'Every animal is an inspiration and I don't get tired of clicking them,' says Kerala's award-winning wildlife photographer
We caught up with Vignesh B Sivan, a wildlife photographer who won the State Forest and Wildlife Photography Award this year
On a fine July morning, wildlife photographer Vignesh B Sivan was returning home after an amphibian survey camp in the Silent Valley National Park. That is when he saw an elephant trying to cross the river. The previous day’s downpour had inundated the river and the elephant was stuck, struggling to find a grip. All Vignesh could do was lug out his camera, as soon as he alerted the forest officials. While he stood waiting, he clicked a picture of the elephant’s struggle, and it fetched him the State Forest and Wildlife Photography Award 2021.
The elephant eventually wriggled himself out of the waters and went away. A BSc Botany graduate, Vignesh was always captivated by the wild. When he was in school, he would enrol himself in every nature-related camp there was. “I felt connected to the wilderness always and loved going into the forest. That is how the passion for the wild and photography started,” he says.
According to the 23-year-old, photography helps him document the unique moments from the wild. “Conservation is the bigger picture here. Yes, taking a good picture and being able to enjoy it is gratifying. But photography shouldn’t be limited to that,” says the Parassala native.
Vignesh got his first professional camera at the age of 21 and life has never been the same. A self-taught photographer, he believes that in the wild, just getting the right frame isn’t enough. “Nature should also align in your favour. Every animal is an inspiration and one doesn’t get tired of capturing them ever. Even the most common ones can surprise you now and then,” he says.
Wildlife photography is also a field that needs care. “There is no space for adventure here. One shouldn’t challenge nature. You shouldn’t disturb the animals and the forest. That has to be a priority,” he says.
Vignesh wishes to work with the forest department so he can spend more time in the wild. “I want to learn more about the forests and experience the wild. Photography will be a part of it cause it will help me document what goes on in the wild. If a person sees my picture and feels the need to protect forests, then I would consider my work is complete,” says Vignesh.