Ladakh for the snow leopard, Pantanal for the jaguar, Svalbard for the polar bear, Nilgiris for the amazing flycatchers…her photo bucket list goes on and on. With time and passion, this 19-year-old photographer is determined to capture life at the right moment. Aishwarya Sridhar happens to be the youngest to win the Best Nature and Wildlife Award at the International Camera Fair in the city, recently.
She talks to City Express about her jungle expeditions and training her lens on wildlife. Hailing from Palakad and living in Mumbai, her love for photography began when she was 13. “I used to go with my father— a nature lover, on nature trails. My first proper trip to the jungle was to Pench and my first click was of the tigress Collarwali at Pench chasing a jackal,” she recalls.
In the last six years, Aishwarya has been to the national parks at Tadoba, Pench, Kanha, Velavadar, Periyar, Gir, Little Rann of Kutch, Nalsarovar, Satpura and Salim Ali bird sanctuary. Reliving an intense, adrenaline-rush moment, Aishwarya narrates a picture. “It was a hot summer morning at Tadoba National Park. A tigress happened to be sitting at a waterhole along with her 10-month-old cubs. The cubs were frolicking in the water when suddenly the mother’s stance changed and she walked towards us,” she says. “Sixty feet away from where we stood, an old Bison was chewing on some cud. Eyes locked on the target, she charged. In one blow, she broke the hind legs of the Bison, and then emitted a faint growl – a call for her cubs to come over and finish her half done job. This was her first lesson to her cubs – surviving the wild. The cubs arrived and started biting and pawing the live prey as their mother watched.” Gives you the goosebumps, doesn’t it?
No, she isn’t scared of wild animals. In fact, she plans to revolve her life around them. “I will become a wildlife filmmaker someday and shoot films to spread the message of conservation of nature and wildlife. Visual images of wildlife can connect nature to people, and thereby help increase awareness about wildlife and its conservation. It is particularly important to spread awareness among youth. Photographs depicting damages to the environment will create awareness on how human activities can wreak havoc on natural habitats and wildlife.”
With her SLR (Canon 7D with Canon EOS 100-400mm lens) and a Canon 18-135mm lens, Aishwarya's next destination is Gujarat to shoot flamingos.
Check out her FB page,
‘Reflections – A dedication to Mother Nature by Aishwarya Sridhar’