Ganesh Shankar, who recently presented a wildlife exhibition at Balgandharv Art Gallery as part of Vasundhara Kirloskar Film Festival, is a wildlife enthusiast and follows his deep passion for it through his photographs. Shankar began with nature photography over two decades ago in 1993 with the only focus being creativity and art. “It has been a long time since I started but as a photographer I feel like I’m starting afresh every single day,” he says, mentioning that his passion for wildlife and nature has helped him introspect and understand himself better.
According to Shankar, nature photography is an “ever evolving art”. He believes that the purpose of art has changed a lot in the last few years. From transmitting feelings to transmitting points of view, there is more freedom in art, he feels. Portraits and landscapes, says he, can become an impactful art with their beautiful details and tones. They can plant a seed of thought in the minds of the viewers. “Photography is the realistic representation of art in my mind,” says Shankar.
His wildlife photography is such that he can portray nature in a number of ways and each photograph has a strong message that people can connect with. “Nature is challenging to photograph but you should know when to capture what,” he says, mentioning that we have no control whatsoever when it comes to wildlife photography. There is just one chance to capture a perfect shot and you got to grab the opportunity. “We do not enjoy the luxury of time in wildlife and nature photography,” he says.
Talking about the dawn of technology, he says, “I have lived through the era of slides and when you could not do much with the exposure control and some movements could not be captured.” Now technology enhances the essence of photography. Digitisation has no restrictions because of which the scope of photography has increased a lot,” he says.
Shankar believes that as human beings, we connect with emotions and feelings which are extremely difficult to portray through a photograph. “Conveying an emotion through a photograph is a challenge,” he says but it all depends on the purpose of each photographer. For Shankar, even though photography is a passion, he wants it to be an art form which can convey a message to the masses.
He wants to capture how wildlife is depleting because human beings are eating into the jungles and forests. He truly wishes that people understand the message he is trying to deliver and recognise the thin line between need and greed.
“Wildlife photography is challenging from the commerce aspect too and one needs to be committed to the art form,” he says, but believes that there is a definite demand for good content.
Talking about the risks involved in wildlife photography, he says, “I feel much safer in the vicinity of animals than human beings.” One just has to be careful at all times, he adds.
With years of experience and exploring different styles, Shankar says that his photographs got to a point where he had a signature style and people could guess his shots.
“Having a signature style is not always a good thing,” he says, adding that one needs to explore and come up with something new each time. Shankar is now concentrating on philosophical images and showing his perspective through pleasing aesthetics.
“Nature need not be exotic to be the subject of a photograph, there is beauty in nature everywhere,” he says.