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Into the Wild: 4 Women Wildlife Photographers Share the Story Behind Their Favourite Clicks

Pictures don’t just showcase the natural beauty that the wildlife is brimming with, but also the man-made dangers that are lurking in its midst


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Olivia Brown

a year ago | 3 min read

"A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid of falling in love with these people." Annie Leibovitz

Speaking
to these amazing women wildlife photographers who have braved all kind
of frontiers for a single click, here's what it took to get their
favourite picture. 

 

Aarzoo Khurana

“I
am a big fan of photographic storytelling, and try to capture the wild
in its most natural settings. Wildlife photography is my way of acting
as a bridge between the insides of the woods and the outer world. Baby
animals, especially langurs and deer, are my favourite subjects. They
are curious and adorable—peeping out, tumbling over, unmindful of all
the dangers around. A few years ago, I clicked a photograph of a baby
deer and a blackbird in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. The blackbird
called Drongo kept hovering over the fawn, and eventually landed on its
nose and started pricking it. The poor baby kept trying to shoo her
away. Interestingly, the viewer tends to assume that the two were
friends. However, on the contrary, the fawn was actually really irked
and just wanted Drongo to let it be! That has got to be one of my
favourite images of all time. Wildlife photography is extremely
challenging, both physically and mentally. There is a lot of travel
involved. Besides, we leave for safaris early mornings, and the
temperature inside the forest is usually extreme...during winters, the
mornings are freezing, and in the summer, noons are scorching. And, you
have to work with heavy gear for long hours. For me, it was a task to
convince my parents, too. Initially, they were very uncomfortable with
me going off to remote areas and venturing into the forests. Now they
are warming up to the idea and have made their peace with the fact that
wildlife photography is an integral part of my life.”

Aishwarya Sridhar

“I
grew up with wildlife in my backyard, in the lush environs of Panvel
[Maharashtra] with wild boars outside my home and fireflies on my
balcony... By the time I was eight, my father began taking me along for
his jungle treks and birding expeditions. There were many wetlands
nearby, and my first few photographs were of flamingos in these
wetlands. For my 11th birthday, my dad gifted me a point-and-shoot
camera, and that is when I began experimenting with wildlife
photography. I love working with everything that creeps, crawls, walks,
swims, or flies. The visual medium is powerful and I want to harness its
transformative powers to influence minds and inspire change. I think
the message I want to convey through my images and films is that Mother
Nature is not only beautiful, she is also an integral part of our web of
life...so we must protect and preserve her if we value our own
survival. Over the last decade, I have watched tracts of marshes
disappearing under the concrete. This has displaced thousands of
resident and migratory birds as well as affected livelihoods of local
fishermen. The trade in wildlife contraband is driving certain species
to extinction, too. To me, all of this is extremely alarming! I am
relatively new, and to have my work stand out among the veterans has
been tough...I still have to prove myself every single day. Men can also
be a tad misogynistic in this profession—they find it difficult to
listen to a woman, especially if she is younger than them. I remember
having a tough time with a drone operator, once, who even took to
slandering me on social media! But there are a lot of others who inspire
me endlessly, too—both men and women. Jane Goodall, Rathika Ramasamy,
and Kalyan Verma, for instance, make me want to be better every day.”



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