CHENNAI: The photographer sees and interprets things differently. Take a building, for instance...you would maybe choose to see the whole constitution, but I would focus on a singular aspect, like half the building or its reflection in a pool of water nearby and just capture it,” says Vaishnavi Ramesh, a final year Visual Arts student at Stella Maris whose monochrome snap of the Shanti Stupa in Leh fetched her the first prize in the 20th edition of the Beautiful India Photo Competition organised by Global Adjustments recently.
There were 833 entries from 16 countries in five categories — places, faces, festivals, wildlife and humour. Vaishnavi won the first prize under ‘Places’. “I had also submitted an entry under ‘Faces’ — the image of a Ladakhi mother and her child — that won a special mention,” she says.
How did she learn the basic tenets of photography? “Well, I have loved photography as long as I can remember. You could even say that I grew up with a camera in tow!” (laughs). I also did a crash course on lighting, exposure, etc, but the first lessons were given by my father, who is also equally passionate about it.”
Amazingly, her father, whose submission was a photo of a procession at the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, had also participated in the competition, and did not disappoint — he won the second prize! “My father and I pursue photography as a serious hobby. Almost all weekends, we get up early and go to places where we can capture sunrise or nature in all its glory. We frequent the Pulicat Lake and places in ECR for this purpose,” she shares. “It takes practice and patience to perfect this skill.
I always carry my camera with me, so that I don’t miss out on taking good shots, especially when good opportunities present themselves — when there is natural lighting and the subject can shine thoroughly in those conditions.”
Vaishnavi calls photography an art, and believes that everybody has their own interpretation of it. “When people see my photos, they tend to see things that I don’t and vice versa...this is especially true of abstract photography,” she avers.
Though the 21-year-old does not want to make a career out of it, she admits that photography will always be a part of her life. “I am specialising in textile designing and want to pursue it. However, I am sure that photography will help enhance my creativity and also add to my skill, irrespective of the profession I choose,” she smiles.