Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” said Confucius. A sentiment that receives hearty approbation from K Ramnath Chandrasekhar, a wildlife photographer.
In 2011, Ramnath received the ‘Sanctuary Young Naturalist Award’ from Sanctuary Asia, Asia’s largest selling wildlife magazine. In the same year, he became the executive director of Youth For Conservation, an initiative based in Chennai, which aims to develop ecological consciousness among today’s youth. And in the same year, he addressed the importance of wildlife conservation to 50,000 students across 60 schools with the screening of the film The Truth about Tigers by Shekhar Dattatri, a renowned wildlife and conservation filmmaker. Ramnath is all of 23 years.
Right from childhood, nature fascinated Ramnath. And when a family friend gifted him an SLR camera, he fell in love with photography and has pursued it ever since. His interest in photography, filmmaking and conservation grew more pronounced when he moved to Chennai and met Dattatri, whom he considers his mentor.
His first opportunity to showcase his work was in 2008 when Fujifilm shortlisted him as one of the six photographers from India for their ‘Fuji Super Six’ exhibition. Exhibits of his work were displayed in Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Ahmadabad. His work has been published in newspapers like The Hindu, The New Indian Express and The Times of India and in magazines like Sanctuary Asia, Smart Photography and Better Photography.
According to Ramnath, wildlife photography is not just about going to national parks and taking photographs of animals and birds that one comes across. It has more to do with understanding forests, the life there, visualising, spending time and crafting a particular image.
Ramnath was part of the film crew that made Secrets of the King Cobra in 2008 which was broadcasted on the National Geographic channel. He was able to interact with renowned herpetologist Romulus Whitaker during the filming. He says the time he spent in the rainforest was one of the best experiences of his life. This year he was the youngest member of an expedition, accredited by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, to document the extreme Himalayan winter along the frozen Zangskar River. He is currently giving much of his time to Youth For Conservation, which he co-founded with Dattatri.