BENGALURU: Annechira Shiva, popularly known as Shiv Gandhi, grew up with an interest in the arts. His interest in sketching and painting turned into a hobby during college when he got interested in photography as well. His maiden exhibition on nature – Scapes of India – is inspired by the environmental changes taking places around us. “Climate change is a major issue that we need to address. I would like to bring in the sense of care with the images that I capture. Each photograph serves an eye opener for the present generation to preserve our environment,” he says.
Every one of the 50 images on display has a story or more like multiple stories to tell. “The photographs made me contemplate on our evolution, which is in direct contrast to what I’ve experienced in the Zanskar River area. It is a river that is about 48 km that is frozen for two months. Despite this, a village thrives around the river. The villagers stock up on food and other requirements. They live without disturbing natural ways,” he says.
His work involves extensive research. And over the years, Gandhi has found that travel photography is all about weather. “I do thorough research before I take up any travel. Weather is unpredictable. When I was shooting in Kerala, the prediction was that it would be sunny, but when I started shooting, it began raining. I had to immediately change the camera setup and arrangements accordingly. I have retained a grainy look in some of the images to give them a painting-like effect. Using a slow shutter speed is one of the techniques I use while shooting natural landscapes,” he says.
Gandhi believes that the camera is a medium and it is the photographer who makes an image. “I use different brands of cameras depending upon the place and weather. If I am shooting in a low angle, I use polarised filters to get the depth and colour that I composed in my mind. I design my images and set up the camera to get what I visualised. I don’t edit much as I want my images to be as close to how it is naturally,” he says, adding that while shooting natural landscapes, being in the right place at the right time is key to get that perfect shot.
Over the period that Gandhi has been shooting, he recalls a visit to the Sundarban Forest, where there was limited electricity, required him to shoot from a moving boat. “These are huge challenges to any photographer. Again, In the Hemis (in Leh ), there was no electricity and I stayed there for two months in extreme climatic conditions with washrooms, food and water being major issues. And in extreme cold conditions, camera batteries drain very quickly. But at the end of the day, I am an artist, and a passionate one, who is willing to go back if a photograph has to be re-shot till I am satisfied,” he says.
The exhibition will be held between February 2 and 11 at Reves Art Gallery, Jayanagar