchers and my own family around me, who are also keen naturalists. All of that inspired me as well. Out of my own interests, I spent time and began to use my camera as a document tool. Slowly, it became a creative tool and then evolved into a storytelling tool.”

The biggest takeaway for people who see his work, he affirms, is to be inspired to care. “I want people to take back a feeling of connection. You need to entertain them, excite them and inspire them.”

Shouldering the added onus of the message of the environment, Sandesh confirms that we are all inspired by photography. “We’re very visual people – we connect to what we see through our eyes. So we have a responsibility to document and highlight conservation – projecting stories that make a difference. For example, we recently made a video on the National Anthem with all of India’s wildlife. Although it was made as a spur of the moment effort, it went all over the country. We need to help inspire people to care about our wild spaces.”

That takes us to the next step, he adds, “To create a a constituency of young budding conversationalists. It’s like passing the baton. I was inspired as a kid by David Attenborough’s documentary. So I hope to inspire someone else to carry on and continue telling the story.”

Looking ahead, Sandesh fondly asserts that he wants to continue telling stories that matter and inspire people to change. I hope to document wildlife across the world as much as possible and immerse myself in the natural world.”

For more on Sandesh Kadur, visit

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