No nation for nature

Through the lens

No nation for nature

His startling images of the wild have drawn attention to gruesome unethical practices that have endangered some of nature’s most beautiful creations. Nirmala Govindarajan speaks to award-winning photographer Sandesh Kadur .

Acclaimed wildlife photographer and filmmaker Sandesh Kadur doesn’t subscribe to the notion of nations. Nor to the notion of a 9 am to 5 pm job in the city. For this explorer, meandering off the beaten track, into the jungles to document its wild and vivacious creatures, brings him right back to the spotlight in the international circuit, where his pictures of the wild have gone on to receive acclaim, three in a row.

 Today, wedded to the jungles, Sandesh, along with his trousseau, wears his recent accolades, which read: National Geographic — Emerging Explorer Award — June 2013, Nature’s Best Photography and NANPA — 2013 Vision Award.

Travelling to Washington DC to receive the Nat Geo award was one of the most inspiring weeks of Sandesh’s life. “It was a great honour to receive this award by the National Geographic Society on their 125th anniversary,” he says, adding, “To be part of such an incredible institution has always been a dream and being recognised as an ‘explorer’ means that you are now part of a family that goes back over a century.”

Listening to the experiences of fellow explorers at the awards ceremony has bestowed Sandesh with renewed hope that there are people out there, dedicated to making this world a better place.

Human connection

One with the vicissitudes of the jungles and their secret ways of preserving life, Sandesh constantly unwraps the private lives of the wild to enable human connection with the natural world. The Nature’s Best Photography Award holds this sentiment in high esteem. “It’s been a dream to have my image on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Nature’s Best is one of the world’s top photography magazines focused on spreading the beauty of nature. This competition is one of the toughest ones to crack in the world. My image of two fox pups at play won the top award in the Animal Behaviour category,” he beams.  

Such magical moments entertain the shutterbug’s lens after much waiting. “Many days in the jungle go by without incident, despite the long hours of exploration. I merge into its precincts in the hope that I will find that magic moment someday,” concedes Sandesh. It’s not long before that moment comes by and goes on to win Sandesh more awards like NANPA. “The year 2013 started off with this award,” says Sandesh, adding, “It came as a surprise to me. Photographers who have won this award previously include Christian Zeigler and Florian Schulz, some of the best names in the international wildlife photography circuit.  Another surprising aspect about receiving this award is that I haven’t been a member of the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA). This makes it more of an honour to me, because it brought to light the fact that they were looking far and beyond their membership circles to grant this award to a photographer in recognition of his early career excellence. It serves to encourage continuation of vision and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation and education.”

Photography apart, Sandesh, who travels the natural world amidst the terrains of the Northeast, the Himalaya and the Western Ghats with his base in hometown Bangalore, makes wildlife films for National Geographic Channel, BBC, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. There are ideals he would never compromise with, while presenting the animal world to the masses. “Extreme sensationalism, making a mockery of nature, and unethical practices are some things I would never compromise with while presenting the animal world to the masses. It’s important that the truth is told in order to help build awareness and appreciation of nature,” says Sandesh.

Half way into 2014, Sandesh, continues exploring, diving deeper into photography to help further conservation through art and creativity. “Through this, I want to further help raise awareness towards our natural world and protect it,” he says.

Neck deep in his mission, Sandesh has realised that as long as one’s intention is not to make a mark but to do good work, the awards and recognitions come one’s way. “It’s all about having a mission and being dedicated to the cause of conservation,” he says. 

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