10 filmmakers and photographers on the joys of forging a language between man and nature
Aditya SinghĀ (46) is a civil-servant-turned wildlife photographer and conservationist. His latest documentary for the National Geographic Film and Television Company was on the predators of Ranthambhore
āOutdoor photography, especially wildlife photography, is really challenging. There is very little besides the camera that is in the cameramanās control. You cannot control the light or the perspective. The subject almost never cooperates with the cameraman. Worst of all, there are no guarantees that the subject would even make an appearance at the shoot. This is precisely what makes it exciting ā it is unpredictable ā kind of like gambling. When it does happen, you only get one chance and if you mess it up, it is gone forever. In other words, there are no retakes.
Wildlife photography is a very powerful tool for conservation. It documents wildlife, spreads awareness and highlights the relevant issues. How many people would be interested in conservation if there were no pictures or videos of wildlife?ā
āItās lateĀ evening, pitch dark, and drizzling outside. You can see elephants grazing in the flashes of the occasional lightning, hear their trunks ripping grass, slapped on the knees before being eaten. Somewhere in the distance, the beat of the tribal drums… Everything is peaceful yet unreal, when the scream of a bull pierces the darkness, and the hairraising sound of the crushing vegetation sends shivers down your spine. It is followed by a roar, the unmistakable roar of a tiger. And then silence ā an exclusive silence worth being shared, but never to be disturbed.
We want to share this silence with an audience, world over. We have always loved the sounds of silence, and have always been sincere students of natural history, out of passion. This passion has made us very rich in experience. We have a lot of stories to tell, many experiences to share. And that is why we shoot.ā
Dhritiman MukherjeeĀ (37) has been a wildlife photographer for the past 10 years. He specialises in natural history and has done extraordinary work on the endangered species of India.
āNature thrillsĀ me. Being a self-taught photographer, some of my best lessons came from being in the field. Every day in this profession is different, depending on where I am ā be it Corbett, Kanha, or an obscure valley in the Himalayas. I sleep the same, regardless of whether Iām in a luxurious wildlife lodge, or a tent, or even a cave in a rocky snowy terrain. My photography is also a tool to spread awareness. For conservation, the most important thing is to get people interested in wildlife. And visuals are the strongest and quickest tools we have to attract the public eye. In a nutshell, I love this job and this life. Iāve never wanted to do anything else, despite the hardships and the financial strain.ā
āMaking filmsĀ on nature is very fulfilling. I feel, I often see what other people miss out on. It is interesting to see people fascinated by close-ups of large compound eyes of dragonflies or the translucent quality of leaves when light passes through. I try to fascinate my viewers with simple things. Make them see the beauty and purpose in all forms of life and send out a hidden message.
Another reason stems from a sense of responsibility. I believe some times people keep on living without much thinking. They might be aware, but are unable to see the trajectories. Unable to connect how their small actions affect the planet as a whole. As a communicator, it is my responsibility to sensitise and educate them, and if possible, suggest some solutions. I also feel that green films need a larger canvas. We are hardly able to reach out to millions who are living in small cities, towns and villages. Our films should touch their lives too.ā